Friday, July 30, 2010

If the puzzle piece fits....

The puzzle is complete! Not an actual puzzle treatment puzzle.

My visit with MD Anderson was yesterday. We woke up, got ready, got the kids off to this car and that car of my dear friends who kept them on short notice and we were on the road by 10am. We got to MD Anderson right on time making one small stop on the way, and checked in. That place is right on time, very helpful, very easy to navigate for the most part, and it was great.

My prayers were: #1: that they would not want to delay my treatments any longer by running more tests, and #2: that I would like it there and make my decision easier on where to go for treatments.

So, when I walked in, and found the places I needed to go, met with the financial guy abut my account, got checked in, had lunch, saw the nurse, and was waiting on the Dr, I was anxious the whole time. When the Dr came in.....OMG let me just say he was FABULOUS and all my anxiety subsided almost instantly! He is a taller and slimmer version of Doug Shadle, for those who know him..... and he never once looked at my file during our visit. He walked in, knew all my history, knew all about my tumor, knew all about my cancer, etc. The first thing he said to me was "I looked at your file and I'm wondering how you got so lucky to end up here. You don't smoke, don't drink that much, it's not genetic, and you eat healthy and exercise. What happened?" to which I responded something like "It's just the way the cards were dealt". So, we go into depth about my lovely diagnosis of Sarcoid, the cancer, tumor, the whole nine yards. He answered every question I had before I had to ask, and at the end he described my treatments, which were opposite of my former oncologist. He is doing 12 weeks of Taxol, followed by 4 doses, 3 weeks apart of FAC. My former oncologist only wanted to do the "AC" and when asked what the difference was he explained "the AC is compared, in a study that we at MDA did a few years back, to a drug combination that was invented in the late 1970's. The AC approach is the same effectiveness as the other drug (which I can't remember the name he told me) and when you add the "F" drug to it, it becomes superior, more effective, and just plain works better than the old drug AND plain AC" So, everything else was about the same as what my former surgeon said, stage 3...chemo, then mastectomy and lymph node removal, then radiation, then reconstructive. But, the difference is that I will meet with the surgeon and the plastic surgeon early on, rather than after chemo. So, we will all be on the same page, the same timeline, and I will know what the plans are early on.

So, prayer #2 answered...... I love that place, and I love Dr Theriault!!!

Then he said "so, do you want to start chemo tomorrow?" and I was like "uuumm, I guess...I can....we wanted to shoot for Wednesdays for our schedule to work better" and he said "OK, then can you do today and then we can move you back one day next round to Wednesdays?" so we were again like "uuuhhh...sure???" So, I finished with him at about 3pm, they sent me for a blood draw and chest X-ray which took a total of 10 minutes to do, and then I went and got my chemo orders, checked in by 3:30 and they took me back. I had to go to a different section to have my port accessed for the first time since it wasn't installed there, and then go back to the chemo room. Got back there about 5pm, and they started the IV for my steroids. After that was done dripping, I had to wait 30 minutes for it to absorb and then they started my first round of Taxol at about 6:15. We were out of there by 7:30ish and on our way home! Holy Cow!!

Prayer #1 answered! Any tests he wants to run can be run after they have started my chemo! The battle has officially started!

They give you a month long schedule, you can't pick the times, but they aim for your favorite day of the week. So, aside from my Ultrasound and Mammogram (on their equipment) being this Monday and the 4 week follow up being on a Monday (the Monday that school starts...ugh) everything for the next month falls on Wednesdays!

The Taxol is an "easier, liter version of chemo" so my hair will thin, but not completely fall out right away, not much nausea/vomiting, and a little bit of a few other minor side effects. FAC is the harder chemo where your hair falls out almost immediately, side effects are harder, and because you go every 3 weeks, your blood counts go down for a longer period of time, making you more susceptible to risk of germs/colds. Luckily, that will be during cold and flu season (yay! sarcastically) so....I will be staying home bound during that time and carefully screening my visitors!

I am not really feeling any side effects as of yet. A little bit of heartburn but I think that's from the mediastinoscopy on Monday, and I did not sleep last night because I forgot about sleeping pills till 4am. The sleeplessness is caused by the steroid dose I was given, not the Taxol itself. But the major one: I'm hot! yep, you heard me....I am HOT! This is RARE for me and my 90/60 normal blood pressure. I sleep with 4 blankets, and by 4 blankets... I don't mean 4 sheets....I mean 1 sheet, 1 cotton blanket, 1 heating blanket not plugged in, and 1 comforter. I sweat most of the night last night. Ugh! It isn't so much that my entire body is hot, my insides were hot and felt like they were burning, but my outsides were a bit chilly. This is normal with Taxol and should subside a day or so after each treatment, from what I'm told.

During the chemo, the volunteer services brought me a free bandanna type hat that fits my big head. It's fitted with elastic and then ties in the back, so that will be for my "no wig days". I've had issues finding a cute head wrap in my price range, cute bandanna that fits my head (those 22" Hobby Lobby ones don't work...I need 25" or bigger) and hats just don't come down all the way in the back, so I have to wear a bandanna under it. I have tons of ball caps, just need the undergarment for them. :-) Hopefully when Joyce and I go to the wig store, they may have a variety there, or I may check out the store down at MDA. We just didn't have a chance to go by there yesterday.

Oh, and some of our family odds, just for giggles:
4.4% of women in my age range (30-40) get breast cancer. Even less when it's not genetic (mine is not)
15% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer get triple negative tumors (yay me!)
Texas is in the lowest bracket of Breast cancer risk in women by state
In 25 years, the risk of returning Breast cancer is 20% (NO THANK YOU! I won't even be 60!)

2% of African American women are affected by Sarcoidosis, even less in other ethnicities (so I'm probably in like 1-1.5%)
Sarcoidosis occurs more often in African American women than in Caucasian women. (click here for more information on what sarcoidosis is)

1 in every 2,000 live births result in Craniosynostosis
May be as high as 2 in every 2,000 in infant boys (like Grayson)
More often occurs involving a genetic syndrome (not like Grayson's)
More often occurs in first born sons (not like Grayson)
Only 10% of ALL Cranio kids have multiple sutures fused (like Grayson)
Non-Genetic Cranio occurs more often in drug using moms and low weight gain moms (SOOO NOT like Grayson's mom)
Often less common when sensible diet and exercise is used during pregnancy (spin class and Gestational diet during entire pregnancy!)

So, I'm thinking we need to play the lottery more often...we got some LOW odds and keep getting stuff!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How do you like that?

So, I get a phone call at 5pm today from SIB with a J added in front of her name (like I'm stupid, that's like me saying I'm Stephanie instead of Tiffany) and she says "so, I don't know what the rush is, but apparently you spoke to Beth and she said to get you in ASAP, so can you come in tomorrow?" Same hispanic accent, and seriously, I asked her to repeat her name and all she did was add a J in front of it..... She still didn't know her a$$ from a hole in the ground, and couldn't get me anymore information on the $250-$2500 amount, but I got in, so I guess that's all that matters.

So, I love the fact that I try for almost a month to get into MDA and I get the run around, and then BOOM I get an appt for the next day! hhhmmmm.......

Anyways, I will go Thursday, see what they have to say, and possibly make the switch. That's a lot to pray about in one night. I will have to decide by Friday morning what my decision is because I'm supposed to go to my current oncologist Friday afternoon for "chemo education", so if I choose to go with MDA, then I'll have to call and cancel that appt Friday morning.

Wish me luck!

Update on MD Anderson

So, I got a really nice phone call from a nurse coordinator today from MD Anderson, and I told her what SIB did and said to me and told her that in my opinion, they were forming a bad name for themselves if this is how they are treating new patients. She was in disbelief that I was told any of that, that I've been given the run around, and in the tone that SIB took with me, and sincerely apologized and said she would definitely address SIB's behavior with the Doctor when he returned. She is checking to see if I can get in with a different oncologist this week and then transfer to Dr Booser when he returns from vacation, or if I should go ahead and start my treatment regimen where I'm at and if it is the same approach they would take, then it shouldn't be a problem for Dr Booser to transfer me over even after one dose of chemo.

She totally understood my anxiety in not waiting anymore because of my age, grade and stage of cancer. I was utterly impressed with her, so I hope she comes through for me. Otherwise, I'll be staying where I'm at.

So, we'll wait for the phone call tomorrow......

Chemo starts soon.....

