Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Round Three

Sitting in the infusion chair is scary. People think I'm brave....but I'm not. I cry every time. In order to live, I have to do it, sit there and take my medicine, but it's not easy. The Amazing Reese has been able to join me for every treatment so far, God bless him, but that's a luxury and likely will not last. So today? I'm alive and grateful for it. In this year long journey, the first half of phase one is finished. The tumors have shrunk -- significantly from the first treatment to the second, not so much from the second to the third treatment, but still shrinking. That's a good thing.

Thank you to the community of people both near and far who continue to reach out with offers of help and kindness. Though it's difficult, I'm trying not to compare my journey with others, because life isn't fair, and in any other circumstance, I'd sit and empathize with you about your aunt who lived for five years after a breast cancer diagnosis but died, right now I just can't afford to listen to those stories. For whatever reason, even the good stories can be overwhelming. I love people and value kindness above all, and appreciate that people don't know what to say to me, but maybe just being kind is enough. Maybe we don't always have to talk about cancer. Maybe we can just be.

Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Short and Sweet

Wow. I'm alive and in that sweet spot on the back end of the chemotherapy cycle, that one week of "wellness" before the next cycle of poison begins. After being in bed and in various stages of pain and discomfort for most of the day for the last two weeks, this feels like paradise.

Because of the distress of seeing clumps of hair fall out, I decided on an interim hair do of short -- because somehow it's less stressful to see little wisps of hair falling out than clumps of long strands. My wig is on standby as this short do likely won't last more than a few days.

The closest analogy of exuberant gratitude for this temporary feeling of wellness that I can think of is Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. Though I might not be bouncing around on the outside like Tigger, I'm jumping with giddiness on the inside. I feel well enough to think in complete sentences and paragraphs, so I write. I feel well enough to walk the dog, so I did. I feel well enough to go for a therapeutic float in a friend's swimming pool, so I will. I feel well enough to laugh, so tell me a funny story.

P.S.  As silly as it sounds, I've just gotten permission from the infusion nurses to unplug for a while during my August 21st chemotherapy session so that I can go outside and experience the solar eclipse first hand. I don't know if I'll feel up to it when the time comes, but there's a chance I will. Ever hopeful.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Week One

(This is Reese writing this entry) It has been one week since the first chemo infusion. Our nurse, Lisa, at the Baylor College of Medicine, Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, was simply wonderful. It was a very long day; 8am to 4:30pm. Sarah was a champ throughout the entire event. We visited, played on the Internet, read and sent e-mails, watched two episodes of Bob's Burgers (it always makes Sarah laugh), the time sort of flew by mainly because Sarah and I were enjoying being together. At the very end when they were unplugging the infusion pump, having Sarah fill out some papers, and having her watch an instructional video, it was like someone let all the air out of her tires. She was suddenly very exhausted. I thought we might need a wheelchair to get her to the elevator ... but we didn't. She made it under her own strength down to where her precious sister, Elizabeth, was waiting in the car. Elizabeth came all the way from San Diego to help with the first day of treatment. Week one has been very difficult. The chemical cocktail that was infused has done a harsh number on Sarah's ability to function. We are exceedingly grateful to everyone who has helped, offered to help, and most of all prayed.

Saturday, August 05, 2017


In the span of a few weeks, I've gone from training for an 8 mile race to barely being able to walk to the end of the block. It's certainly humbling. Without delving into the nitty gritty, the first cycle of chemotherapy was no piece of cake. Days later, and I'm still exhausted. 

Thank you so much to those who have reached out and offered support and comfort to me and my family. I've read every note and taken to heart the kind thoughts. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

ImPORTant Day

Dear friends,

Please forgive the impersonal nature of sharing this news. Nine days ago, I met with an oncologist who confirmed the sobering results of several biopsies from my right breast and armpit -- breast cancer. The days are starting to run together -- so much is happening so quickly -- I'm overwhelmed by the enormity of my diagnosis and the impending treatment.

Today I will have a small surgical procedure to implant a port to administer chemotherapy, which begins August 1st.

The treatment plan will start with 5 - 6 months of chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy, lymphadenectomy of the nodes in my armpit, 6 weeks of radiation, then a drug called Herceptin for one year during which time, presumably, they will perform reconstructive surgery on my breast. My breast cancer is HER2 positive, which means that it's unreasonably aggressive.

Please remember me in your prayers as I begin this arduous journey.

Much love,