Another Milestone

Actually, we had two milestones this week or at least “markers” along this journey’s trail. First, we met with Diane’s radiation oncologist. She was awesome! She sat with us for almost and hour and went over many, many parts of the disease and why each of the treatments was appropriate and where we are today. And where we are today is that Diane will soon start 28 days of radiation. Diane wasn’t particularly thrilled since the pathology had shown no cancer remained in any of the tissues! However, turns out that chemo is really only effective where blood goes and blood doesn’t flow to all the places where some “almost-cancer-but not-quite, tumors” may be hiding, especially next to the muscle wall around her armpit. That’s where the radiation is required. So, after a couple more weeks, she will get “mapped” and a couple of marker tattoos and then will begin the Monday-Friday treatments until she has the 28. I think that having a radiation program is the best thing since then any nagging doubts about rogue cells will be dispelled. And, she will start Tamoxifen which is an endocrine treatment to do something bad to the hormones that might trigger a recurrence. That was a big milestone.

And, she had the last two drains taken out!!! Now the healing really begins!! Thanks for all your healing energy and prayers. Things are going well!!!

Piscataway Farm

Historic Piscataway Farm in Maryland

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Just one more thing…

Composite Image

Composite Image of Kirsten

Yesterday we had some very good news from Diane’s oncologist, “all pathology reports are negative!” No cancer showing! To say that this was a relief would be an understatement of Biblical proportions. Of course, the answers aren’t all in and we won’t know what the final treatment path is until we meet with the rest of her physicians next week. She may still need a month’s worth of radiation and she will probably take an endocrine drug for the rest of her life. And, she has to continue the immunotherapy infusions until next March, but still, HUZZAH! Lottery number hit! We will give you updates as we get them.

This image is a composite of our daughter Kirsten. I created a composite celebrating the happiness that she and her fiancé have found in Asheville, NC.

 

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The same smile through the years!

This is a very stylized image which includes many shots I took eleven years ago in Green Spring Garden Park. Diane was kind enough to pose a bit as we did a walkabout through the gardens. The composite is a little “artistic” but trust me, the old house is there, the rock ruins, the pond with the fountain, flowers, and more. What I remembered most when I took the photo was the smile. She has almost exactly the same smile today…but much, much less hair. Ha! The surgery went well although four and a half hours seemed like a long time. Well, a long time to me, she slept through it all!! They found no residual cancer, reconstruction was successful, and everyone is very encouraged. Thanks to all for your healing energies and prayers. In four weeks, she starts radiation. An insurance policy against any hidden or sneaky renegade cells.

Did I mention the “take home care kit?” Tubes and drains and pads and wipes and….  I’ll be busy too!!

Diane At Green Spring Composite

Diane At Green Spring Composite

 

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Poised for Phase III

Well, the mean, nasty, awful, healing, health bringing chemo has been over for over a month!! The immunotherapy, which is also an infusion, started two weeks ago. She has surgery this Thursday and whether there is residual cancer will determine what mix of immunotherapy or targeted chemo is appropriate for the next 12 months. Diane has remained VERY busy since the main side effects have begun to diminish. Designing the madeover basement, protecting the flowers the hummingbirds love from evil moths and worms, cooking for all of us, filing stuff, etc., etc., etc. She still has residual side effect issues, mostly with failing nails and raging tears because sometimes chemo clogs something up in her eyes and there are always “tears.”  Her hair is starting to come back…a little. We don’t know whether she will be blond or gray! But…she will “be” and that’s a winning lottery ticket!

Fence Line

Fence Line at Washington’s Grist Mill

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Season 6, Episode 2 coming to an end

Farmers Market

Onions at Farmers Market in Old Town Alexandria

This Week Two has ended and so things will improve for a short while. This wasn’t a “great” week but it was a week worth having. We went to several doctor appointments; pretty much the rest of the year will be “new stuff.” Even though she’s gone through surgery and radiation before, this is way, way different. We have a superb team and they’ve been very helpful in setting the stage and expectations. There are still a lot of unknowns. Apparently, Diane will continue the “immunotherapy” for a year with two drugs and perhaps three, we won’t know for sure until after surgery. Although the side effects are not as bad as the real chemo, they will be troublesome…but I’m pretty sure that she’ll power through it all with her friends and family helping.

I did a quick walkabout today in Old Town after having breakfast with a friend. Lots and lots of people, I guess that’s the changing nature of Alexandria.

 

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