Sunday, June 11, 2017

Silver Dollar City

Mark and Kasey spent the last week at Silver Dollar City Campground in Branson, MO.  Every year at the end of the school year, they try to go on a trip together.  They stayed down there Monday through Friday.  There is a shuttle bus from the campground over to Silver Dollar City, so they would spend several hours over there every day.  Just enough to have fun but not to wear them out.

Here's a few of the pictures they sent me from the week.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Chemo Treatment #5 -- One More Left!

Last week was my Chemo Treatment #5, we took Kasey with us to Tulsa and spent a little time in Tulsa afterwards.  We can back home late Saturday night and I was pretty much wiped out on Sunday and just slept and relaxed most of the day.  This last week was pretty easy for me, the boys spent the week camping at Silver Dollar City Campground and going to the Silver Dollar City Park.  I just went to work and came home and went to bed early all week.

This week's treatment was interesting.  I had been contemplating what I was going to do when I have surgery.  I have decided I'm going to do a double mastectomy but do I really want to do reconstruction?  Most of the people I have talked to have done reconstruction and seem to be happy with it.  The whole medical scare with pre-existing conditions really made me think about whether I want to do reconstruction or not.  It's a painful process, they put expanders under your skin and inject them with something to make the skin stretch.  This continues for a while until you get to be the size you want to be and then they go in and remove the expanders and insert the saline implants.  Again, another surgery to have this done.

I have never been comfortable with the thought of having something foreign like that in my body. What if I have problems with them?  What if they leak in ten years?  It's just a really hard decision.

The alternative is just to go flat.  Boring.  But no additional surgery.  I looked at a lot of pictures on the Internet.  I called a friend that had done this and she was very happy with her life without breasts.
The interesting thing was that Mark would never really tell me what he thought I should do.  He just told me that he would support whatever decision I made.  I had finally thought about it a long time and told him that I was thinking of not doing reconstruction.  He said, "that's really what I would rather you do, I don't want to see you go through all the reconstruction, it's just not worth it".  I was really surprised he felt that way, but that made me just love him even more.  :)

When we went to Tulsa, I talked with my care provider and asked her what she thought.  She said that they don't really like to comment on that, they want the patient to make their own decision.  I told her I was thinking about not doing reconstruction.  She said that was what she always thought she would do also if she went through this.  She said that she just doesn't like the additional surgeries.

I also got an ultrasound this time to check my heart.  One of the chemo drugs is hard on my heart, so they like to keep an eye on it.  I'll find out the results of that next time, but I really think it will be fine.

I met with my surgeon and talked to him about the options I had.  He really has thrown a wrench in my plans, but a very good one!  He told me that he would like me to get an MRI next time I go to Tulsa.  I can't feel the two primary spots that I had when I first started this treatment.  The chemo has shrunk them down to the point that they are not detectable.  He said the MRI will tell him a lot about what the next steps will be.  It's possible that the spots are so small now, that I could have just a lumpectomy and not the full mastectomy!  Wow!  That is some amazing news.  I am not going to get my hopes up too high about this and will just wait until my next visit.

Please pray that the results are good for the lumpectomy. That would be such a blessing.  With a lumpectomy, they will have to do radiation though.  My chances of having the cancer come back after the lumpectomy and radiation are about 10%.  Having a double mastectomy and no radiation will make my changes of the cancer coming back at about 10% also.  I know there are no guarantees with anything, but this would be really encouraging.

On the way down to Tulsa, we stopped at the McDonald's restaurant above the tollway.  Kasey thought it was neat.

After we checked into our hotel, we went downtown Tulsa and took a picture of this tower.  It's supposed to be the Center of the Universe.

We were waiting for one of my appointments and Mark and Kasey were playing Solitare.

Kasey being a silly boy.  This is one of the dressings they use to put over my port when I'm getting chemo, the nurse didn't use it and gave it to Kasey to play with.  

Mark and Kasey went to get me lunch while I was getting chemo, it takes about 5 hours or so.  It's amazing how fast it passes.  These two love birds were outside the window and stayed there for probably 10 minutes.  It was a pretty amazing moment.

On Friday after we were done with chemo, we went to a Putt-Putt Golf place.  Tulsa Cancer Treatment Centers of America has lot of free stuff for cancer patients.  We got free golf here.  It was a lot of fun and a really nice cool day.  

Then we headed to the movies.  We watched Captain Underpants.  We were really impressed that this movie theater had tables in front of the chairs.  Sorry about the bad picture here!

Saturday, we headed to the Tulsa Zoo.  It was a really nice zoo, with lots of animals.  I was really careful not to get too tired.  They had benches all over, so we would just stop and wait a while, then start back again.

They had about 6 Eagles at the Zoo.  They had all been injured in the wild and were not able to defend themselves if they were released back in the wild, so the Zoo takes care of them now.  I think they have a pretty good life.

Kasey picked up this instrument from the gift shop.  It makes a nice sound, nothing that would drive us crazy.

It was a great trip and I'm glad Kasey got to see what I go through when I go to Tulsa. He was impressed with it all.  He enjoyed staying at the hotel and eating at the cafeteria.  He's just such a happy kid, he is so much fun to have around!