So, since I hadn't had a chance to blog in a few days, I have a lot to catch up on, so this will be lengthy. I've been so tired lately, and then I decided to take on a 1000 piece jelly bean puzzle that took 17 or so hours to do. But, it kept my mind off cancer the entire weekend, and I LOVE puzzles, so why the heck not? hehehe

1. Had my mediastinoscopy Monday. My procedure was supposed to be at 1pm, so I got there at my requested 11am time, and sat in the lobby till almost 12:30.....did I mention I couldn't eat and was STARVING? Yeah, so I finally went and asked how much longer it would be and the front desk lady tells me "oh, you're delayed until 2-2:30...they didn't tell you?" Uh.....NO! So, I was in a pissy mood when they finally came and got me 30 minutes later to start my prepping. Then, because I have little tiny viens (you'll see a pattern here soon) it ONCE AGAIN took 3 tries for the IV to go in. Both hand spots were blown, so they ended up using my arm by my inside elbow. So, now I have bruises on both hands...YAY! This has happened on EVERY surgery I've ever had, and I keep telling them "you can't use my hands", but APPARENTLY protocol says they have to at least try and torment the patient first before anesthesia will allow the arm to be used.....that's just DUMB! So, I finally go back for surgery, get my IV of "jagermeister" and fall asleep. I woke up to recovery, and Chris practically comes bouncing in my recovery room like Tigger and says "it's not cancerous!" I thought it was so cute. He hasn't been so excited in a while, and I could just see the excitement on his face when he came in. So, aside from this nasty yucky scar on my neck, a hoarse throat, and a golf ball size lump in my throat when I swallow, I'm fine. Oh yeah, and I can't move my neck to either side, have to sleep sitting up with ice on my neck to reduce the golf ball size swelling on the outside as well.....and my back is sore, but I can't get a massage because I can't lay on my stomach. So, I feel like I've been run over by a mack truck, and have an elephant sitting on my chest, but really.....I feel fine. :-)

(The doctor told Chris that my trachea thingy was teeny tiny, so he had a hard time getting down there....see the pattern growing? Why is it that my wedding ring is a size 4.5, my veins are teeny tiny, and my trachea is teeny tiny, my mouth is teeny tiny; braces involved, and my ankles and wrists are teeny tiny, but the rest of my body is "big boned" as I call it? I SOOOOO don't match)

2. I went yesterday to see my oncologist, who is growing on me, and I like her a lot better now. Let me tell you......I was younger than EVERY patient there by at LEAST 40 years! I haven't seen so many slippers, wheel chairs and walkers since I visited my grandma in the nursing home. I felt WAY out of place, to say the least. So, she delivered the good news, which we already knew, that it is not cancerous, it is Sarcoid. Yay. She also said she wanted to present my case at her tumor conference she is attending next week because my case is so unusual. Go figure....Tiffany is unusual.....hahaha. She was referring to the fact that on the PETscan the nodes were measuring so hot that even the tech who read it said "mestatic disease" and it wasn't, so I proved that "Hotter doesn't always mean "CANCER" ". She wanted to give my port one more week to heal, and also give this neck incision more time to heal, so I start chemo next Tuesday. It's a 2 day regimen, so I go in August 3 and August 4. The first day is AC chemo (adriamycin and cytoxan, now known as doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide) and day 2 is anti nausea drugs, fluids, and Neulasta. I also have a chemo anti-nausea pill to take on day 1, 2, and 3 called Emend. So, I repeat this process every 3 weeks for 4 doses. After the second dose (Happy Anniversary to us) she will repeat my U/S and see if it has subsided in size at all. We should be able to feel if it has before then, but for shits and giggles, we'll do the U/S. After all 4 doses I then go to Taxol, which is once a week for 12 weeks. She also wrote something on here about Zometa via IV for Q6MM? x 4 doses. I also got my prescription for my wig, some phenergan, and the Emend that I'll be taking in pill form.

3. MD Anderson called yesterday and informed me that if I start treatments, they can't transfer my care....they can only give me a second opinion. So, my choice is to wait for them and not start chemo till late August, which I don't want to do because I've already gone 5 weeks, 6 by the time chemo starts, and this is aggresive cancer, OR go ahead and get treated by my current Dr's and screw MDA. For being the best cancer hospital in the world, they sure do make this process difficult. By the way, I should mention that between all these Dr appts I've had, surgery testings I've had, and followup appts I've had, I had to do all the legwork for MDA. I had to get all my films, slides, Dr notes, pathology reports, etc and fax them over BEFORE they would even set up my appt. Then, she tells me that it is $250-$2500, which may or may ot be covered by insurance for them to review my slides. So, I am trying to really decide if that ungodly amount of money is worth it for me to go down there and have them say "yep, you have cancer and that's the same thing I would do if I was treating you...bye bye". I'm so aggravated with them. This girl I talked to (which I will leave nameless but refer to her as "Stupid insensitive bitch" or SIB) has no compassion for anyone, I'm quite certain, and she doesn't know how to do her job. It's obvious that she is reading a dialogue when she tells me everything I need to bring with me and she didn't even know that the 56 pages I faxed to her were in my file already until I told her that I called to verify already and they are there. "hehe... oh yes, here they are".... SIB also tells me that I'm not allowed to see the oncologist there if I had treatments that week. are a freaking CANCER hospital and I have cancer, so why am I not allowed to go in there if I received chemo when your hospital GIVES chemo????? Like I'm some sort of walking timebomb that could blast off an infection at any given moment and infect everyone within a 5 mile radius. UUUGGGHHHH. I do not like her, I do not! So, I don't know if I'm gonna be able to even keep the appt she set because I get chemo the week they have me set up to go.....and ya know....I might infect someone....

So, that's it in a nutshell. That's what I'm in for over the next year. Have you ordered your "Team Tiffany" shirt? Store tab should be viewable on the top right of the blog. Mens, Womens and Girls shirts are available along with a pink "Cancer Sucks" bracelet, and yard stakes (courtesy of My sis Dolly). All proceeds go towards my treatments, and the rest leftover will be donated to cancer research.

Ta-Ta for now....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cancer Sucks

I've been having a hard time lately. The past few days of waiting for the mediastinoscopy, the phone calls, the waiting on call backs. Everything kind of got to me last night and Chris and I decided to watch a movie we've had for years, but never opened. So, we pulled out "Pay it Forward" thinking it would be uplifting, and cheerful. Um.....NO! Yea, the message was good, and I liked the whole "pay it forward" idea....but the kid dies at the end. I cried. and cried. and cried.

Life is just unfair. It was unfair to him, it is unfair to me. It's unfair to everyone in some sort of way. We just have to roll with the punches, and play the hand we are dealt, but it doesn't change the fact that this should NOT be happening to me.

I did everything right that I was supposed to do in my lifestyle. I've NEVER used drugs, I just started drinking a little here and there.. recently, never been a drinker. I've battled weight problems my ENTIRE life, finally got that under control, and I've battled sinus issues my ENTIRE life and finally got that under control. Battled the smoking demon for years off and on, finally conquered that battle too. So, I know I can win this fight too, but DAMN....why do I have to? Why does everything have to be a battle with us? When are we gonna catch a break?

I hate being in this stage and fear of the "unknown". We know I have cancer. We know it's at least stage 3. We know my tumor is triple negative. But, until we know if this is Sarcoid or mestatic disease, and until the chemo shows it is working, we are stuck in this awful place of "what-if's" and "I don't know". This is the worst place to be and we are stuck here for the next few months until the tumor shrinks or the follow-up MRI and PETscan show that I am getting better. I just wish we had answers. I wish we had a "cure" and not just a "this usually works". Having a triple negative tumor sucks even more. It makes my fight harder, and it makes my road longer. It makes my faith get tested harder, and it makes me cry more. It's been almost a month since I found this, and we still have not even started treatments because we are waiting on this, waiting on that, testing this, testing that... in the meantime, this horrible thing inside my body is doing who knows what and I'm starting to get worried.

I get daily emails from people, phone calls, texts, etc and I really don't know how to answer honestly. Yes, I'm doing OK physically, but inside I am scared shitless. I don't know my outcome, I don't know my precentages, I don't know my odds. I'm stuck in the "I have no freaking clue" stage and it's not up to me at this point. I'm just ready to start this fight and get it over with. But we can't .... until we know more of what we are dealing with.

Chris has been a HUGE leaning tower for me and a HUGE help and has a HUGE shoulder for me to cry on. But at the same time, he is just as scared as me. We can't go back, we can only go forward, and we want to go back. Back to where we were a year ago, even a month ago. We are coming up on our 10 yr anniversary, our marriage is stronger than ever, and we have no clue what to do to celebrate because at the same time, I have a battle ahead of me. I don't know where I'll be on our "day" or how I'll be feeling. We just can't imagine life any differently right now, but in the back of our minds, we wish we could go back. We keep saying "why do these things keep happening to us?" and "how are we going to pay for all this?" I know the answer is "God is in control, He knows the outcome, and we have to turn it over to him" but that's really hard to do when we are waiting...and waiting...and waiting.... and nothing is happening.

