Thursday, December 30, 2010

Connie is home and doing well...been here for a couple hours, at least. She has had a nap and has taken her first pill for pain. She wants to head over to the church for the Primary "meet and greet." She is going to teach one of the Sunbeam classes this year and doesn't want to disappoint anybody who shows up expecting to see their teacher. I'll have to make sure the kids don't get too excited and bump her, by accident.

How did the Surgery go?

Dr. Ferguson said that there was more scarring in the radiated area than he had expected, so he had to release those areas. I believe that this means he had to make small cuts to make the area more flexible. He also released a couple other areas to help with a more natural look. She goes back for her first visit in a week and starts range of motion movements in two weeks, hoping she doesnt reopen the scarred areas. There was also the possibility of needing some fat injections to smooth at least one area, but we wont know for sure until she's healed awhile.

Making the Exchange

We made it through the raging snowstorm and was actually on time for our 9:45am check-in. We labored through checking in and found ourselves in tiny little room #11 back in a corner for Pre-Op. Connie's nurse was very good and explained eveything. She did fail at getting a vein the first time, and since Connie only has one good arm to draw from, the nurse called in an expert who got the job done. Dr. Ferguson then came in with a Sharpie and drew out his game plan all over Connie's chest. Before he was done the anestesiologist was in there and explained his part. A quick kiss and she walked out of the room and was gone. An attending came and directed me to a waiting room and here I sit for the next hour and a half.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

11/7/10 Update

Hi everybody - Thought I'd give an update as to Miss Connie's health as it's been a long while. She completed her radiation (10/18) about 3 weeks ago. She continued to feel the aching for a good couple of weeks afterward, coupled with a few waves of nausea. In the past week she has, I believe, began to feel better daily. Her stamina has greatly improved. When she is tired at the end of the day it is mostly because she still has problems staying asleep all night long. Occasionaly life is good and she'll get a day or two of a full nights sleep in.

Her hair is growing back and as we suspected, it's not the same color it was when we got married. Of course, neither is mine. We were told that there was the possibility of it coming in curly, or a different color, etc. That didn't happen. Just this morning I told her she should start considering taking the wig off, coloring her hair and moving forward. She just told me that she's "thinking" about a reveal after the first of the year. I think she should start with purple hair...that would be fun!

She's got more appointments coming up before the end of the year. One is with the plastic surgeon, who wants to check how the radiation affected the area that will be worked on in the spring. Another is with the radiologist. He wants to make sure the bright red irradeated area has lost some of it's glow. Then there will be a bone scan appointment at 7:30 am...hope she gets up in time! This is because, she thinks, that there is a drug she'll have to take every few months and it may cause bone loss. They need a bone density base line. The last one is with the chemo doctor again...he's the one that will administer this last drug via an IV drip.

The journey is not over, but she's been doing great. Yesterday was our 23rd wedding anniversary and we started the day with a free breakfast at our ward building that was made from food storage was "preparedness fair" that was very thought provoking. While we were there we were offered tickets for the BYU football game (BYU 55, UNLV 7) that started at noon, so we grabbed some Mickey Dees on the way and headed to Provo. We hit a few of stores afterwards and headed home for the evening. She has taken up crocheting again and was busy making some hats that are being donated for people who have cancer. We took a break and got some ice cream and then I finally had to hit the sack. She got to bed at 3am (or would that really be 2am w/daylight saving?) after making 2 hats. Like I said...lots more stamina!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Three Weeks (out of Five) of Radiation Complete

Connie tried to tell me this morning that she only had one week of radiation left. That's not true, Connie, you have 2 weeks plus one final day on 10/18 (to make up for the dry run on 9/13) to do until you are done.
She has been extremely tired from the inside out and very stressed out at work due to the large amounts of loans that are going across all of the Mortgage Processor's desks. The group, as a whole, is working hard and fortunately they put a cap on the amount of overtime hours they can work.
Great news, though...on Thursday Connie took a new job in the company in the Underwriting department! Congrats to her...she starts on Monday, 10/4/10!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nyquil is her friend!

This past week Connie has come down with a cold and a cough, probably due to the cooler weather. I finally talked her into taking some nyquil that I scrounged up in the cupboard and when she got up this morning she said she slept through the whole night. She didn't sound too stuffy when she woke up this morning, but she was still internally exhausted, nonetheless.

Since tomorrow is her first dry run radiation treatment, and Tue starts her first day of real treatment, she only attended Sacrament today and is in bed trying to rest up for it. Her treatments are only supposed to be 20 minutes from the time she arrives to the time she leaves, but we imagine just getting her undressed, radiated, then dressed again is still going to wear her's best to get as much rest as possible, just in case.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

And now for the Radiation...

Connie has been regaining some strength since her last chemo treatment. On Friday she had a visit with Dr. Thomson, a very tall Dr. who reminds me of a childhood friend's dad (Kendall Wahlquist/Fred Wahlquist). He came into the room and was curious wether or not we were going to go ahead with the treatment. Last time we talked he told us that she was in a grey area. We assured him that we are going to do everything to give her the best chance possible. With that he set Connie up to have a scan and to get a few tattoos. Found out that a few is on each side of her and three on her front side. Lasers use these tattoos to consistently line up where the radiation will be pointed during the treatment. There should be no variation from one treatment to the next. Treatments begin the week of 9/13 and last for 5 weeks. The 13th is a dry run, and the next 25 are live. No treatments on Sat & Sun! Side affects will be a loss of strength (but not as bad as chemo) and possible redness in the radiation area which can be helped by a number of ointments, etc.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just an update...

Connie was really hit hard by this last treatment. She wasn't even close to making it into work yesterday and today she was able to only get to the kitchen and then take a quick shower and she was back into bed for the day totally exhausted. Here's hoping for a much better tomorrow!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

GoodBye Chemo!

Last Thursday Connie endured her last chemo treatment. Her cousin, Shelly, was down from Washington and sat through it with her. Connie was given a bottle of apple cider that looks like a champagne bottle when her treatment was done from the center. She and Shelly picked up another cousin, Terri, and headed out to lunch. After that Connie headed into work for a few hours and her friend got her a beautiful flower arrangement for having finished.

She went to work on Friday after getting her final after-chemo shot and already noticed the effects taking place very fact, she felt it Thursday night. Saturday we made it to Roberts for a 50% sale just before 10am, then we did a lap around the South Jordan Farmer's Market and then a quick trip to Harmons for some milk for the week-end. She spent most of the rest of Sat in bed.

Today (Sunday) we went to the Single's Ward to see Whitney (and her friend, Tawny) give their farewell speaches. Tawny went first, then a guy who's getting married in 13 days, and then a great musical interlude by Whitney (flute) and Eric Davis (piano). Then Whit got up and gave a great talk and we came home. Connie's been in bed, again, most of the day. She just wandered out to the couch for a little while so she could be more comfortable (change of body position) after she had dinner in bed. (Not as glamourous as that may sound!)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Still hanging in there

Connie is still pressing forward with her treatments...always tired from the inside out, she says. She has been able to reduce her workload at work a little bit, trying not to take on more than she can chew and trying to stay close to just 8 hours per day, rather than the 10+ hours she was trying to do earlier. She didn't go into work yesterday, but did do some laundry and dishes, which (of course) wore her out. Today she rested most of the morning and only went to Sacrament meeting. She made the comment today that she can't wait for the 19th (her last treatment) and then for the 3 weeks after that to start feeling a little better. Of course, about that time the radiation begins.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Facing Our Trials

I receive a "Daily Gems" and this one reminded me of my hero, Connie:

