Tuesday, November 21, 2023

wow... its been 15 years

Just a quick update for those who stumble across this blog... 

 15 years ago today,  we wrote this:   


Dr. Jeffrey's pathology report

No residual carcinoma is seen in the right mastectomy specimen. No tumor is seen in eighteen total lymph nodes (0/18); however, several lymph nodes demonstrate scarring and infiltration by foamy histiocytes suggesting possible involvement prior to therapy.


Today marks Trish's 15th year being cancer free! (11/21/23)

The journey has been long and immense, but fortunately I can say our family is doing great and we are surrounded by family and friends that are always here for us. 

Trish is/has been a full time mom with a full time job for years, and currently working in the Parkinson's space and volunteering with several non-profit Boards. 

The boys celebrated today with bringing Trisha flowers and giving many hugs... 


Our oldest (who was 2 years old when we began this journey) is a Senior in high school, a member of his NorCal Crew rowing club, and actively applying to colleges and enjoying his last year of high school. 

Our youngest, now 12 (born after all the craziness of this blog), is in 6th grade and loving his new Middle School... he just finished up his flag football season, as well as AYSO soccer.

Life can hit you hard,  but keeping positive attitude is part of the equation of getting through it..  

Its not simple, and its not quick... but staying strong and together as a family helps....

We thank everyone (friends, family, teachers, neighbors, strangers) who has helped us over the years, your support is much appreciated, and (un)fortunately have been able to give back to families dealing with similar issues over these past 15 years... 

Thanks for reading.



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

wow... its been 7 years

For those that have followed our blog over the years, I apologize for not keeping it up to date...

But its for a good reason, as we have been living our life and enjoying it.

Today marks the 7 year anniversary when we learned Trisha was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. 

On April 7, 2008 

- We were both 32 years old
- We had a 1.5 year old boy named Caden
- We were both scared
- ( and  SF Giants lost their home opener )

Today, April 7th 2015, 7 years later

- We are both less than 40 :)
- Caden is a super awesome 8 year old 3rd grader
- We were both at Caden's Little League game tonight (he went 3 for 3)
- While I coached on he field, Trish sat in the stands with our 3 year old boy, Griffen....
- (and yeah,  SF Giants lost) 

One reason why we have not kept the blog up to date in the fact that we have been fortunate to get past the the 2008 and 2009 years...  Years well documented on this blog..

Griffen is our 3.5 year old son, Caden's little brother.. the boy we naturally conceived a couple years after chemo/radiation...     

In 2010 after consulting with Trisha's Oncology Doctors... When we asked if we should try to get pregnant...  during chemo, Trish's body did go into what the doctors predicted as pre-menopause....
they all said "no reason not to..." so we tried for a month... and and it happened... and we cherish the decision we made to try

Caden and Griffen love each other... they are awesome boys... awesome brothers..

Trish is an awesome girl..  an awesome Mom...  awesome wife.

Our life has been pretty crazy since this time in 2007, but we have made the best of it...

While Caden and Griffen deserve a blog of their own,  this blog was dedicated not only to Trisha, but for those who have stumbled across while searching Google for keywords I wish no one to ever have to search for... (we hope this provides information and inspiration to you)

I would love to thank everyone.(family, friends, strangers) again for their help and support over the years...   its been 7 years...  we did not get through this alone.... but with your help...

As for Trish....  
She is doing great, and has coupled her Sales and personal experiences into employment opportunities where she can share her knowledge with doctors, nurses and patients.

Thanks for reading.... 
if you would ever like to reach out to Trisha or Oak, please contact us at the links on this page....   Thanks..

Griffen, Caden & Pancho the Cat relaxing on a recent lazy Saturday...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sunday, July 25, 2010

happy summer...

hey everyone, just wanted to check in and let everyone know things are going great.

the summer is flying by, and have been enjoying it as much as we can.
trish was busy shuttling caden to three different birthday parties this weekend, and this coming week is caden's last of his summer preschool class.

we have been busy bbq'ing, working on the house and taking little trips here and there.
a couple weeks ago we drove down to LA to visit family, friends and of course mickey and minnie, and we have another big multi-family camping trip planned for later in august.

trish has been doing awesome. she is feeling and looking great and is swearing by her daily juicing and vegetarian diet (which leaves more bbq tri-trip for caden and i ;)

we do have our regularly scheduled checkup with dr. carlson this tuesday, july 27th, and expect everything to go smoothly.

trish is getting the itch to go back to work, so she has been prepping herself for interviews. last week she was fortunate to have interviews with two different pharma companies. both went well and, and she was told she would be getting call back for both.

so i just wanted to update the blog and let everyone know things are great, we are all healthy, happy and enjoying the summer.

thanks for checking in

Friday, April 23, 2010

the weekend update...

trish woke up this morning feeling pretty good.
there is definitely soreness, but she can move around on her own just fine.

she didn't have a great nights sleep, but she has been up and about this morning.
walking around outside, chatting with the neighbors, picking up caden's toys, etc..

she will be able to shower and take off her bandages on sunday morning, and next friday we have a follow up appointment with dr. lee..

thanks for checking in

Thursday, April 22, 2010

surgery update...