Just having a hard day, I guess. We all have them, and it's totally OK to feel helpless and fearful, and we will get through these feelings. But, it doesn't change the fact that THIS IS NOT FAIR!!!

I'm still in a state of shock over this whole thing. Changed a lot of plans we had. Changed a lot of views we shared. Changed a lot of financial plans we had. Changed a lot of my kids summer plans. Sure, we are hanging in there, but at the same time, we live, breathe and think about nothing but cancer right now. It's all-consuming and it sucks.

I have an awesome support system, I have a wonderful Mother who sends me daily scriptures and posts on my Facebook wall non-stop, as well as my Dad. I have a great family who knows when I need to be left alone and they don't call. I have great friends who just stop by to vaccuum or make a bed, or take my kids here and there. I have so much help, but the truth of the matter is....Cancer SUCKS and I don't want it. I want it gone. NOW. I can't believe I am going through this.

Fear of the unknown is a justified reason to cry......right? Having cancer is a justified reason to cry....right? Now, I just gotta find a way to stop the tears from flowing in front of my kids. They cannot smell or sense my fear. I won't allow it. But it happens sometimes.

......and it sucks.

....Cancer sucks!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thorn in my side

I got a text today from my good friend Gabbie. She is my BON JOVI BFF. Her and I always buy the new Bon Jovi CD on the day it comes out, we try to go to all the concerts, and anytime we get together, we always happen to somehow manage to get in something about Jon Bon Jovi (referred to here sometimes as JBJ) and his extreme total "hot-ness" factor. That man is next in line on the gorgeous chart right behind my husband. In fact, Chris has even told me that if he dies before me, I have his complete permission to marry Jon Bon Jovi, but no one else....hehehe. Needless to say, I am a Bon Jovi FANATIC to the extreme! JBJ is one hunk of a man. (salivating)

Oh yeah, back to my story... got distracted for a minute by the um...chair in the picture...yeah... that's it.

So, Gabbie says "listen to song 6 on the new cd". Of course, I've heard it before. I've heard it many times, but I've been listening to mostly calming music lately, lots of praise music, and lots of inspirational music...go figure... I immediately went to my iPod app on my pretty pink iPhone and pulled up Bon Jovi's new album "The Circle" and went right to song #6...."thorn in my side".

Now, let me run off on a rabbit trail for a minute... JBJ always knows exactly what I need to hear. He always knows exactly what I need to say, and what I need to be inspired. It's like he reads my thoughts YEARS before I need them and puts them on a CD... JUST FOR ME! I swear! Even at one of his concerts lately, he came out into the audience, stood about 6 rows in front of me, and pointed to me just like he is doing in this picture, YES I WAS THE ONLY ONE HE POINTED TO, and sang "I wanna laaaayyy you down...on a bed of roses...I wanna be just as close as...the Holy Ghost is...and lay you doooooowwwwwnnnn....on a bed of roses". Yep, he sang it to me and only me.... and it was heavenly! (and Chris was a mighty happy man that night.....)

So, even though I've heard this song before, listening to it again made the lyrics ring true in my ears, and brought on a whole new meaning to me. You know how sometimes you can read a scripture verse from the Bible and it means one thing, and you can read it again a year later and it took on a whole new meaning? That's what this song did for me.

Here is the lyrics that I "heard and felt" this time...
"I've been pushed around
Been knocked down
Lost a round or three
Life took a couple of things I loved
When I was too blind to see


I gave up on luck but I'm still getting by
Yeah, I'm gonna be alright
You can test my faith
But you can't take my pride
Thorn in my side"

Jon Bon Jovi RAWKS!!!! (unfortunately, I can't add it to my playlist because it's not available on the stupid site I use)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ribbons and Toes...oh my....

So, it was WAY overdue time for a pedicure. Most of you who know me have seen my "usual"...the zebra print and hot pink paint job that Chandel hand paints every few weeks for me. Well, it was time for a change, and given the circumstances, I thought I'd find the humor in my new "diagnosis" and have fun with it....
Thank you Chandel, for once again making my toes pretty and making me happy. You ROCK!
She even added a little rhinestone to the top of the ribbon like the Susan G. Komen foundation has. I tell ya....she is the bestest pedicurist in the world!!

The gifts that keep on coming....

3.5 Years ago, I joined a birthboard on called "charting and infertility". I met a lovely group of women, and we all ended up pregnant after a certain amount of time. This is when I was trying to get pregnant with Grayson. We went through the whole temperature charting, OPK kits, and the whole 9 yards. I ended up getting pregnant after 6 months and the rest all followed (a few before me but had been trying much longer than before I joined.) So, we switched to a different board called "Pregnancy after charting" and have all stayed in touch via computer and Facebook. When I broke the news to them about the cancer, they schemed up a plan and contacted my sister, Dolly, who helped them come up with a gift. The day I got home from my port surgery, I had a box waiting for me on my front porch. I was surprised when I opened it and found a beautiful pink kimono robe and a wonderful book called "When God & Cancer meet". It meant so much to me that those girls cared enough about me, even though we've never met in person, to send me such a thoughtful, warm and loving gift. It is perfect! Just like everything else I've received, I teared up. The outpouring of love is just phenomenal! Michelle, Heather, Heather, Heather, Chris, Jenn, Olivia, Kate, Randi-Lee, Amanda and anyone else who I may have forgotten to personally mention....THANK YOU! Thank you for loving me, standing behind me and my treatment options and for being such genuine people! I love you!
(Also in this picture, modeled by my beautiful "just-woke-up-model" Kaylee is a "chemo-blanket" I received from South Winds baptist Church. (One of my friends from Sunday School has a mother that goes to that church and they all get together and make these for cancer patients) It is a gorgeous, soft, fluffy pink blanket with scripture verses quilted all over it. I took it with me to the port surgery and the nurse said everyone who came by during my recovery kept reading all the scriptures. I love it, and it is that gift that keeps on giving as I'll be able to share some of those verses with my "chemo-neighbors" during my treatments.)

Tuesday, I stopped by my rhinestone vendor to say Hello and show off my new hairdo. Candy has been my vendor of all my rhinestones since the day I started. She has been nothing but helpful in my learning process, and very patient with me. She told me that she picked up something for me and Kaylee on her trip to Dallas last weekend. I was almost in tears as I opened these beautiful matching breast cancer watches for us! We love them! I didn't have a watch that I liked, just some cheapy ones that I picked up here and there, so this is PERFECT! She also told me that my "Team Tiffany" shirts were "on the house". Pressing, screen printing, and even ordering the shirts for me with her normal order so I don't have to pay shipping. So, aside from paying for the blank shirt, the rest of the work is done for me! She is donating the services, and the materials, so that means that 90% of every shirt ordered goes directly towards my treatment! I would have never expected her to do that, nor could I have asked her to do that, but that's the type of person Candy is. She is thoughtful, caring, and always willing to help out a friend. She truly is "sweet as candy". Thank you Candy! (She has more watches, so if anyone wants one, email me and I'll put you in contact with her)
(Kaylee tells me what time it is every 5 minutes now....LOL)

Tuesdays SUCK for me!

Let's re-cap....Tuesday, June 29 is when I found my lump and knew my life was about to change, even if just for a little bit.

Tuesday, July 6 is when my Doctor called and said the dreaded words ... "You have Breast Cancer".

Tuesday, July 13 was when I was told my tumor is triple negative, which meant that I was in for hard core chemo and Herceptin was not an option. That's when I knew this disease in my body was stubborn, just like me.

Tuesday, July 20......I was hoping, praying and believing that good news would come! How could it not after the past 3 weeks? Right? Well, I went in to see my oncologist and left crying. First things one good piece of good news.....BRCA test showed that this is not genetic! Praise God! That means that I get to keep my ovaries and that my sisters don't have anything to worry about. Kaylee on the other hand, bless her heart, will have to start her yearly mammograms at 23. (10 yrs under the age that her mother got cancer). Also, my left breast is cancer free! (thanks Merci for the reminder!)

Now comes the bad news..... the PETscan showed a few lymph nodes by my lungs that were measuring hot. The PETscan machine measures the metabolic rate of the radiation breakdown. Now, this could be 3 different things....
1. Sarcoid. This is an auto immune disease that can look like cancer on the PET scan because they are hot nodes, but they can be treated with steroids.
2. Breast cancer or mastatic disease. This means that it has spread to these lymph nodes. The problem with this is that usually breast cancer spreads first to the armpit nodes on the side that is affected, and then to the mammary nodes and supraclavicular nodes next, and then to these nodes. Mine have not spread to the clavicle area, so the Dr is stumped. She doesn't know why it would have jumped over to those nodes. (the tumor is on the outside of my right breast and these nodes are on the inside of that breast by my lungs)
3. Some new sort of cancer. Lymphoma, or something else, but she didn't want to go into details.