"Each of us will face trials and tests, and . . . it is how we react to those difficulties that will determine our success and happiness. Each of us will face adversity no matter where we are. We are taught in the scriptures that there 'must needs be . . . an opposition in all things' (2 Nephi 2:11). We will each face times of difficulty, and the question is not when we will face them but how we face them."
James B. Martino, "All Things Work Together for Good," Ensign, May 2010, 101

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Getting Ready for Chemo #5 of 6

Well, nothing too new has happened over the past couple of weeks. Connie has gained enough strength to work some crazy long hours at work, but her life has mostly been going to work and coming home to sleep so she can get ready to go to work again. She still has her intermittant cough and has been taking some natural sleeping pills to help her stay asleep throughout the entire night...haven't helped a ton, but it does a little, so she will continue with that.
Tue night she will take Whitney through the temple to receive her endowments in preparation for leaving on her mission on Sept 1st. On Thur she goes in for Chemo #5.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chemo #4, Day #7 - Coming back to life

Connie didn't make it to church on Sunday and, fortunately, slept all day. She tried to be a trooper and get up for work on Monday. It was like, go to bathroom (back to bed to rest), go eat breakfast (get halfway there, rest on couch, finish trip, eat very little, hobble back to couch, rest, back to bed to rest). There's take shower, rest, trying to get dressed, rest several times, get hair on, rest, gather keys, purse, waterbottle, fall asleep on couch while resting. I finally had to let her boss' know that she was going to take a nap and try going in in the afternoon. She was so out of it that I had to advise she wouldn't be in on Monday at all.

Tuesday she made it 10 hours, somehow. Came home, ate and went to bed.
Today was about the same, but with a little more bounce to her step.

Did I mention she is going to do 6 treatments?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chemo #4, Day #3 - Tired Already

Connie had her 4th treatment on Thursday. She went right back to work afterwards and worked late to make up some time. Went to work Fri and worked late also...a team member at work is going on vacation and she's trying to get her ducks in a row to be able to help out. She took a sleeping pill last night and managed to get a pretty good amount of sleep. The day before, the day of and the day after she takes one pill that keeps her up at night, so the sleeping pill is to try to help her not get so tired simply from lack of sleep.
Today she went to work for about 5 hours and came back with a red face. After a couple hours of sleep and some rest, that went away and she wanted to go get a few errands done. We didn't get into the first store for more than 30 seconds and she was tired. She sat a few minutes and quickly shopped and we went to another store across the parking lot and then to one other nearby and sat at each place. I took her home and she's been in bed ever since (some sleeping, some watching tv). She just took all her pills for the evening and is hopefully out for the night. I am going to do everything I can to keep her from trying to go to church tomorrow. We've been down that road before!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July, 2010

Hi everybody,
It's been awhile since I've posted news about Connie. Sorry...with all the hub-bub going on with getting Elder Denton II (Cody) out the door and into the MTC, I've been a little lax.
Connie was told that the more treatments you have, the longer it takes to recover. This is true! She continues to get tired very easily and needs a break to recover. Her 4th treatment is this coming Thursday and we are going to do everything that we can think of to make sure she does not over-do it this time and use all her energies to simply get through what will probably be 5-7 days of recovery time. She continues to go to work full time and is a champion, but by the time she get's home, she is ready to eat and hit the sack. Sometimes just laying down for awhile helps her rekindle her energies, but most often a good nap is exactly what the doctor ordered.
We continue to be thankful for all of the thoughts and prayers (among other things) that are rendered in her (our) behalf. We are getting nearer to the end. We still have not decided for sure whether it will be 4 or 6 treatments, but I'll just put it out there. I'm all about just doing the 4 that the doctor recommended.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chemo #3, day #4 - Ice Cream and Church

On Saturday night Connie and I went over to the South Jordan Country Fest and spent 2-1/2 minutes walking through all of the vendor tents and went over to visit the Dreyer's Ice Cream vendor, sponsored by "Heather Glen School of Highland Dance" and picked up 3 qts of ice cream for $5.00! We walked back to the car and Connie was spent!

She made it through all 3 hours of church today and even managed to make a delicious dinner for Father's Day (crazy woman!!!). Thanks Connie!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chemo #3, day #2 - Sooooo Tired!

Went and got her "day after" shot this morning and sent her off to work. She made it until 6pm and was very tired. Grabbed some dinner and I don't think she'll be up much longer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chemo #3 - Ya learn something new every day!

We are here at the Huntsmen Center and before the treatment began, this morning, the doctor pulled us into a room (this is normal) and discussed how things are going. We got to talking and he said he just wanted to remind us of why we were doing the treatment because there was still talk about doing 6 treatments vs. just the prescribed 4 treatments. He told us something that he had failed to tell us before. The biggest reason that we are doing the chemo is this: The surgury got her to a 35% chance of the cancer reoccuring. The chemo will reduce the risk to about 10%. The kicker was that if the cancer did show up again (and most likely it would occur in the bones), it would most likely be would also still be called breast cancer. If it did happen to show up in the breast, that would be the one area where it probably would be curable. I don't know if that hit Connie like it hit me, but that was a "what the crap" moment for me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 18 after Chemo #2 - Sending off a Missionary

Connie has been strong this past week, but still tires easily. She helped prepare our home for guests to come see Cody after his farewell yesterday. She tried doing weeds on Saturday, but found that made her feel like she would pass out. She did do some pressure washing of the cement in the back yard and found that to be exhausting too. We did make it to Sams club on Saturday evening to purchase items for the small party and she came home and made up some excellent chicken salad and got things ready to be quickly placed after we arrived home from Church on Sunday.

A big thank you to Whitney and her friends who had a couple hours break between classes on Saturday (similar to an efy) and ran home to help us clean the house...that was awesome!

Tuesday night we meet with the Stake President at 9pm to have Cody set apart and then we take him to the MTC at 1pm the following day to drop him off.

Chemo #3 is Thursday morning.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Three Denton Missionaries all out at once!

Whitney (Elder Kyle Dentons' sister) received her call today to the Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh mission (English speaking) and will go into the Provo MTC on Sept 1, 2010!

Cody (Elder Kyle Dentons' brother) received his call on Apr 28, 2010 and is going to the Nicaragua, Managua North mission(Spanish speaking) and enters the Provo MTC next Wed., June 16th!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 10 after Chemo #2...Sunday Afternoon Trip to the Emergency Room

On Friday Connie called me on her way to our regular physician. She had been having an eye twitch for several days and all of a sudden she got a really sharp pain in her left temple. She was going to shrug it off, but felt compelled to get it looked at. After 15 min on the phone trying to get an appt, she decided to just get up and walk out of work and head over. Of course, our Dr couldn't be seen, as he was leaving early, so she had her blood pressure checked. Her bottom number was abnormally high, so she decided to go across the hall to the insta-care and they ended up doing blood work and ruled out several things, including stroke. They had to send out a vial of blood to a lab because they couldn't do this particular test in-house like all the others (which all checked out fine), and they would call her on Saturday to let her know the results. No results came on Sat and when we got home from church (1pm - 4pm...I know!) there was a message. She called them back and they told her that her CRP and Sedrate's (sp?) were elevated and to go directly to the emergency room and tell them to look at the Temperal Arteritis...whatever that is. After a blessing we left and long story short, she didn't really need to be there. She did not have continuing symptoms and her levels were where they would normally be on a patient on chemotherapy. The doctor still did a few tests to rule everything out. He basically said that if she did have what they thought she might have, the chemotherapy would have been treating it already. We're home now and everything is fine!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 5 after Chemo #2...Just really tired

Round two of chemo has not been near as hard on Connie, however, she is always very tired. The deep cough that she's had is probably what wiped her out the most. No itching since coming off of her itching anti-biotics, and no fever since coming off of her anti-fever antibiotics.

