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 Bill...you 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 chauffeur...at 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 Cody...it'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 otherwise...be 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!