She did say that my lungs, liver, bones and kidney were all OK, so it hasn't masticised as far as organs go.

But, I have to go in for YET another surgery. A Mediastinoscopy... A day procedure where they knock me out under heavy general anesthesia, make an incision in my neck and go downwards and remove the nodes and biopsy them.

What worries her is that these nodes are smaller than my tumor and nodes in my armpit, but WAY hotter than all of those.

So, I am waiting today to hear back from her office with my next surgery date. She wants it to be this week so she can have the results by next Tuesday....Yep....another Tuesday for results.

So, at this point, if it's Sarcoid, I am still a stage 3. If it is cancerous, either Breast cancer or some other sort, I am a stage 4.

Please God, can I just get ONE Tuesday with good results????? I'm beginning to want to sleep all the way through Tuesday and not wake up till Wednesday.

Of course, I have to try and find humor in all of's what gets me through. So, looking and looking for humor, and the only thing I can come up with is that I am stubborn, and so is my cancer. I think we should re-name this "Tiffany Cancer" and write a book about it because there are not too many cases out there like mine....go figure...I've always been "original". I never do anything "by the book".

Ta-Ta for now....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Team Tiffany shirts are now available to pre-order!

Just click the tab on top of the blog that says "SHOP" and you will go right into the store. Choose your options, and pay via paypal. It's that easy.

Womens shirts: Baseball tee, white with pink sleeves and available in 3/4 length or cap sleeve. Also available in fitted or non-fitted. Fitted shirts run one size small, so unless you like them super tight, go up one size. If you like them to fit, but not hug, go up 2 sizes or go with a regular fit shirt. RHINESTONES ON FRONT AND BACK

Girls shirts: Baseball tee, white with pink cap sleeves. Available in Sm, Md, Lg only. These are from Bella, and run a bit on the small size. (Kaylee's been wearing a size M (8-10) since she was 5, and she is tall and skinny) Order one size up, and for Girls Lg: to go up one size, go to womens Small.

Mens shirts are available in regular tee or Organic tee. The organic tee's are a bit softer, 100% organic cotton and both kinds are pre-shrunk. Both fit normal, like any tee shirt you'd buy in the store.

I have to order the mens shirts in increments of 24, so as I get to 24, I will place the order so allow a little extra time to yours. Womens and girls shirts normally will be a 2 week turnaround, depending on treatment scheduling, and how much help I can get to press them.

Thanks for your orders!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I got "Wired Up" today....

I got my port "installed" today. (no screws, just sutures)

The surgery went fine. Dr Sutton said the catherter went right in directly to the vein it needed to go in, so FOR ONCE MY BODY AND THIS STUPID TUMOR WEREN'T STUBBORN!!!!

The stupid tech that was inserting my IV almost got slapped into next week....luckily for her, she was putting it in my left hand and that's my strong slapping hand. She blew out 2 veins and finally with tears rolling down my eyes from the pain, I requested a new technician who amazingly got it in on the first try....go figure! Ugh...that's only happened twice in 9 times of me having an IV and both times, I never saw that nurse/technician again after that.

So, besides a big bruise on my left hand, and a little bump sticking out of my collarbone, I am doing OK. The port area is a little tender, and it hurts if I touch it, but I imagine that will go away in a few days. Pink killers ease the pain a little bit, so I'm good.

The kids are staying the night at various houses tonight, so I get a little break. I'll get to sleep in tomorrow since Chris will be at work early and NO KIDS! Heck, I might just sleep till noon when I have to get up and shower for my oncologist appt.

Well, I need to get some rest in while I can....

Ta-Ta for now..

MD Anderson....HERE I COME!!!

So, my garage sale Saturday was truckin' along when my phone rang and I didn't recognize the number. I decided to answer it and it was Colleen! (a little background, Colleen is the best friend of my wonderful sister-in-law Kay, and she sells medical equipment, specifically ultrasound machines, so she has LOTS of connections with different hospitals. Not to mention, her hubby is currently awaiting a kidney transplant by the end of the year, and is busy seeking out donors. See their story here) So, when she called... even with everything else she has going on, I was none the less, flabbergasted! Especially when she told me "I got you into MD Anderson!"

Originally, when I called MDA they said they were shorthanded surgeons and because of my age and stage they didn't want me to wait till the end of August to get in, and to go ahead and start treatments with my current surgeon, if I like him. Well, I do like him, but he's not at MDA and that's just where I want to be! If I get a headache, I take Tylenol. If I give birth, I get an epidural. So, you get go to MDA...ESPECIALLY if you live in TX. It's a no-brainer, but that idea was shot to pieces when she told me that they were short handed.

So, upon hearing this news, it was all I could do to keep my feet on the ground and not jump up and down like an overly-excited 6 yr old girl who gets to have a sleepover with her BFF! My boob was hurting a little bit that day, so jumping was out of the question...

But, excited I was!!! So, I called this morning to make my appt and I don't have a specific date yet, but once I get all my 12,369 pieces of paperwork in hand that they need, I can call them back for an appt. It's supposed to be somewhere around August 5th or 6th when the Dr returns from vacation. But, in the meantime, I have to call all 6 places where I've been seen, touched, examined, or had a test and get every piece of documentation (films, slides, Dr notes, reports, etc) and drop them all off at MDA. This should prove to be really really fun considering my kids NEVER need anything till I get on the phone, it takes you 27 minutes and 36 seconds just to get a live person on the phone at most places, and don't forget..."you know have to press 1 for ENGLISH". So, hopefully in the next 2 weeks, I can get all the phone calls made that I need to make, and get all the reports I need, and go around and pick them up, because I don't have a fax machine (and Chris' is community fax at work so they won't fax it to him).

Oh, and MDA informed me today that the cost for reading my slides (that have already been read once) is $250-$2,500 and may or may not be covered under my insurance. Really, could you narrow it down anymore? That's quite a add that on my list of phone calls too...Ugh

I need a personal assistant....HAHAHA

Well, I'm excited, but I gotta get to sleep.

Thank you so much Colleen! I cannot find the words to thank you enough! I love you and your beautiful family!!! You are such a special lady and your heart is one of the biggest in the world and you've proven that time after time.

Ta-Ta for now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Non-Lethal Lolita....

When I walked into the hair salon Thursday, my other friend Krissy was there and said she had a gift for me in her car. She knows me all too well. My first Lolita glass! I've been wanting one for quite some time, but couldn't pick exactly which one I wanted. So, this was the perfect one for me! I am an Appletini fan (when I'm giving Jagermeister and/or beer a break) so I think the mixture of a green appletini and the pink ribbon will make such a cute combo! Don't you? Oh, did you notice the rhinestones at the bottom???? Thank you Krissy!!!! I love love love it!!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Out with the old.... in with the BOLD

So, I have THE best hair stylist in the world, or at least I think so. Maybe I'm partial because she's one of my best friends, but she's really good. So Joyce called me the other day and said "Tiffany, if you've ever wanted to do something wild and crazy with your hair, now is the time to do it...since you won't have it much longer" and I was thinking almost the EXACT same thing at that EXACT same moment she called. I was thinking "hot pink hair would be really cool right now". So, last night, she stayed late at the salon and I gave her "stylist creativity" and she and I both had a blast! Lots of hair was bleached, then colored, then cut and put in a pretty pile on the floor. I snapped a quick picture with my iPhone and it was seriously enough to make a wig...except it wasn't that long...

So, here it is..... unveiled.... hot pink hi-lights and a short do!!!!!!

So, there you have it. My new Do until my Do-rag (blingy bandana) is needed.
I'm loving it so far!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

If you have Faith.....

I did some retail therapy today after my PET scan. I found a HUGE box of thank you notes on sale, (because it was missing one) and I thought they were cute, and ya know....I'll be needing them for a while. In fact, I'm sure I'll go through quite a few boxes of Thank you notes.

Yesterday, 2 of my friends stopped by to chit chat, visit, and see my house since they've never been here before. Deane' brought me a BEAUTIFUL planner. It's a Vera Bradley, and of course....I love black and white patterns! I've already transfered all of July into it. This thing goes through December 2011 which will get me through all my treatments.

It's small enough to fit in my purse, and yet big enough to hold all my appointments. I LOVE it!
She also brought me a beautiful angel desk decoration. Inside the angel it says "If you have Faith, you have Hope. If you have Hope, you have everything". What an awesome saying! Words to remember!
Thank you Deane'!


Well, today was my PET scan. I'm not sure exactly what PET stands for, but I didn't come out of the machine as a dog or a cat, so I must be OK, right?