On Sunday she barely made it through Sacrament meeting and had to go home to sleep. Memorial Day (yesterday) was her 4th day after her chemo treatment, and was the hardest day the first go-around. She used it as another day of much needed rest.

Today she is off to work, tired, but not feeling sore at all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day #1 after Chemo #2...Still working out the kinks

Yesterday was Chemo Day #2. We went in at 8:30 and got her all hooked up. It took the nurse 3 tries and on the 2nd try the saline went in under her skin and made a pretty good sized bubble. Fortunately, that went away without further incident. She got to go see Dr. Whisenant and talk about where they were. This time we haven't experienced any itching, but Connie is still on the anti-itching medicine and I think her last pill was today. She will go off of it and see if the rash/itching all come back, or not. She does have a horrible cough and it has caused her to throw up a couple of times now due to how hard she coughs.

Today we went in and got her follow-up shot for the white blood cells. She got a prescription for cough syrup with codeine to help her out, thank goodness! She hasn't been able to sleep well for the last 4 nights because of it, and I happen to sleep right next to her...I, too, appreciate the cough syrup!

It's been a long rough morning between coughing spells, dry heaves and getting ready for work, but she's there now for as long as she can. She has the long week-end to catch up on any work, if necessary. The codeine from the cough syrup may be what will compound what little strength she's already got.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 17 after Chemo #1...Nothing New

It was a little hard for Connie to go to church yesterday with her new hair...she wasn't too comfortable, but everybody said she looked great. Had to explain to the kids in her class that it wasn't really a new color and cut, as one girl put it, and it wasn't the other young ladies' mom who did it. I had to remind them of what we talked about a week or two ago about Sis. Denton having cancer and what would happen to her hair. I gently explained how Saturday morning went and the girls were open mouthed and wide-eyed that something like that could really happen.
Today is a new day and she has to bravely walk into work and wade through the comments. When something happened that drew some attention to her hair last Friday at work, a couple of the ladies began crying for/with Connie...they knew what was coming.
On a side note...what is it with all the snow and it's almost June? Good grief!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 15 after Chemo #1...Disappearing Locks :0(

The morning started off with the hair-in-the-brush trick...and lots of it today! Then the morning got a little more interesting as larger handfuls of hair seemed to attach to her hand as she gently ran her hands through her hair. No pain, just lots of hair.

Then the moment of truth...It's time to cut the hair because this is just ridiculous!

...And she HATED every second of it!!!

The clippers didn't go short enough, so we pulled out the razors. Cody had one and worked one side of her noggin, and I worked the other side. It wasn't painless, but I don't think we knicked her...I don't remember seeing any blood.

She went and took a shower and came back, amazingly enough, with a new head of hair!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 13 after Chemo #1...Hair Today...Gone Tomorrow!

Well, it's not quite as bad as the title indicates, but Connie has been coming out of the bathroom the past couple of days with a hairbrush showing me how much is in it. Last night she was afraid to move in bed for fear that there wouldn't be much left in the morning. Cody teasingly tugged on her hair today, gently, and counted 7 strands that he pulled out. Connie is not happy. I don't help because I laugh in amazement that this is actually happening. I don't fear it - but then again, it's not my hair coming out. Hopefully she can adjust to the wig quickly and move forward! I love you Connie!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 12 after Chemo #1...It could be worse!

On Tue Connie had her appointment with Michael, Dr. Whisenet's helper guy. She gave blood and they tested it. It came back a few minutes later with a very high white blood cell count, which was great. Her body rash has mostly gone away, but she did start to develop a rash on her hand on Mon. Because she had bounced back so well, the decision was made to not mess with her chemo mixture and these side affects would have to be handled with Claritin or other anti-itch over the counter medications. She has been feeling pretty good for the past few days and has been working extra hours, when possible, to make up for time away at the doctors.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 9 after Chemo #1...Getting Better

Connie has been feeling better for longer periods of time, but still get's worn out fairly easily. We we able to go for a walk to see some neighbor's chickens and chat for awhile and also went to Astro Burger to share a small meal, meeting up with more neighborhood friends. We both went to bed fairly early and we are finding out that she doesn't sleep as soundly as she used to. Apparently I snore, a lot, and it is waking her up at random times throughout the night. I'm going to try sleeping out in the chicken coop to see if she can get some sleep tonight...maybe not...but I think we will seperate and see if she can sleep through the night. Next Dr. appointment is Tuesday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 7 after Chemo #1...will this ever end?

12:00pm - Got a call...feels like her temp is up. Had Cody run over a thermometer and nausia pills, and had her take more tylenol. Waiting for feedback.

8:00am - Bad night, bad dreams, not much sleep. Everything seemed to hurt. Appears there my be thrush forming. She is on two antibiotics now...will see if that knocks the thrush out. Heading to work, but not much energy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 6 after Chemo #1...Rash

7:00pm - Not feeling too good. Bones/Joints are aching. Hot bath and to bed where she didn't get a great sleep.

10:30am - Connie woke up feeling pretty good still. However, she's still got this rash that reared it's ugly head yesterday. Last night she called the Dr. and they said to come in this morning. She phoned in while on her way to the Dr. office and they told her they were booked. Long story short, she won and the Dr. saw her. Her comment when calling to report the results was, "When your Dr. says, "This is a concern!" then I'm a little concerned. He told her he didn't think it was an allergic reaction to medication and had her continue on the antibiotics from a couple days ago and ordered another antibiotic to help with the rash. He also took blood and ran it through the white blood cell counter and found that she was low already...that shouldn't happen for another several days, so that was a concern. She has another appt on Tue (had already been scheduled) and he will do a follow-up at that time to see if anything had changed. She's still feeling good and is headed into work.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 5 after Chemo #1...Breakthrough!

12:45pm - Connie just called to say, "I don't know if it was the antibiotics, or just that it's day 5, but I feel sooo much better!" Yahoo!!

8:00am - Connie woke up feeling a little better, but zero endurance. Noticed a lot of bumps on her face today and are wondering if it is from taking the antibiotic the Dr. prescribed for her last night. Got off to work around 8:30am.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 4 after Chemo #1...a little harder than the rest!

10:45pm - It has been a pretty rough day. She didn't make it to work until around 2:00pm and managed to get in about 4 hrs before coming home wasted and with a fever. We ended up calling the Dr. who prescribed an antibiotic for the fever. She had a warm bath, barely got in the last of "The Biggest Loser" and was off to sleep. Hoping for a much better day tomorrow.

10:00am - The nurse said that Tue may be Connie's hardest day...and it appears to be. I got her up at 7am and she was feeling very achy already. Had her take all of her pills and she went back to sleep for 45 min. Got her up again and she felt less achy then and managed to get dressed and ready for work, but just as I was coming up the stairs to say good-bye (or see if she was going to need me to take her to work) she was rushing to the couch to sit down as a wave of dizziness suddenly overcame her and she rested for another 15 min and tried to get up again. More dizziness. I finally got her to call into work and at least go to sleep for a couple hours and try again after that. She's now back in bed and was asleep about the time her head hit the pillow.

Monday, May 10, 2010

After the Chemo Treatment...

9:00pm - I picked Connie up from work at 5 and she slept most of the way home, then crawled into bed for an hour. Woke up with a slight temp and took Tylenol. We kept taking her temp because if she get's over 100.4 degrees, she is supposed to call that in to her doctor immediately. She stayed up for a couple more hours then went out for the night (sleeping, not partying!).

