Saturday, April 18, 2015


As I sat down to type this update, one of my "adopted" children sent me the story below.  It amazes me how people seem to know what I need, when I need it, and how it warms my heart. (Make sure you read the article below).

This week has been a long, strenuous, tension-filled week.  My biopsy was Tuesday.  The Pathologist was in the room and they told me that day they found malignant cells.  I had to wait a few days for the actual pathology report.

Thursday, the Oncologist office called and said, "we have the report, can you come in today?" (It's never good when they say come in today, but I knew that).

There are several lymph nodes in my chest that the cancer has spread to.  My treatment is going to be concurrent Radiation and Chemotherapy.  They are changing the Chemotherapy drugs to something stronger than the last time.  The Oncologist thinks the last time may have just simply slowed things down instead of killing it.

Last year, radiation was NOT an option as the lymph nodes are too close to my pulmonary artery and my esophagus.  But, now, he says we have no choice.  The cancer is back and we have to fight it aggressively. This may cause severe issues with my esophagus and ability to eat - which we have to watch carefully.

Next Thursday, April 23rd, I meet with the Radiation doctor where he will "map out" where the radiation beam will go.  I start Radiation on Monday, April 27th.  It will be 5 days a week for 6 weeks - 30 treatments.  At the same time, I will be getting Chemotherapy 1 day week.  They tell me each Chemo treatment last 6 hours - so it looks as though one day a week will be an allllllllllll day affair.

The Chemo will be to drugs - Carboplatin and Taxol - apparently the Taxol can cause severe allergy side effects so I was told I must have someone drive me home from each treatment because I will receive heavy doses of Benedryl.

Needless to say, its been a long week.  The hardest part was calling my baby brother to tell him I won't be able to make it to his wedding because of this damn cancer.  Most people know, my mother didn't make it to my wedding because of cancer - how can this happen twice in one lifetime to the same family? 

I will make it through this - it is hard telling myself that right now.  I'm still not over the shock and the fear is rising each day.  I pray for the strength and optimism to make it through the next 7 weeks.

I ask for your prayers - and end with a question.....

Are you an egg, carrot or coffee bean?

Click here - I am a coffee bean (thank you Shannon C. - I love you)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Cameron

My peanut, My Cammie
my love pours out for you

Giggles and snuggles make me smile
come and give me a hug for a while

Smiles, smiles all the time
beautiful, little grandchild of mine

Salami and Pepperoni
ice cream and popsicles

Walks around Crocker Park
while strolling and listening to you talk

My love for you is as natural as the outdoors
as we grow closer everyday

How do I tell you what you don't want to hear
when we are playing and laughing with no fear

Each day with you is a special one
My little man, my grandson

Endobronchial Ultrasound Biopsy (EBUS)

The other day I let everyone know my doctor feared a recurrence of my cancer and scheduled my EBUS yesterday.  Well, after my alarm not going off, Greg and I made with 5 minutes to spare.

That was the good news.  The bad news is the cancer is back. it is in my lymph nodes in my chest - and that is the only place.  (I had a whole body PET Scan and only my chest "lit up").

At this point I can only tell you where the pathologist confirmed during the procedure.  Luckily for me, at the Main Campus Cleveland Clinic a Pathologist sits outside the room and they hand him samples and he looks under the microscope.  He confirmed it is in my Hilar Lymph Nodes (several yellow dots on one side) and has also progressed and moved to the middle (dark blue dots).The doctors told me they took DOZENS of samples and will have a full report in 2  to 3 days and will know if there are other lymph nodes with cancer too small to see.

I have so many questions and won't have any answers until the Pathology Report is complete.  My Oncologist knows the preliminary spots and wants to see me the day after the report is complete.  So my hope is either Friday or Monday I will be seeing him to determine what to do next.....chemo, radiation, surgery??? I have no idea.

I was originally diagnosed as a Stage IIIA.  My understanding is once it moves to the middle I will become a Stage IV.  Again, I need to meet with the oncologist to get the full story and what we can do.

I will post as I know things.  Kind of in a fog right now with my mind going a mile a minute.  Needless to say, even though I overslept my alarm yesterday, last night I was up about 20 times pacing....

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pre-Op Today

I suppose today begins the next chapter in my journey.  As I told you last week, tomorrow is my biopsy.

Today I am headed to the Main Campus of the Cleveland Clinic to meet with the Pulmonologist that is doing the biopsy tomorrow, then lab work, and finally an EKG.  All in preparation for tomorrow.

Tomorrow's biopsy is different than what I had before.  EBUS (Endobronchial Ultrasound) is not a procedure that is done at many places, hence, I have to go to the main campus.  It is used for staging my type of lung cancer.

Nothing is really happening today for me to update but tomorrow, depending on how I feel when I get home, I will update on how the procedure went and if I found anything out.

In the meantime, enjoy this fantastic weather :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

4/9/2015 Update

Monday's appointment was rather disappointing.  Not in the way you would think.  I was hoping for confirmation of spread of the beast or confirmation things were okay.  But, the doctor couldn't really give me either.   He said I have to have a biopsy of the lymph nodes.

Last year I had three surgeries that involved my chest (lung removal, biopsy, port placement) so there is quite a bit a scar tissue - as a result they don't want to do the typical biopsy surgery.  Instead, I am having an Endobronchial Ultrasound.  Basically, they put me to sleep, then go down my mouth and gather the samples they need.

The biopsy is scheduled for 4/14/15 at 7:00 a.m. and then I have an appointment with the oncologist 4/23/15 to discuss results and what to do next.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Uh Oh, Where Did I Go?

It has been very quiet for about 4 or 5 months.  After my chemotherapy ended, I spent the next few months regaining my strength and getting used to my new normal.  The doctor appointments didn't slow down - those are still monthly.  But as of this week there is an update.

I still have my MediPort in my chest.  They said I would keep that at least one year.  I go every month to have it flushed out and make sure it still is working and it is great.

On the negative side, at my last port flush, the doctor noticed I was wheezing.  The wheezing is on the left - that is the side that has less than 10% lung left.  (The right side sounded fine.)  So as a precaution she put me on a week of steroids, antibiotics and ordered a chest xray.  The xray came back normal.  (With my track record the past year, I wasn't surprised the side with no lung sounds funny - only a normal person would have wheezing on the side that has a lung LOL).

Two weeks later, no improvement with the wheezing so on March 23rd I had a chest CAT Scan.  The results were "somewhat" inconclusive.  While it didn't give a reason for the wheezing, it did show enlarged lymph nodes in my chest which could be a recurrence of the cancer.

My Primary doctor, Pulmonary doctor and Oncologist doctor all looked at the CAT Scan and all have the same fear - recurrence.  So today I had a PET Scan.  It scans the entire body and offers more information to the doctors. If there is a recurrence it will tell them where and what size.

Monday morning, at 11:20 a.m. I will visit the oncologist to get the results.  I ask for your prayers and positive energy this holiday weekend.  Needless to say, I am quite anxious this weekend. 

I wish you all a Happy Passover and Happy Easter!!