It wasn't that bad. Actually, it was quite pleasant. I got stuck with yet another needle, that was the only annoying part. But the tech did a great job, I didn't feel it and it was over quickly. (This coming from the girl who's had 3 kids, 3 nasal surgeries, been tattooed 8 times and once had a tongue piercing and still gets nervous over blood draws...go figure) Then, I got to lay in a nice comfy recliner under a warm blanket IN THE QUIET and sleep for 45 minutes. The tech then came in, woke me up pleasantly and softly, very much unlike the brutal awakening I get most mornings by my 3 adorable children, and led me to the PET scan machine. I got to relax in a moving bed! Oh yeah! It moved back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth while it was taking pictures of my full internal organs checking for any other affected areas. That lasted about 20 minutes, and then I got a yummy bag of nuts! I am being totally serious! They are made exclusively for the imaging facility, but it was a mixture of "C-blend" nuts, dried pineapple and apples, and just the right amount of raisins to give it that sweet crunchy taste. YUM! Maybe I enjoyed it a little too much, but after 14 hours of fasting for this test, they sure did taste delicious!

Then, I did some retail therapy ALONE and picked up a few much needed things. Do you know how long it's been since I've gone shopping BY MYSELF?? I can't even remember.....

I get my results from this PET scan Tuesday when I meet with my oncologist again.

Prayer requests for this week:
1. PET scan comes back with no other affected places, otherwise I move to Stage 4. So, pray with me for NEGATIVE results on that test.
2. MRI results will also be in Tuesday. We know that 5 lymph nodes are enlarged, but it scanned for any more, so pray with us that it is only the 5 we know about and nothing more. If I move past 9 lymph nodes, I also move to a Stage 4. So, pray for NORMAL results on that test.
3. BRCA results will be in Tuesday as well. This tested to see if a gene is involved in my Breast Cancer. If it is positive, then that means they will most likely want to remove my ovaries as well, to err on the side of caution. (I really don't care, I am not using them anymore, but I'd like to keep a little bit of my insides in tact....) It also means that my sisters, aunts, and daughter will need to start their mammograms early. Kaylee will already have to start at age 23, regardless, since they recommend 10 yrs under the age that the mother got diagnosed. But, hopefully by the time she gets boobies, there will be a cure anyways!

So, that's it for now. Thank you Merci for entertaining Brayden today. Thank you Mom for watching my Grayson at the drop of a hat. Thank you Dianna for taking Kaylee to VBS all week for me, entertaining her, and feeding her.

I love my support system! They're the best! (Even the ones who I haven't called on yet.)

Ta-Ta for now....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When I do something, I do it BIG.......

So, I got my results from the HER2 test back today. It was negative. If it was positive, I would have been able to use Herpectin, which is the softer chemo. But now, looks like my chemo treatment will leave me without hair a little longer than expected.

My tumor is now considered a "triple negative aggressive tumor" which I was told "DO NOT LOOK THIS UP ON THE INTERNET!" So, I'll refrain, which will take every inch of willpower in my body, considering I am the Queen of Google.

My Dr is in surgery today, so the results are being faxed to Dr Crow (the oncologist I don't really care for and I'm trying to switch) and she will tell me exactly what that means.

I just know it sucks. It probably means I will have to fight a little bit harder, but I can do it. I am prepared.

Ta-Ta for now.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Poker Hand

I am comparing my current battle to a poker game. (Let me clarify that I'm not allowed to play poker with the boys anymore because I always win) I have said to numerous people "you can't complain about the cards you're dealt, you just gotta play them." This is so true in my case. Sure, I would have loved to have a Royal flush dealt to me, but instead, I have 4 Aces. Their names are Chris, Kaylee, Brayden and Grayson. I cannot fold with a hand like that! Sure, there may be a higher hand of cards out there, but I'm gonna stay in till the end to play those cards. Especially when my high card is the King!!!!

Ta-Ta for now......

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My blog title...

Ok, for those of you who think "ASS" is a bad word, let me clarify why I used that word instead of butt in my blog title.

When I was little (back to the whole southern baptist post and my parent's sheltering) we were not allowed to say even PG rated cusswords. Butt, Fart, etc. So, my crazy mom made us say "Hiney" or "bum" and for a fart.......we had to say "Fluffy". I'm being totally serious!!! Stop laughing! Really.....stop laughing! Sorry mom, nothing about a big juicy fart screams "fluffy" unless you refer to the toxic green cloud emmitted from the "bum". So, I have put my cusswords into categories for me and my children:

PG rated- butt, fart, darn, poop, tallywacker, poonyhat. (My daughter, the firstborn was the one who came up with those nicknames and the last one is the name for girlie bits in case you were wondering)

PG 13rated (the kids aren't allowed to say these till they are over 15)- Ass, Crap, Shit, Piss, Damn- they will rarely hear us say these words in front of them

R rated- the F word, the P word (girliebits), the B word (female dog). I don't allow these in my house or around my kids. We as adults very rarely even use these words. The kids won't be allowed to say them until they are over 18, have completed highschool, and preferably not around me....

So, when I was coming up with my blog title I thought to myself "I'm gonna kick this things butt" but it just didn't pack enough of a punch to sound threatening to me. A picture from the movie "The Christmas Story" popped into my head where someone's glasses got Ass just sounded meaner, stronger, and more like ggggggrrrrr ya know?

I can just picture a wimpy kid or someone raised very very Christian like saying to the playground bully "I'm gonna kick your butt" in a little weenie voice and the whole gang laughing at him. But if you say "I'm gonna kick your ASS" and stretch out the word AAASSSS, say it loud, strong and immediately put up your dukes....that playground bully is likely gonna take off running the other way. Put in a little head bob DIVA-like jiggle thing if you are a girl and that should do it!

So, that's why I used the word ASS instead of BUTT. I am growling at the Devil. I am putting up my pink boxing gloves. I am ready for this fight! I am going to kick his ever loving ASS back to hell where he came from......

....and I'm totally OK saying that word when it means I'm gonna KICK ASS!!!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Boobies, Second Base, Ta-Ta's, Chi-Chi's and more...

I was drawing a blank as to what to title this post, because it's basically a blah blah blah post....

Today was yet another Dr visit. I went and met with the oncologist, Dr Crow. She seemed nice, but didn't have all the information she needs yet. We are still waiting on the HER2 results (now they say Monday or Tuesday) to determine if Herpectin can be used. My MRI is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Between those and my PETscan next week, they will be able to determine if I am still a stage 3 or if I move to stage that's what you can pray with me about between now and then.

Today I got stuck with a needle and they drew 5 vials (thank you veins for cooperating! Usually 2-3 is the limit in my veins before they run dry and I have to continue in the other arm). Had to pee in a cup 5 minutes after I had already gone....LOVE it when that happens... and I got groped, yet again, by someone who was not my husband. Her exact words.... "come on, lift up your shirt and show me those girls". So......that's why the new song is on my blog today. I was thinking to myself "It's a damn good thing you're a Dr and not trying to pick me up at a bar because I'm quite sure I would slap you after that comment...." MEN- promise me that you will never ever use that as a pick up line, please!!!! LOL

A few funny things to share... One of my friends sent me a FB message and said "do you think it's weird that I think of you and then remember to feel myself up?" I laughed out loud and then replied with a famous line from CARS where Lightening McQueen says "I create feelings in people that they themselves didn't know existed". So, have you thought of me and felt yourself up lately??? I hope so!

There was a status update going around FB that said "put this as your status if you or someone you know has been affected by cancer. Here's hoping for a cure in 2010" and it had little hearts in between each word (which I have no idea how to do except to cut and paste) so I posted it as my status, and in the past 12 hours, 26 of my friends on FB have also posted it as their status in my honor. I was totally touched and almost shed a tear. I am still daily amazed by the outpouring of love and support I have.

I found a screenprinter to do my Team Tiffany shirts for guys, so they aren't forced to wear rhinestones in my honor (even though one guy already said he would for me...haha). So, I'm working on a cool tattoo font and something that involves a set of boobs on the front of the know...manly shirt...with can't go wrong. HAHA. Hopefully the artwork can be finished early next week and I'll post pictures and figure out how to do an order thingy on the side of the blog.

My sister Dolly made these cute yard ribbons on a stake also. I'll include a picture of those also when I figure out the order shopping cart thingy.