12:00pm - Shared a Subway lunch with Connie today, as she thought she was going to come home before going back to work and hadn't taken lunch. She's very tired, and the body aches have picked up a bit, but thinks she'll make it to 5pm, and then she says she'll probably sleep all night. She's been asking for a pink blanket with a Monkey on it to wear during her chemotherapy. She worked with Cody and came up with this design. Cody printed it out and I helped him apply it. It's on a Holloway 80" x 54" Alumni Sweatshirt Blanket and the design is about 4' across. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

9:45am - Connie had a rougher night than I had thought. She was up in the middle of the night and was nauseous and pasty white. She failed to wake me up, but did talk with Cody for a minute before he was back asleep. She took one of her anti-nauseous pills and woke up feeling much better than the middle of the night. She is very tired this morning and thought she would come home after getting her shot, but by the time she got the shot, she was more awake (I would be too with a needle headed my way!). I dropped her off at work to see how much she could get done today before being worn out.

6:45am - Connie handled Friday with flying colors. Saturday was just as impressive and without any complications. She got to the Race for the Cure a little late (and didn't walk it) and then went shopping for a missionary suit with Cody and on the way home grabbed groceries from Sam's Club. Both of them were tired when they made it home. Sunday morning came (Mother's Day) and there were slight signs of nausia, but when she was up and doing things, that feeling went away. We went to church and I went ahead and taught her class (8 yr olds) while she was there. We tried to explain to the three at class what cancer was and that Sis. Denton may not always teach because sometimes her treatment makes her feel sick. After church we rushed home and called Elder Kyle Denton (via Skype) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I think we spoke about an hour. He's got a Spanish accent going on and it was fun to listen to him speak spanish back and forth with Cody and Chaz. By the time it was bedtime, Connie was feeling achy and was in a hurry to get to bed because she called them "flu-like" symptoms. I need to get her up shortly because she needs to go in to get her follow-up shot to help increase her white blood cell count, I think. This shot may make her long bones ache for awhile.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Connie's first day of Chemo

Today was the first day of Chemo!!! We got to our appointment a few minutes late, got ourselves signed in, helped ourselves to the candy jar, and got right in for vitals followed by a short visit with the physician’s assistant for a few last minute questions. Then off to the day spa…or treatment center. The nurse started the IV right off the bat and started an anti-nausea drip to get things rolling. After a good 20 minutes she started the first dose of medicine, after being told of a horrible reaction that it might cause: major back pain, chest pain, not being able to breathe! We asked how long it would take until we would feel the effects of that nasty and she told us about 30-35 minutes. All went well! It took another 45 minutes to finish that bag and then they plugged in the second medicine, which took about an hour to drain. She did great! We’ll go back Monday for a shot that will boost her white blood cell count, but will cause a bunch of aching in her long bones. She’ll go bald in 3 weeks…that sucks, eh? LOL When she shows up on Sunday with a red bob, don’t bump her head.

After chemo we went to the wig shop to finally decide on a wig. We didn’t like the one that we had ordered in, but bought one that we did like. It’ll take some getting used to (but don’t tell her that).

George was sick and didn't get to go with Connie...Cody was at her side all day today. In at 8:30am and out by Noon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chemo Class

Tonight Cody, Connie and I traveled to the Huntsman Center (IMC) and attended a 1.5 hour class on what is going to happen during Chemotherapy. There were about 6 people there who were going to be treated, and there turned out to be 6 different treatments...nobody had the same form of cancer, or treatment for it. This made their point that Cancer is different in every body!

They went through each patients treatment, and what side affects they may (or may not) encounter, plus the juices that would flow through their veins and the approximate amount of time their treatment would take on their first day. One guy had 8 hours! Connie was pinpointed as being the one in the crowd that would definately lose her hair. She wasn't happy about that at all, but she's already planned ahead for it.

They took us back to the treatment room where they can treat around 10 people at a time, at least. It appears that they will seat two people per cubicle, but you are free to move about. They have all kinds of things to do to help pass the time, including puzzles, wireless, movies, etc.

Connie will have to take some pills before she goes in (and after, I think). She also has a prescription for some anti-nautious meds that we'll pick up tomorrow so we're sure we have it on hand after the first treatment.

Friday (the first day of chemo) is sneaking up on us rather quickly! She's had some small requests from us to help make this a more comfortable time for her. More on that later, because as Clara & Amelia's a snecret!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Women's Conference is what???

Chemotherapy! That's What!!
Connie got to spend time with Cyndi at Women's Conference, and bunked up at Terri's house. Bill & Terri have 4-6 week old baby chickens that they are growing to replace their laying hens that aren't laying any longer. On Friday afternoon, I got a call from a neighbor family asking if I wanted chickens (same age as Bill & Terri's). They had got them free from IFA and their kids had become attached to them as fuzzy yellow balls of fur. Then they went on a vacation for a week and were surprised at how big they had grown and called me to say they'd had enough. Connie is now the proud mama of 8 Leghorn chicks (insert heavy roll of the eyes by Connie right here!). Cyndi and Connie stopped by at home (before taking Cyndi to the airport) to see the chicks. After they left here they went to the wig place and Connie has picked out the new style she'll be sporting when the chemo kicks in to high's on order and should be in the same day as her first round of chemo. She wants to go directly from chemo to have the wig fitted...I sure hope she'll be feeling well enough to do that...we'll see!

The Race for the Cure that we've signed up for is the following day on Saturday. It looks like TeamCD has raised $120 so far and we have already received our T-shirts for the race! If you'd like to sign up to run or walk with us, or donate anything on behalf of Connie, please see the post from April 19, 2010 for direct links.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cranial Prosthesis?

A Hair prosthesis (or cranial prosthesis), is a custom-made wig specifically designed for patients who have lost their hair as a result of medical conditions or treatments, such as alopecia areata[1] , alopecia totalis, trichotillomania, chemotherapy, or any other clinical disease or treatment resulting in hair loss.[2]. The terminology is used when applying for medical insurance or tax deduction status.

Doctors have been prescribing these prostheses since the 1950s. Cranial prostheses also help to protect disease-weakened immune systems from the sun, and to regulate body temperature.

Well, that may be something you did, or didn't know. After Connie went to visit the plastic surgeon today (60 more cc's of saline), we walked over to the Huntsman Cancer Center to speak with the patient advocate there. Connie told her that when she went and looked at wigs this past week-end, the wig company told her that most insurances won't cover a "wig" and that she needed to go back to her doctor and find out what the correct terminology is to bill the insurance with. It turned out to be "Cranial Prosthesis"! We'll try this approach when she gets ready to purchase the wig of her choice. She will have to pay for it all up front and then submit the paperwork to the insurance company and see if it will take.

Connie is feeling soooooo good lately! I'm not sure how she is right now after being filled up again, but this morning she said it hurt a lot less than the times before. She should only have one more visit before her extractor is filled to capacity.

Connie's friend, Cyndi, will be flying in tomorrow night for Women's Conference and they will not be seen for a couple two or three days after that. Sounds like they will be staying with Terri and Bill Wing. Sorry can stay here, if you'd like!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Expansion - It's Not Painless!

Took Connie in to visit the plastic surgeon this morning. After finding how how the treatment was going to play out from here as far as Chemo and Radiation went, he added another 60 ML of saline to the expander unit. He wanted to do 90 ML, but Connie was feeling uncomfortable with that much, so he decided not to go any further at this time. We have another appt for next week.

Once he figures out the correct size, he wants to go a minimum of 3 months without adding any additional...let the body get used to it. The surgery to do the implant will come after the radiation has been completed. He says most women are very happy to trade the implant for the expander...just so much more comfortable. We can only hope!

Connie is at work today and I've got an email that says she is questioning whether or not she brought along enough medication (aspirin). I told her to take her more powerful pills, if she needs to, but to make sure she tells her boss just in case she gets a little goofy on them!