These expenses are gonna rack up fast....even with insurance and our extra cancer policy, we will still have quite the credit card bill afterwards, so I'll do what I can to cut corners in some areas of our bills without taking away my kids outlets (dance and sports). I know God will provide everything for us, but we really have to do our part and watch our spending and make sure that no one is being over paid, or double paid. It's a good thing I'm a planner/organizer so I can keep track of all this. One thing I know will save me money.....I don't have to have my hair cut and dyed for quite some time.....that should save a little. Right??? Unfortunately, my wig is not covered under insurance, and I'm clueless as to what they cost. I guess I'll start that research tonight. I start chemo around the 20th, so I have until August 8 to buy one. Also, I think you lose ALL your hair, not just the hair on your head, so that's quite a bit in razor and shaving cream expenses for 6 months of not shaving these giraffe legs of mine! (I am referring to the length of them, NOT the width of them....or I would've chosen an elephant or something......just kidding). Thankfully, being the planner that I am, I had already purchased all the kids school clothes and backpacks, purchased their school supplies through the PTO so all that's left is lunchboxes and new shoes and they are set. We have a garage sale ready to go, we just need a free weekend and we'll make quite a bit. We are totally cleaning house and getting rid of a TON of furniture, so it's high dollar garage sale items, (not candles and vases stuff) and since we keep our stuff in pretty nice condition, I'm hoping we can make a little chunk to help out. Plus, I have a few people interested in my rhinestone business I am selling, so that should help some too. OK, sorry, I was trying to get to a point and got sidetracked with my mental check off list of things to buy/not buy, to do, and bills....oops. That's like when I get on the computer to do something important and I somehow, unbeknownst to me, magically end up on Facebook and 3 hours later I can't remember what I was on the computer for to start with. Gosh, I hate it when that happens.

I was on the phone with our insurance company for over an hour today, 4 different times and got 4 different pieces of information before I finally got the 5th person who knew what he was talking about(ironically, his name was Chris...I think all Chris' are smart by nature). GGgrrrrr, I can't complain much because they do pay well, but man, I feel like asking the person on the other end of the line... "did you go to school? Did you graduate? Do you know how to read? Do you know how to ask for help if you don't know the answer? Do you realize that when people call to inquire about what gets paid during cancer treatment, they may have JUST been diagnosed with cancer and are a little bit emotional and confused and don't really know what to ask?" Yeah, then I'll give them my group number.....ugh. Ok, that's my only complaint so far. Stay positive, Tiffany...stay positive! Ok, I'm done complaining.

As a pround mommy, I know some of you can I am typing this crap about my insurance "helpers" I got today.... Grayson brought me his potty.....with poopy!!! Don't worry, I'm not gonna pull a Kate Gosselin and take a picture of it...but this is his FIRST poopy in the potty by himself, and he didn't even tell me he had to go!!! Man, if he does it one more time by himself, can I say he is officially potty trained? He just turned 2 a few weeks ago, so that's quite an accomplishment (for a boy)!!!

Ok, and one more funny story and then I'm done.... here is my conversation 5 minutes ago with Brayden (my nearly five year old, as he says)

Brayden: "Mommy, how come you're gonna lose a boob and your hair?"
Me: "Because Mommys boob is sick and that's part of what happens when you get better"
Brayden: "But, I don't want you to look silly when we go in puvlic and you're bald" (yes, I spelled that the way he says it, just like the sandwich shop Suvway)
Me: "It's OK Brayden, I will wear a wig....(confused look) some fake hair on my head so no one will know I'm bald, or I will wear a cute hat"
Brayden: "Mommy, don't you know you have to water your hair and it will grow back? (ding..light bulb above head) Yeah.... lets plant some flowers on your head and water it and you'll have flower hair"

...and he took off into the playroom laughing an evil laugh....

....should I be scared????


Thursday, July 8, 2010

So, it's STAGE 3 !!! Yikes!

I had only planned on stage 2, at the worst....stage 3 caught me by surprise. The size and grade of my tumor makes it a stage 2 diagnosis. But, then we get to the enlarged lymph nodes. If only 4 had been enlarged, I would be a stage 2...BUT...dern that extra enlarged lymph node...I have 5, so that makes it stage 3 cancer. It's considered class A out of the A,B and C classes because I'm just barely over the lymph node marker. Now, we are still waiting on my PET scan to be scheduled, but as long as it hasn't spread to anywhere else, and as long as no more than 9 lymph nodes are enlarged, I get to stay at stage 3...YAY!!! I am believing that those results will come back normal. So, I look at it as a "barely 3" diagnosis.... that's like pulling a low B in school....right? Yeah, we'll go with that.

So, here is my plan of treatment:
I meet with the oncologist Friday morning, I go Saturday for my MRI of the breast. Next week I have to have a PET scan done and I will get my port installed.

.....funny story about this port.... he showed me what it looked like. He pulled out something that resembled a flat piece of metal with a circle attached to the top. Well, in each corner of the flat piece was a hole. It seriously looked like it was about to be screwed to the wall, like something you buy at The Home Depot. So I said to him "please tell me those are not screw holes". Chris, Merci, Melissa and the Doc all started to laugh at me....I was totally serious...what else are those holes for? Apparently....stitches. Yeah, that makes WAY more sense considering that I would have needed Molly bolts inserted first if that thing was gonna get screwed in me! Dr Sutton said "in all my years of practice, I have never once been asked that question"...yeah...glad I could give you a laugh (but I was serious!)

Ok, back to the treatment... the following week after the port is inserted, I start chemo. Yep, the dreaded hair loss. (backup plan already taken care of though) I will start to lose my hair on day 17 after the first dose. So, day 16, I am getting shaved. I am serious! I HATE finding hair in my shower, tub, pillow, and floor. My hair is currently down to my shoulders almost, so that's a lot of hair to be finding. Plus, I don't want to walk around for a few days looking like the Barbie that the dog or older mean brother got a hold of with chunks of hair missing. So, chemo will be 12 weeks long and I will go once every 21 days. At that point, I get another MRI. If they see that the tumor is responding to Chemo, then I continue another 12 weeks. If not, then they go ahead and do the mastectomy 21 days after the last dose and resume chemo after recovery. If it's shrinking or dying off, then they will let me finish the second round of chemo (which would mean a total of 24 weeks) and then do the mastectomy 21 days after that last dose. So, I lose my right Booby in either 15 weeks or 27 weeks, depending on how chemo goes. Then, I get to walk around with 1 booby for the next 6 months, BUT my hair will start coming back in.

After I am fully recovered and the chemo is nearing the end, I start radiation. That is about a 6 week process of daily visits, boredom, and lots of reading time. Once I get the all clear and I am cancer free they will start my reconstruction process which should be about this time next year. At that time, I have opted to have all my tissue removed from the other boob as well and 2 nice juicy implants. Heck, I wanted new boobs anyways, just didn't want all this other junk, and guess what.....that cancer policy I told you we bought "just in case"...they pay for the reconstructive part too!! So, I get FREE juicy boobies! (someone needs to create a gummy boob (like a gummy bear) called juicy boobies....Amy C, you should work on that!)

Now, as for my option to have the other one is my theory...I don't want to go through all this crap all over again. The odds of it re-occurring or moving to the other breast in 5 years is 2-3 %, the odds of it in 10 years is 6-7% and the odds of it in 25 years is 20%. Now, normally 20% is pretty good odds, medically speaking, but considering that I will only be 58 at that time....I am not willing to take that chance. HHHmmmmm, lets see...only 5% of women in the age bracket of 20-35 even GET breast I am. Only 2% of infants are born with non-hereditary Craniosynostosis....we got that! So, I'm more willing to play the lottery at this moment with those odds than take a chance of being under 60yrs old and having it come back. So, just thought I'd clarify my decision on that one. The Dr does not recommend it because 20% is not that high of odds, but for ME....20% is super high considering our "luck factor" or whatever you want to call it. He supports my decision either way, but it was not his recommendation but understood completely about the odds and my age.

OK- so a few more medical jargon notes I should put in here... my tumor tested negative for being able to use hormone or estrogen blocking drugs. It is not affected by those, so we can't even go that route. That's why they are sending me straight to chemo. Now, there is one more test that we are waiting on results to come back on and it's called HER2 test. The HER2 gene sits on the cell surface and controls what goes on inside the cell. If it's negative then it's normal and the chemo path with Herceptin would not work. If it's Positive (which in this test you WANT to be tested positive) then herceptin can be used. Herceptin is a nicer chemo. I will still loose my hair because I have to have normal chemo for the first 12-24 weeks, but on herceptin, you don't lose any hair, so if we can continue on herceptin once my initial 24 weeks are done, my hair will start growing back. Yippee! If this HER2 test comes back negative, then my tumor is considered a triple negative tumor, which means it's MEAN and AGGRESIVE and doesn't want to budge! It also increases the likelihood that it will take much more to be "cured" (without prayer, but we have prayer, so I think we can do that too, regardless!).

So, I don't know my odds of survival, I don't know my odds of re-occurence, and I don't know if this was genetic or just because someone from down under thought I needed something else added to my plate. I won't know until the PET scan is done and those HER2 results come back.

So, PRAY FOR A POSITIVE RESULT ON THAT! I should have those results back Friday or Monday.

As for me and how I am feeling....since I've heard that so many times today.... I am totally fine! I am in good spirits, I am happy, I am positive, and I appear fearless! I have no choice. I have to win this battle, which means that I have to go in with NO FEAR! I've already gone through all that, and now I'm just ready to kick Cancers ASS and show it that it picked the WRONG person.

As for Chris....he is shopping for a new TV online to keep himself busy. He has re-arranged the living room, and cleaned the entire house because he doesn't like to talk about it and... he's a man. Deep down, I think he is more scared than I am. I cry, he gets quiet. That's how we roll. We do talk about it, but we try to not look into the future...we focus only on today, what we know today, and we don't talk "what-ifs". We have the rest of our lives together, and we are making the best of every day we wake up next to each other. ;-)

As for the kids- the boys are still oblivious and probably won't know anything is even going on until I come home from Ju-Ju's shop bald. Then, maybe they will ask a question, but until then....innocence and not knowing is bliss! Kaylee is doing fine. She is confused how I'm gonna only have 1 boob and no hair, and wants to know how they give me another boob later...who knows what she is thinking. Chris probably told her it is a water balloon....knowing his sense of humor but she is probably thinking that they take one from someone else (probably a dead person) and sew it on me... eeewwww.

As for all my friends- please keep in mind that I will wear baggy shirts, get a falsie for my bra for 6 months, and I will wear my wig if you want me to. I am not going to embarass anyone by walking around in public bald or with a tanktop and no bra....well....maybe if we go to Walmart....HAHAHA We don't have to talk about this Tabboo subject, or we's completely up to you.

Finally- as for all the offers of people to watch the kids, play with the kids, cook us meals, drive me here and there....THANK YOU!!! I will get with those volunteers when I know my schedule and what days I will be having treatments, etc.

So, to wrap up...YES, the diagnosis is a tad bit worse than what I had prepared for, but I have not shed one tear over it. I am happy, in a good mood, and reassuring my sister that there is no need to cry....YES it sucks....YES it's not fair, but that was how the cards were dealt, and I have to play the hand that I was dealt whether I want to or not.... YES, I still have good odds of beating it with my army around me! YES, I will have a tougher road, but I will make it! I'm a fighter, and I don't back down!

so.....cheers, love and hugs, and Ta-Ta for now!

My Faith, My Purpose

I get a little talkative when something is on my mind that is of this magnitude so I apologize in advance for the lengthy post....

I want to share my story with you. I know most of you, but some are complete strangers who have been compelled to read my blog for the title, or because a friend forwarded them my link, etc. But, I still have to be careful on a public blog because I know there are some crazies out there....You know those crazy people your mom warned you about? Well, for that reason, I won't divulge too much information, just a little background...

I come from a family of many many kids. Think about the Duggars and half their # of kids.... that's what I grew up with. Very Christian parents, very sheltered (you know, from those crazies I mentioned..) very poor, and we went to church every time the doors opened. We were Southern Baptist, we were Assembly of God, we were Non-Denominational, we were whatever God called us to be. Then, I was anti-church for many years. I didn't like the fakeness involved in so many people and religions. Lets face it, I drink occassionally, I smoked for many years off and on, and I have done things that I'm not proud of. Sure, who hasn't, but I wasn't about to go to church on Sunday and raise my hands, and sing songs, and be all like "glory, glory, hallelujah, amen" when I was out the night before. Ya know? That's not me. I'm not fake. I am real! So, if I woke up Sunday morning and was hung over, I skipped church. If I was too tired, I skipped. If I had other plans (you know...a pool party, or a day shopping, or pretty much anything else....) I skipped.

So, once I got married, things changed. I married a "non-believer!" (gasp). I had faith that he would accept Jesus as his saviour in due time, but I didn't want that to be a reason for our marriage to happen or not happen. I've never been one for ultimatums so "become a Christian or we can't marry" was not a question. Well, about 2 years into our marriage, he made the decision. Boy, was I excited. So, now we are completely yolked, and everything is complete. Right? Well, except one problem....I still was turned off by Church. So, we didn't go. We did yardwork, we went shopping, we did anything we wanted to. My faith started to fade slowly, but we were having fun living and just being. We were "non-practicing, non-fellowshipping" Christians.

Fast forward 5 yrs.... we had 3 kids now, we had moved to a new small country town and things were great. We had talked about finding a church home, but just never found time to go looking. Well, my last child, my sweet baby boy, was born with a serious birth defect. He had something called Craniosynostosis. So, I did lots of research, prepared myself, scheduled all his Dr visits, and scheduled his surgery. He had surgery at 7 weeks old and was in the healing process for about 2 months after that. Lots of Dr visits, helmet therapy, check-ups, etc kept us busy until the end of 2008. So, we made the commitment that January 2009 we would find a church home. We did. Slowly but surely, I started to re-gain my commitment to God. His surgery really tested my faith. I had lots of "what-ifs" and "how comes" and "why him" questions. I was angry, not at God, just at this defect in general and what it was doing to us. So, I had to rely on faith to get us through that hurdle. I also had to rely a lot on God, my faith in God, my faith in Scripture, and I prayed everyday that he would get through surgery and recovery easy. He did. Throughout the whole experience with him, I can tell you what I learned. I learned not to take my kids for granted, enjoy the crying and whining and fighting that they do and I learned that I was strong. I never would use that trait to describe myself, but people told me how strong I was all the time, so I began to see for myself what they were talking about. The most important thing I learned through it all was how much I love my husband and how wonderful he is. Our marriage was in a weird place. Not talking about the big "D" word, just weird. We were rarely intimate, I took him for granted, I wasn't positive in my words towards him and we were fighting more than usual. We hardly ever fight, and to just say that we fought once every other month was WAY out of the ordinary for us. One of our strongest features in our marriage is our communication (oddly enough, if you know my husband...but it is) and our compromise skills and I felt that we were losing that. So, let me just say.....after surgery, after recovery and once we were able to live our lives again without having such a heavy heart.....I FELL IN LOVE ALL OVER AGAIN WITH A HOT PIECE OF ASS!!! I found him so super sexy, so hot, so irresistable, etc... I'll spare details for my siblings sake. ;-) So, that's what my baby boys purpose save our marriage. I thank God everyday now for bringing him into my life and for providing me with the bestest husband ever.

So, we've been enjoying life lately. We've been living, and we've once again found other things to do on Sundays. (hand slap....I know)

I think we've only been to church a handful of times since New Years.

So, just as I'm starting to feel guilty about not going, starting to miss the friends I've made there, and starting to want to make it a priority again....BAM...I find my tumor. I'm wondering why me, why so young, what the hell? So, once again, my faith is being tested....only this time, I'm not angry. I was about a week ago, but I've gotten through all the tears, all the fears and all the shock. I'm totally fine now and ready to kick ass. We've resumed our church schedule again.

My lesson in all of this that I will learn... is this:
1. My purpose in life is to be a Mommy. No one is going to rob me of this. I HAVE to be around for my 3 young kiddos for at least 30+ years... Apparently Satan did not get the memo that he is jacking with the wrong person! I am stubborn (or at least I've been told), I am hard-headed (so I've been told) and I don't back down from a fight. This is no different. I will fight and fight and fight. I will not complain. I will not question God or anyone else. I will never show my fear around my children, and I will not be upset when I am bald and boob-less! (As my sweet cousin Russell told me today "Your beauty is not on your head, you will still be beautiful") Chris has already said he is shaving his head when I do and I already have awesome friends who offered to make a girl day, go have lunch and go try on wigs together. Sure, I'll get one...for other people's sake, and for special occassions but I'm also really looking forward to rocking it out Bret Michaels Style with a blinged out biker bandana and a cute hat! Besides, wigs can get hot sometimes and in Texas...we wear as little as possible on hot days. Right? or should I say "Can I get an Amen?" But I will definitely feel more comfortable in church with a wig than with a rocker bandana.... so I'm excited for that playdate! (Thanks Ju-Ju, Fee-Fee and Boobs Johnson)

2. If nothing else comes out of this, I will change at least one person's life! I will minister to at least one person, or touch someone who has a heavy heart. That's my go ahead and send my blog address out to anyone you know. I want to see my followers counts go up! I love to write, it's therapuetic for me, and I'll get to post silly pictures of me wearing silly wigs or silly hats. You all get to giggle at my silliness and we all need a good giggle once in a while.

Cancer has not gotten a hold of me.....I have the hold on IT!!! I will be here forever to fight, and I WILL WIN! I have too much faith, too much support, too many prayers and too many people on my side to be defeated. I have an army full of soldiers ready to open fire on this enemy!!!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Calls, Calls, Calls....

I think I have made 12 phone calls today. My hand is cramping from writing everything down. I'm keeping a notebook of everyone I talk to, what my questions were, and the answers. This is making me think too much. I don't like using my brain when I'm tired.