Whoops - I posted this to Kyle's website by accident...hope that one didn't slip on out to facebook before I fixed it...My Bad!

Monday, April 19, 2010

TeamCD - 2010 Komen Salt Lake City Race for the Cure

Hi everybody,

The fine folks that work with Connie at Mountain America Credit Union have signed up a team to represent her this year in the race, which will be held Saturday, May 8th at the Gateway in Salt Lake City, UT. TeamCD is the name of the team, and I encourage you to consider entering the race, which costs $30 for most, or $20 for cancer survivors. If you can't make the race, but would still like to donate to the cause, you can do that too (Be sure to get it credited to TeamCD!). Please go to this link to register for the race, or to this link to see who is signed up for the team, and to donate.

Since Connie's first treatment of chemotherapy begins the day before the race starts, we are not sure she will be able to walk with us, but she will evaluate at the last minute to see what she is capable of.

We appreciate everybody's support and hope to be able to see you at the race!

Friday, April 16, 2010

So What Did The Chemo Guy Have To Say???

Yesterday we made our way to Connie's 8:30am appt with Dr. Chemo. We spent 10 minutes with a nurse who had her weigh in right after findout out that Connie is actually 5'6", not the 5'5-1/2" that she always thought she was. She took her blood pressure, which was a bit high...but under the circumstances, not unusual. She asked her lots of questions and then had us wait for 10 more minutes until she sent in Becky, the Patient Advocate, who went over our insurance with us and helped clarify where we sat. We're thankful for our insurance!!! We then sat another 10-15minutes and another nurse came in to see if Connie would participate in a BYU study, which includes drawing a little extra blood only when she is having blood drawn anyway. Sure, she's in! If they ever call again asking for money because she and Whitney went to college there, she can honestly say she's given blood for her donation to the school.

Another 15 minutes and Bruce, the assistant comes in to go over all surgeries, timing of them and does a visual inspection of the incisions to ensure that she is healing properly. Another 30 minutes and Dr. Chemo comes in explaining that they still haven't figured out how to do a consult and get everybody into the room one right after the other so you don't have to hang around and wait for them forever.

Dr. Chemo explains everything nicely, dividing the piece of paper he has with him up into sections and re-explains terms that we heard with Dr. Radiation. Then he breaks off and begins to explain the different types of chemo that they would usually use...and then he explains about a study that just started about a week ago. Going into detail about that a little more, and the possible side effects, we're not too hot on the idea and opt for a treatment that is called TC, which is Taxotere/Cytoxan x4 (every 3 weeks). There is the possibility she may try it for 6 weeks...there's no proof that 6x will work better, but it was one of the options that they were trying out in the study. I just hopped over to another website to look up what TC meant and I got stuck there reading ladies stories who were all going through it together online. I had to tear myself away and get back here.

May 7th will be her first dose. As she says, "Happy Mother's Day to Me!" This gives her the chance to go to her yearly Women's Conference at BYU with her friend, Cyndi, and hopefully some others that she likes to get in trouble with. They usually stay somewhere else and for three days they are just doing their thing. I don't know how many years in a row she's gone, but it's got to be at least 10 by now.

She's feeling really good (except when she got a shoe caught and started tipping and had to stop herself with the wrong hand today...ouch!). As most have observed, she looks VERY good. It still is the calm before the chemo storm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Calm Before the (Chemo) Storm!

I haven't posted in awhile because Connie has been looking and feeling really good lately. Sunday we did have to call in an order for a mild anti-biotic because one of her incisions was red and warm to the touch. I actually put a heat gun on it and on her skin a couple inches away and there was a 5 degree difference. She has been taking those pills faithfully and on Monday when we went to see Dr. Price (the surgeon) for the last time (we hope), he said it already looked fine...just finish taking the pills.

Yesterday she tried driving herself to the store just across the street and quickly found out that there are still certain positions that hurt her when she's at the wheel. We'll give it a few more days and have her test it out again before sending her off to work without a personal least until the chemo begins and we see how that affects her.

Tomorrow is our meeting with the Chemo Dude.

Friday, April 9, 2010

To Radiate, or Not to Radiate...That is the Question!

PLEASE TAKE POLL TO THE LEFT (this poll has been closed and removed now)!
We met with Dr. Thomson today in Radiology. Very Tall Man! He has a special hydraulic chair that Connie got in and went for a ride up to his neck of the woods. This chair helps alleviate back problems for him.

Dr. Thomson is kind and gentle, and told us lots of things we were unsure of, explained a few things a couple of times and was very patient. Once he came in to visit us, he was there for almost 50 minutes.

Connie is, once again, in a grey area. She could have it, or she couldn't. To keep a long story short, she has two major determining factors that are the only things playing against her. 1. She has 1 out of 18 lymph nodes that are cancerous. 2. She has a 2mm measure of margin, which means that between what appeared to be cancer and what good tissue was actually cut out, the difference was 2mm. Studies show that 5mm of margin is optimal.

According to a couple of different studies (Canada & Switzerland, I think), if you had both of those things against you, it was always adventageous to have radiated the area, along with Chemo, for the best results of living cancer free after that. If Connie was 80 yrs old, no, we wouldn't be doing that. However, with many years ahead of her, he (and the council of breast surgeons that meet on Thur mornings) leans towards having it done with a huge disclaimer that it may not be entirely necessary. If it was his wife...he'd do it.

Connie is feeling very well today, didn't scream over bumps, and was ok walking clear across the big parking lot rather than dropping her at the door.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dr. Ferguson - Plastic Surgeon

Connie had a 9:45am appt and was checked to see how the healing process was going, and rec'd another 60cc of saline. Don't have to go back for 2 weeks because he wants to wait and find out if the radiologist will be doing anything. He's had to back fluid out before so the radiologist could get a better angle at a spot for treatment and doesn't want to have to do that if it isn't necessary. Connie says the radiologist appt is this Fri.

My sister is flying in for a few days to "regenerate" her battery and see about going to the temple with's most likely her last chance to spend some time with him before he goes on his mission. We think he will be turning in his papers this week! They will probably hit the gym too...hopefully she doesn't make him get another hernia! (Just kidding, sis!)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Conference Week-end

There's not much to report today. Connie continues to improve and will be working on getting her left arm slowly stronger. We have been enjoying a lazy conference afternoon today.

Yesterday Connie and I made a trip in to see where Whitney is working...the new Deseret Book Flagship store located at 45 W South Temple, SLC, UT 84101. They have parking right underneath the store and you can take an elevator up one floor to Deseret Book. Cost is $2 for one hour of parking (or they will validate your parking with a minimum $25 purchase). They don't take cash...the machines only use credit/debit cards. I thought I was all prepared taking some ones with me and the kid at the ticket booth just looks at me and says, "we don't take cash here!" No signs indicating prepared!

Whitney is loving working this store...she was invited to work the grand opening and with Spring Break going on, she was able to work 8am to 10pm Thur, Fri, Sat and on Mon! They love her down there because she is one of the top sellers of Platinum Rewards Memberships. The regional manager introduced her the first morning there and told everybody that she was the person to beat. She sold 8 of them her first day and was only at the cash register part of the day.

While we were there, Sheri Dew was in the house. I threatened Whitney that I was going to ask Sis. Dew when this store would become Whitney's store. Good job, Whitney!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pulling the last Alien Tube on April Fools Day!

Met with Dr. Price this morning, who reconfirmed that the tests were all negative. He said we are done with surgery and mentioned that we should consult with a Radiation Oncologist, besides Dr. Whisenant, who is a Medical Oncologist. The reason for the consult, to decide if radiation treatment is necessary. He said Chemotherapy was definately necessary. Chemotherapy kills rapidly dividing cells. Your hair is rapidly dividing cells, and that is why you lose it.

Connie asked an excellent question. If your hair grows back, does that mean that cancer could grow back? The answer is yes, that is why this is a lifelong process of checking and re-checking.

Her last drain was taken out by the nurse today, which was a relief, mentally, to Connie. It didn't hurt near as bad as the one that came out two days ago.

Connie has received many flowers from well-wishers, of which we are very thankful! Being in a marketing-type business, the above gift really caught my eye...thank you, Kalma family! It is a gift bag full of fun things to help you get well quick...Very Clever!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back to work already??!!!

3:40pm - Got a call to pick her up by's 5:06pm right now and she's out cold on the couch! She has a 9:40am appt. with Dr. Price in the morning and is anticipating going to work after that.

Yep, Connie went back to work this morning, with limited capabilities, mind you. She can't lift more than 5 lbs, no lifting, twisting, etc. Not sure exactly how they will put her to work, but I'm sure she'll give 200% of whatever she's got left in her right now! We'll see if she can make it through a full day. I'm sure she'll be dog-tired when I go to pick her back up tonight.

It must be noted that she had an extremely hard time getting up this morning. She's been sleeping on the couch to prop herself up a bit because the bed is too hard and flat for her...check out this video clip Cody took of her when he tried to wake her up.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Missed Appt / Pathology Results Are In....

5:45pm - Just returned from Dr. Ferguson's office. He was kept in surgery and Travis Remington worked on Connie. She had a number of things done.
1) Removed steri-strips from lumpectomy and mastectomy incisions.
2) Pulled the biggest alien tube out of her side. He asked her to take a deep breath. While she was inhaling, he extruded the tube just that quick. It burned like fire for a short period of time, but Connie is relieved that it is gone!
3) Poked through the skin with a large needle to find port of the chest expander and added 60cc's of saline.

11:00am - We just rec'd a call from Dr. Price's nurse with the pathology report. The nodes, all 15 of the little buggers, came back negative. How GRATEFUL we are!!! The nurse told Connie a quick story - the last time she called us to say that 1 of 3 were cancerous, she thought all was well. Then Dr. Price asked her to call us back and let us know we were going to have to go in for surgery to test the next 10-15 nodes. She said she made him call us while he was at a convention because there was no way she was calling us back after she thought she had just assured us that things were ok. She was happy to make this call today! We'll speak with Dr. Price on Thur and see where we are at for sure. He did say to me after her 2nd surgery that barring any bad news with more lymph nodes she was at a stage II, he thought.

Here's a little bit more about the stages of breast cancer...Connie, you should read this!

8:40am - Connie woke up in a panick...we missed an 8:30am appt. with the plastic surgeon. My fault...I thought it wasn't until 10:30am and let her sleep. I made a phone call and was able to reschedule for 3:45pm today.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday - 3/29/10

2:30pm - Connie made an appt for Apr 20th with the following Oncologist:
Jonathan Whisenant, M.D.
Prior to joining UCS in 2005, Dr. Whisenant was a Clinical Fellow in Medical Oncology at University of California San Francisco Medical Center where he earned his medical degree in 1998. He was a resident in internal medicine at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and a staff physician at The Permanente Group in Walnut Creek, CA. Dr. Whisenant has published and presented his research to peers on colorectal and liver cancers and gastrointestinal tumors. He earned a bachelor‚s degree in history from Brigham Young University in 1993.

9:00am - Yesterday Connie made it to all 3 hours of church. Chazz taught her Sunday School class, so she was able to just sit with the kids and not have to be too involved. She was going to take her med's before going so they would kick in and last the entire block, however, she forgot them. She made it home and ended up pretty tired after all that. She has been up for a little while today, but has been sleeping most of the morning.

We need to call an Oncologist today and get hooked up with them, plus set some an appt. with Dr. Price for Thur. We are anxiously awaiting pathology reports by this Thur, at the latest.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday - 3/26/10

I woke up this morning around 8am to find that Connie has been up since at least 5:38am. At that time she measured her drainage and wrote it down...36cc in the past 7 hours...not bad. I get up, make myself some breakfast (Connie only wants Chocolate Milk...still not too hungry) and record her morning medications. She took only 1 pain pill again. She still has 3 more pills left from her last surgery, so we are waffling on if we're going to need to purchase another bottle with the new prescription today. Connie is much more mobile than after her last surgery. She says that her chest is just a dull throb now, and there is a little pain under her armpit where she had surgery yesterday, of course. She is already able to twist just a little bit more than yesterday. I head downstairs to work after tucking her back in on the couch to try and get a little more sleep while listening to CMT on the television.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Removal of the Lymph Nodes Day!

10:30pm - Connie has taken only one pain medication when we arrived home, and another just before bed tonight. She has been up most of the time, but not with a lot of appetite. Her new drainage bulb fills up quite quickly, compared to the one that was left from her first surgery, but that is to be expected. It is well within the limits. So far, so good. Good night!

5:00pm - Finally left the hospital.

2:15pm - Out of the recovery room and in room #21, where Michelle is taking care of her in post-op. Michelle, from pre-op, came in and brought Connie a new compression bra. She had to track it down for us and got it, and we rewarded her with one of our little pink cancer bears. We have one more to reward somebody who gives us excellent service. Connie is in and out right now, pain level at 1, eating ice-chips and doing well.

12:40pm - Dr. Price just came out and said everything went well, they didn't re-open anything that the plastic surgeon had already done, but did cut through some minor nerves that will make her arm sore and numb. He removed one of her two tubes, which was ok'd by the plastic surgeon, however, he added another one for today's surgery. He wants to see her next Thurs. She is in recovery for the next hour and will be able to take her home later today.

11:50am - We got here at 10:00am and got Connie checked in. The nurses are great and taking care of everything for her. We were moved up to the 2nd floor into a pod, or consult room. We met with Dr. Price and Dr. Rust, who is the anesthesiologist...he's got a pretty good sized ego, but he backed it up by putting in Connie's IV and it only hurt for the poke and the pain was then gone. Last time we were here, the pain lasted in her hand for quite some time. The Dr's, and Celeste, the nurse, went over a few last things, I got to give her a kiss, and off she went.

I'm now in the same waiting room that I was in last almost seems like yesterday. I forgot my phone, so my only way to communicate is by email. I hate it when I forget my phone!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Post-Op Day with the Surgeon

Had a 10:40am appt. with Dr. Price this morning. He basically was in and out, letting us know more directly what the pathology report said (1 out of 3 nodes were cancerous) and told us how he would harvest an area that would have approx 10-15 more nodes in it. He can't see the nodes, but when they disect the area down, that's about how many are usually there. Found that he will probably cut through a couple smaller nerves, which will leave under her arm sore/achey and numb. There are a couple of larger nerves that are "possible" that they could cut them, but he says they can usually see them and move them out of the way first....however...
Cynthia Horst has been supporting Connie with emails back and forth and shared what her experience was with the nodes, which is a little different than what they want to do with Connie. Connie tried for no surgery, but found out that estimating her stage of cancer is very depending on what they find, or don't find, and how aggressively they will treat her after this.
Happy to report that driving on the roads at normal speed was possible today, indicating that Connie is healing well and not hurting when we run over spider cracks in the blacktop. I'm just kidding, it wasn't quite that bad.
We haven't got the call yet, but it appears that we'll have to be at the hospital around 9:30 - 10:00am tomorrow for a same day surgery.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Off to the Plastic Surgeon today...

12:30pm - Connie was feeling good enough to go with me to the oral surgeon while Cody got his wisdome teeth out. Check out that story at, or find the link over to the left of this blog.