Tired.....ugh. That's an understatement. Leave it to me to be the only person in the world that Ambien doesn't work on. I take it, and I lay in bed for 2-3 hours while my mind is still spinning and consumed with all the tasks I need to accomplish the next day. Things that I have to take care of in order to have all my ducks in a row. Of course, my 3 lovely children ALWAYS get up before 7:30, and this morning I was brutally awakened by a 2 yr old who came in my room to tell me "poop...poop mommy". So, I sprang out of bed, ran him to his room, quickly checked to make sure he hadn't already pooped, yanked down his pants and placed him on his froggy potty. Pee....not poop. I apparently haven't explained the difference in my many times of asking "do you need to go potty?". So, whew, sigh of relief that I didn't have a huge mess to clean up while my bladder was calling out for me to go potty. I'm so thankful this is the last kid to potty train.

So, I called my credit card company to let them know to be expecting lots of medical charges in the upcoming months so they wouldn't call me to verify I hadn't lost my card. (I love that they do that, but it gets annoying) Called on our cancer insurance policy to start the paperwork so I can start getting reimbursed. I just have to say, God was looking out for me when he sent that salesman to my door 6 yrs ago. Who goes out and hunts cancer insurance? Certainly not me. I didn't even know it existed, but I'm sooooo thankful that we have it. It sure will help financially with this battle. Called multiple doctors, asked multiple questions, left multiple messages. At the moment, I'm dealing with 3 different Drs and the breast center. I know those numbers will be increasing, hence the notebook to keep it all straight. I'm bad about remembering names anyways, so this will help a little. I already feel like I've lost my mind trying to keep up with 3 kiddos, schedules, play dates, swim lessons, etc... Now I gotta keep all this straight. I'm thankful that I had bought a desk calendar a few months back (for business reasons) and I'll be putting that to use jotting down which treatments on which days, phone calls to make, whose taking kids off my hands for a few hours, who is coming to vacuum, laundry, etc...

I am overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received. The amount of offers of help with the kids, dinners, and chores from my friends. Even people who I haven't stayed in touch with over the past few years have come forward when they heard the news. It's all so wonderful, much appreciated, and I will be putting lots of helpers to use, I am sure. For now, I am laying low, still absorbing everything, and trying to keep my mind occupied with non-cancer stuff.

Really bummed that I have to bail on our yearly adult river trip this weekend. I was sooo looking forward to the adult time, floating down the river in a toob, (our theme this year was "boobs and toobs" which was intended for a totally different purpose but it took on a new meaning for me) drinking a few adult beverages and watching my friends do things that "stay at the river"....hehe. But, maybe I will have something to look forward for next year.

Well, I have kids begging me to take them outside to play, so I better get up and happily oblige. I would do anything for those kids, even if it means watching them ride their scooters or ride a bike. They are my life, my heart, my soul and my everything!

"God, I will praise you in this storm" (Casting Crowns)

Enjoy the music.....


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

OK...time to kick ass!

So, now that I've had some time to process all the information, I am flooded with tons of questions. My Facebook family has been pouring out the love. Not only on my page, but on their own also. That means sooo much to me. My mom has sent me probably 5 emails with links to Dodie Osteen's story, scripture verses, and encouragement, as well as "cancer-friendly foods". Gotta love my little cheerleader. My church family has been great. Milt already called moments after the email went out and prayed with me/for me. All of my "family" (not necessarily all blood family, but my TRUE family...some related and some not) has been so uplifting.

We've told Kaylee portions of it. She is such a worry wart, and I don't want her worrying about me, even though that's hard to do. I'll worry plenty enough for both of us. We told her that Mommy's boobs are sick, and they will probably want to remove them and give me new boobs. (that is one positive thing in this all...I wanted a boob job, just not this way...but at least it's mostly paid for...) I told her I may have to have a treatment that might make all my hair fall out, but that I would be rocking a blinged out scarf, doo-rag, etc or a cute hat. This upset her more than anything because she didn't want me to lose my hair. I told her that I would be willing to lose my hair if it meant I could get better faster for her. I told her my other treatment might make me tired, so I'll be sleeping a lot. I told her only what I knew her 7 yr old mind could process without giving her too much information. But, she sensed something was wrong and when she caught me crying my 4 tears this morning, she asked if the results were good or bad.

We aren't telling the boys anything yet. They are too young and totally obvlious to anything going on. Brayden's just being Brayden, and Grayson is too worried about pee-ing in the potty so he can have his jelly beans. (As I'm typing this post, he brought me his potty full of pee and said "bean-bean peeeese". That's a HUGE accomplishment for him that he went ALL BY HIMSELF for the first time without us telling him to go)

Anyways, thank you everyone who has been and is continuing to pray for me. My phone died at 11am from all the phone calls, texts, and FB posts. Had to recharge! I am keeping my spirits up, and trying not to give myself a pity party, but instead, take things one step at a time. I would thank everyone individually, but honestly, this post would turn into 4 pages long naming off please know....I LOVE YOU ALL FOR THE SUPPORT! I've even had quite a few people want rhinestone tees with "Team Tiffany" on I'll work on that design in my free time and let you all know when they are available. ;-)

I will end with some positive quotes that have been shared with me, and a few "words of wisdom" and scripture that I have found. I will kick ass and beat this!!!

"It doesn't matter what you've heard...Impossible is not a word...It's just a reason...For someone not to try" from Kutless song What Faith Can Do (thanks mom)

"I'm a survivor, I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna stop, I'm gonna work harder, I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it, I will survive, Keep on survivin'!!" from Destiny's Child song "Survivor" which brought on a whole new meaning for me.

"Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." Psalms 103:3

"I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done." Psalms 118:17

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Jonh 10:10

Ta-Ta for now..... (gotta go clean out the potty...again....I think he's finally getting it!)

The results are in....

I know the heavens were flooded with prayers for me this weekend and I appreciate all the outpouring of love. Despite all the prayers for benign results, I did test positive for cancer.

It is called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I do not know what stage it is. The report only said nuclear grade 3. But Dr Norton said that did NOT mean stage 3.

My next step is to go see Dr Sutton at red oak. I am waiting for my coordinator to call me with my appt time. He will determine what stage it is and what treatment is necessary.

I am not upset. I'm just scared. Surprisingly I am doing ok though. I know that I can kick cancers ass. I am a fighter. Everyone knows that. I know that God didn't "give" me this. It came straight from the enemy but He is using it to teach me something. Not sure what yet, but I will find out soon. In the meantime, I'm just processing it and trying to start my notebook of questions.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My story

Tuesday, June 29, 2010- my boobs were hurting, so I took off my bra. About an hour later, they were still hurting, so I did a quick massage on the sides to see if that helped. That's when I noticed I had a golf ball size lump on my right breast. I was scared and could do nothing but cry. Chris was worried too. I believe his exact words were "shit honey, that's huge!"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010- woke up this morning, immediately felt my boob and Yep....still there. As soon as the clock turned 8am, I called my OB/GYN doctor. Dr Norton was not available, so I saw her nurse practitioner. She said it could be caused by high levels of caffiene, but sent me to the TOPS breast center right outside her office for a mammogram and ultrasound. (Secretly, I was hoping it was caffiene related. I had just returned from a kid-free, husband-free vacation and drank nothing but beer and diet coke while I was gone)

Thursday, July 1, 2010 - I went first thing for my testing. After the ultrasound, the radiologist went over her findings. She said in addition to the large mass, there is also 2 small masses behind it, about marble size. She also found 4 enlarged lymph nodes. I immediately burst into tears, knowing that it didn't sound good. I've never heard of a benign tumor being more than 1 mass, or having enlarged lymph nodes with it. I know there are probably some cases, but I've personally never heard of any. She scheduled my biopsy for 1pm. After the biopsy was done, I asked her "if this is benign, what types of things could cause this?" to which she responded "honey, I'm not gonna lie or lead you on....I've never seen anything like this that turned out benign". Again.....the tears started flowing. Chris was there with me, and didn't say much. He always has been a man of many words (and I still snicker when I type that sarcastic comment). She called over my OB/GYN and Dr Norton had a terrified look on her face as she called me back to a private room for comforting. She said "Tiffany, you're only 33! You weren't even supposed to start the mammograms until you were 35". She went on to try and comfort me, gave me a hug, and prescribed me some Ambien so I could sleep during the waiting period. She said my results should be in Tuesday morning and I asked her to deliver the news via phone. I knew if she called me and told me to come in, the 45 minute drive would be HORRENDOUS!

So that's where we are...waiting till Tuesday. Praying for the results to be benign. Praying for a miracle, because I know God is capable of it. But, willing to accept whatever the results are, not live in denial but KICK ASS if needed! I have a TON of prayers outpouring for me, and I know the heavens are flooded with prayers for me. (Thanks Mary for those words)