9:50am - Our surgeon just gave Connie a call and she has another surgery planned for this Friday to remove/harvest more lymph nodes for testing. Her care will be determined on how many of these will test out, whether positive or negative, for cancer. The plastic surgeon told us just this morning in his office that we'll find that we need to be flexible as different news is presented and paths of treatment change. So far, in just the last hour, he has been spot on!

9:25am - We're back already and Connie is still tubed up. She has another appointment for next week, where they will take them out for sure. The doctor would like to pull the tube, and at the same time, inflate the chest device so that it pushes the new void closed, decreasing the chance of fluids to gather there. Makes sense. However, if the fluid output drops below a certain level, and Connie wants to, she can come any time before next Tue and have one of the two removed. Apparently, one of the tubes hurts a bit more when extracting than the other. Ouch!

The sun has yet to crest the beautiful Wasatch mountains and the Denton house is abuzz with the excitement of a visit to the plastic surgeon's office today! Ok, a little melodramatic, and basically untrue. We do have an appt at 8:30 this morning and there is the possibility of the good doctor removing the alien drain tubes coming out the side of connie's left chest. We found that we had a picture of how they were installed inside of her body, and after a quick glance she quickly covered the picture back up and said she didn't want to know any more...I couldn't even bare the glance! Anyhow, the nurse says it's a painless procedure to have them removed and most women are happy to have this happen.
We hope this appt doesn't last too long because we need to get back so I can escort Cody to the dentist for his missionary wisdom teeth removal at 10:30am. He has 3 that need to be extracted. He's not too excited about this visit.
There is nothing but fun around each and every corner!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Pathology Report...

The report did not come back as we had hoped. Even though the lymph nodes tested negative while Connie was on the operating table, the final inspection revealed that one of the three nodes did test positive for cancer. We are now working on setting up an appointment with an Oncologist...and it looks like they are about 2 weeks out, which the nurse says is ok...they can't do anything with radiation or chemotherapy until her wounds have healed. They will probably do a full-body scan and that will tell us how aggressive, if at all, the cancer has been. I believe this will also help to determine what state she is at.
We do have an appointment set for tomorrow with the plastic surgeon (Dr. Ferguson)and on Thursday with the original surgeon, Dr. Robert Price.
Connie did get up this morning and go into work to fill out her time card before people started coming in. She is still a little fuzzy and was thankful that Cody had gone with her to help her...she was trying to copy and paste some stuff in Excel and just wasn't doing it right...he came to her rescue and they made a quick exit after that.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday 3/21/2010

Hi everybody,

Cody was speaking in church today, so she got her first shower this morning over her stitches and drainage tubes that are stitched into her sides below her armpits. It did take me a little getting used to...I'm a major whimp in this area. Seeing the tubes coming out of her was the hardest part. We got her to the shower and fortunately her mom has a nice chair for sitting in the shower that we used. I did my best at washing her hair while she held the drainage tubes, and then I held them while so she was able to wash. She felt much better after that, but was exhausted by the time we had to go to church. She made it through Sacrament and Cody did an excellent job on his report on how Kyle is doing on his mission. Several people came up to her unbelieving that she was even there, and mentioned how good she looked (hey, she did look good!). But as soon as she got home, out went the lights and she got some more sleep.

We're still waiting to hear what the pathology reports are...we'll call early Monday to make sure somebody gets back to us.

Friday, March 19, 2010

No News is .....No News!

7:00pm - Sad to say it, but we received absolutely NO NEWS from the pathology lab today, much to our surprise. Unless they work on the week-end, we may not hear anything now until Monday.

Connie made sure she took 2 pain pills (as prescribed) all night last night and slept much better. Woke up kinda pukey this morning, but we think it might be because she didn't have anything on her stomach and waiting 5-10 minutes to eat after she took the pills may have been our problem. I just remembered that we were rendered some "life saving" advice last night and I should have used it...if you get pukey from the meds, try a little coca-cola and it will settle you down much faster. My bad, but thanks Sis. B! (I wonder if Mtn. Dew would work...???)

She continues to improve, taking less pain medication in the day. We are historically horrible at keeping track when the last time she took pills was, so we actually made a chart and have been filling it out religeously. So now we have an excellent record of how bad we are at taking pills on time!

Connie's department at work sent out a wonderful fruit boquet to add to all the beautiful flowers that others have sent. Thank you all!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday, March 18th

10:30pm - Happily, a pretty uneventful day. Meds were taken, we laughed, we napped and a delicious dinner was provided by Sis. Vance & Balfour & Balfour. Tommorow should be test results day...we'll have to see what happens =:0} Until tomorrow...goodnight!

8:00 am - We were both exhausted and fast asleep by 8pm last night. Connie was up at 2am and took her meds. She is prescribed 1 or 2 every 4 hours, but only needed one last night. She's still asleep this morning and I'll go wake her up in a minute, as it is time for her antibiotics. I need to kick Cody off the couch and make a place for her so she can sit up more, rather than laying down the whole time. We'll definately be watching the BYU game on CBS at 10:20am. That may give her another reason to fall asleep...hmmmm.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's a New Day!

6:30pm - Connie just shared a wonderful experience with me (not!). I got to help her strip her drainage tubes that are sewn into her to allow drainage that will occur for the next several days...there is a chance they will come out on Tuesday, depending on how little they are draining by then. The nurse said she drains a lot less than others. She has 2. Since we didn't get a lot of sleep at the hospital, we have both got a cat nap. Looking forward to (hopefully) a longer night of sleep than just 3 hours. Her pain level, when sitting, is usually about 1 or 2. When she gets up to walk around, it goes up to a 4/5 real quick. She is told she should be up and walking the house at least once/hour to help keep the blood flowing properly.

2:20pm - We have arrived home. It was a slooowww ride, but not slow enough that Connie wasn't wincing, even though she got meds 1/2 hr before we left. I felt bad! She's going to go to bed, Cody will watch her, and I will go to Sams club...decided not to go on the way home. We'll see just how comfy the bed is at home. Noticed that some clean-up has taken place and our fridge is stocked with fun things to eat (thank you Sis. Campbell, Jorgenson, Free and Bennett!!!!! Also, thanks to Cody & Whit, who got their chores done. Chazz...we need to chat!

11:35am - They have given Connie the ok to go ahead and leave after she has lunch, and at her convenience. Connie is not in a hurry to get out as she wouldn't have a nice electrical bed at home that she can rest easy in. She, of course, still winces when she has to move too far. She'll have a meeting with the Plastic Surgeon on Fri and with the surgeon on Mon. I expect we'll leave around 2:00pm, go pick up drugs at Sams and then head home. They are taking out her I.V. right now.

11:00am - We have been receiving many calls while here at the hospital on my cell, which doesn't get good reception here in the hospital. I have been trying to text you back to check out this blog, or email me at Connie is asleep right now. They figured last night that she was supposed to be medicated every hour after she got out of surgery, and they were doing every 3-4 hours. Now that this is figured out, she's taking stronger meds every 4 hours that do have a tendency to put her out.

9:00am - Dr. Price just showed up and re-emphasized that the nodes were negative and everything went really well. He wants her in his office on Mon for a follow-up. The tingling of the arm is normal and should go away. She's getting another dose of meds right now. Terri W. will be stopping by to say howdy before long. Doc says she'll be out today, unless the other doc sees a need for her to stay another day...they are finding that out.

5:30am - At 3:15am CNA Carol came in to check vitals. All seemed well, she left, and not till then did Connie need to go to the restroom. I unplugged her compression boots that she wears on each leg/foot that helps to keep the blood circulating and then unplugged her tree from the wall. Soon after getting back in bed Nurse Lindsey (she has the drugs) popped in to drop off the next round of meds. Nurse Lindsey just came in again to check the antibiotics bag and advised that Dr. Price's "Surgeon's Team" had already called and would be coming in before long to check on her. Her left arm keeps falling asleep, but awakens when she moves just is happening a lot more this morning than last night. We'll bring it up when they come in to see her. All in all, short night after getting to bed around midnight.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Surgery Day

5:30pm - Grammy and her friend, Diane, visited about 4:15. Cody showed up soon after that because Connie wanted some Cadbury Easter Eggs. Dinner showed up about 5:15 and she also had a small hit of drugs as her pain level crept up to 4/5. Still fighting nausea. She has been up once to use the restroom too, which is a good sign.

4:00pm - Connie had a breathing specialist come in to give her a breathing device so she would take 10 long deeps breaths (in a row) each hour.

2:00pm - Right after my last post I was invited into the recovery room to sit with Connie and feed her ice chips. There was a shortage of available rooms, so we had to wait it out there. Her pain level has been a 3 or below as long as she's not moving. Nausia is her biggest problem, as a result of all the medications. By 2:15pm we made it to her room and got settled in. It is 2:35 right now and she is going to try and get some more rest.

12:45pm - Connie has been in recovery for quite awhile now. Should be getting close to being able to go in and see her.

11:25am - Dr. Ferguson has come out and reported that everything went great with his part of the surgery. A retractor and drains have been installed and she can't use her left arm for doing anything strenuous for several days. He will stop by and check on her later today, and then again in the morning before she leaves. She is currently in recovery and will probably be there around an hour.

10:35 - Rocky just showed up in the waiting room. He's a 5 year old St. Bernard who they bring in each Tuesday to give people a little break from having to wait for those in surgery...kind of breaks things up a little bit. He is HUGE! Fire alarms are now going off for the third time!

10:15am - There is a fire emergency in the building...we are being told to evacuate the not use the elevators. Crap! What are they going to do with Connie in the middle of surgery? Some of the people are saying there's no way they are leaving as they have family in surgery too. The warnings are still going on 5 minutes later, but we have been told it is just a drill. Finally they have stopped. That just isn't nice!!!

9:53am - Just spoke with Dr. Price. No sign of cancer in the initial review of the nodes!!!!!!!!!! All went well. Dr. Ferguson has taken over from here to begin the reconstructive surgery.

8:30am - We have been at the hospital for two hours now, going through registration for the 50th time (it seems). Connie got dressed in her gown and pants, gave a blood and urine sample (tmi?) and was wheeled up to the second floor where we got even less time to say good-bye than we did with Kyle when he left for his mission. I was ushered down the hallway to the waiting room and found one of the two plugs in the room to blog. They have told us they have about 4 hours blocked out for surgery. Sad to say that there was very little blue from the dye...kind of disappointing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dye Injection Today!

We have been asked to be at the hospital today at 4pm for the dye injection, which leaves us to believe that we will be scheduled for an early surgery tomorrow morning. I believe they told us that after this shot she will begin to look like a Smurf (or is it an Avatar nowadays?) in the affected area. Perhaps I can talk her into a "safe" photo in the morning before she goes in that I can show ya, but don't hold your breath!
Added at 6:20pm:
The dye has been injected (more painful than she would have thought!) and she is back at work cleaning up and writing notes on files so co-worker's can figure out where she is.
Hospital check-in time: 6:30am
No food or drink past midnight.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Will we know all the answers right after surgery?

No, we won't know all the answers right after surgery. To find out what "stage" of cancer Connie has we will have to wait 2-4 days for pathology reports to come back from the lab. They will go over the tumor, calcifications and the nodes with a fine-toothed comb to determine how bad she has it, and it will also hopefully tell us if they were able to get it all out on the first try.

Here on the home front today, life is pretty normal. Gifts and notes of cheer have been coming in already as we prepare for our Tuesday hospital visit. Many have stopped both of us to let us know that we are in their thoughts and prayers, too. We thank all of you! We believe the surgery will be about 6 hrs long, and we still don't know what time we will need to show up at the hospital...should find out tomorrow.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Consult #2 with Dr. Price on Thur, March 11, 2010

We now have all the results back. Connie didn't carry the cancer gene and the calcifications tested negative for cancer. We got this news on Tue, March 9, 2010, and it was a good day! Dr. Price told Connie that after taking the tumor and the calcifications on the left side, she would be in the gray area of saving a deformed breast, or having a mastectomy. With the mastectomy, there would be no fear of a re-occurance of cancer. Connie made the tough decision to go with a mastectomy on one side, and was able to do a small lumpectomy for the calcifications on the other side. A surgery date was set up for Tue, March 16th. A phone call will be made indicating at what time she could go in. At a minimum of 2 hours before her surgery, she will have to have a dye injected so the surgeons can follow it to her lymph nodes under her arm. They will harvest the first two that they come to and check them for cancer during surgery. If they show cancer, then the doctor will have to assume the cancer has spread to other places in the body. He will end up taking more nodes out, and there's a good chance that chemo will be probable.

MRI Results - Thur, March 4, 2010

I took Connie in for her MRI at 8:00am. By Noon they had called back with the results: She has calcifications in both breasts, besides the cancerous tumor in her left. They would like her to show up tomorrow at 8:00am for another ultrasound and mammogram. At 8:45 they want her to speak with Dr. Ferguson, a plastic surgeon, to discuss the possibilities of reconstructive surgery. At 2:45 she was in for a biopsy for the calcifications on the left only and then a mammogram right after that was done. Time was slipping by and a decision needed to be made about surgery, however, there were many unanswered questions. Will there really need to be a mastectomy? A double? Do I have the gene? If I do, then a double would probably be best. If I don't, that would make a difference too.

We cancelled the surgery to await the results of the gene test.

Getting some answers, Mon., March 1, 2010

We made it to the hospital to speak with Dr. Price. We learned many new words and acronyms. He helped us recognize that breast cancer is extremely common and treatable. By the time we left the hospital, we had a treatment plan for doing a lumpectomy, had a request for an MRI set up and did a blood test that would tell us wether or not Connie carried a gene for cancer that could be passed on to her daughter. We even had a surgery date scheduled for Tue, Mar 9th. Connie now knew what it was she was fighting and was forging ahead to get this nasty out of her system.

Black Friday, 2/26/2010

When Connie heard the word Cancer, she immediately associated it with death. Our family doctor broke the news to her. He told her that she should call the surgeon that did her first lumpectomy several years ago, Dr. Price, and talk with him. They would put together a team of doctors for her care. "You're going to have a pretty rough year ahead of you," he said. After that she couldn't focus on work and came home early. She called to make an appt with Dr. Price and they tried to make that appt for the following Thur. Connie let them know that her doctor thought this was urgent...could we do it a little sooner. OK, Mon it is!

Monday was a loooong way away for somebody who was now shattered and had nowhere to turn to find out more information. She got through Saturday very bravely and then Sunday at sacrament meeting she did ok until the choir sang some primary songs and all of a sudden words were taking on a whole new meaning for her. Thankfully, I had enough tissues tucked away in pockets to help get through the last song and prayer and she thought it best to go quickly outside to see if she couldn't get cool air on her face so she could come back in and teach her primary class. Then the worst thing happened...her superhero friend, Jennifer, comes walking out to her car after bravely sitting through sacrament and called out a friendly, "Hello, Miss Connie!...How are you doing?" That was it, the flood gates opened and Jennifer came up to her and gave her a big hug, asking her to call her later. (Even writing this now brings tears to my eyes again.) Connie didn't think she could go back in now, so I made quick arrangements for her class to be cared for and we left for home.