2:30pm update (that came at 10:00pm)

we got home at 2:30pm... trish is doing awesome. a little groggy as expected, but doing really well...

by the evening time, she was up walking around and getting some food in her.

trish got into bed by herself, and we both looked at each other, because she has not been able to do that in surgeries past...

things are good...

thanks for all the well wishes everyone..

ill give another update tomorrow evening..

12:30pm update

dr. lee came out at 12:25pm and let us know that he was all done, and trish did great. she is in recovery now, and hopefully we can see her in the next couple hours...

12:00pm update

trish's surgery officially began at 11:00am this morning, and is scheduled for two hours.

after surgery, she will be in recovery for ~2 hours, and then we will be able to bring her home.

so im hoping by 4pm today, we will be on the road back to our house, but things never seem to be on time around here, so im not holding my breath.

trish, ria and i arrived at stanford this morning at 7:45am. they got trish checked in, and prepped to be prepped shortly thereafter. ria and i were able to visit with trish from 8:40am to 10:20am when they brought her to the OR.

during those 100 minutes, dr. lee came in to visit with trish and to literally draw up the game plan on trish's front side. trish's nurses and anesthesiologist visited as well, and got trish prepped and the IV flowing.

at 10:20am they the anesthesiologist gave trish a little cocktail, and off she went to the OR and lala-land..

so about another hour to go in surgery, and then dr. lee will come out and give us the update..

stay tuned..

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

the last surgery... april 22nd

sometime tomorrow trish will go in for her final reconstructive surgery.

we will receive a call sometime today from stanford letting us know if we have the morning slot, or the afternoon slot.

either way, dr. lee said it will be a short 2 hour surgery, and trish will be coming home the same day.

we can expect her to be sore for a few days, but this surgery will be nowhere as intrusive as the previous two. basically the tissue expanders will be replaced with trish's final silicone implants.

dr. lee will also remove the healed up incision scars that have been radiated and stretched with the tissue expanders, and do his artistry by stitching trish up in a way that will reduce the visible scarring.

trish is ready physically and emotionally, and compared to everything else she has gone through, this will be easy. no drains, no deep wounds, easy recovery.

ill keep the blog updated throughout the day tomorrow for anyone peaking in..

evening update: surgery is scheduled for 9:30am, with us checking in 2 hours prior..

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

two years...


two years ago today we received the results of trish's biopsy.

its baffles me how two years can pass by so quickly, and at times crawl to a snails pace.

things are good. things are different.

we had a small scare a few weeks ago, trish found a lump in her neck and worried it might be an abnormal lymphnode.
on march 23rd, trish and i headed down to the stanford cancer center for the first time since november 16th so dr. robert carlson could take a look.

a place we had spent so much time at, it was odd (and good) we hadn't been there in over 4 months.

but the trip was stressful. emotions and worries we have pushed down over the past two years began creeping back to the surface.

the 2 hour wait to see dr. carlson didn't help either.

when we finally did see dr. carlson and nurse jan, they were really happy to see how well trish was doing and how long her hair was.
i think dr. carlson even smiled when he felt trish's lump, because he knew it wasn't a lymphnode.

doc carlson assured us there was nothing to worry about.
trish's lump was a swollen salivary gland, probably due to her recent sinus infection.
he wants to continue to see trish every three months just on a checkup basis.
this is good... it will give us a piece of mind that trish will have some trained eyes on her every few months.

and like the days of old... we stopped at the dutch goose on the way home for some lunch..

so yesterday, april 6th, trish and i were back at the cancer center, but this time we met for a pre-operation visit with dr. gordon lee, trish's plastic surgeon.

trish's final phase of reconstructive surgery will be on thursday april 22nd, and yesterday's visit was to chalk up the game plan.
the surgery will be a couple hours long, to swap out trish's tissue expanders with silcon implants.

trish will get to go home the same day, and not need to stay overnight at stanford.
dr. lee says this will be the easiest surgery to date for trish, and trish should be feeling good a couple days after.

anyhow, thats the update from here.

thanks for checking in...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

a quick update

hi all,

its been a while since we posted anything, but just wanted to assure everyone that everything here is great, and Trish, Caden and I are all healthy and happy.

trish has been enjoying life, and has her final reconstructive surgery scheduled for this april.

caden is growing everyday, and really enjoying his 3's nursery school class.

ive been back to work for a little over 3 months, and its been really exciting. we have added ~ 15 employees since i began working, so its great to be with a company that is growing and not shrinking

both trish and i have been spending a lot of time getting ready for an upcoming fundraiser at caden's school.

its the 15th Annual Redwood Parents Nursery School Janet Cocconi Dinner & Auction.
Janet was the Director and a Teacher at RPNS years ago, who unfortunately passed away from breast cancer. Janet's daughter, Jeannie, has been a close friend of trish's for 20+ years and is also a mother of two children at RPNS. Jeannie is the chairperson for the auction this year, so we have been doing everything we can to help make it a success.

10% of the proceeds of the fundraiser go to the Janet Cocconi Memorial Fund through Breast Cancer Connections in Palo Alto.

If you are interested in purchasing raffle tickets, making prize donations for the auction, or attending the dinner and auction event, more info can be found here on the RPNS website:


thanks for checking in... all is great here...

Monday, December 21, 2009

happy holidays...

happy holidays to you all.. we hope everyone enjoying the holiday season.

i apologize for not updating the blog in a while, so i will try and get everyone caught up on the last couple months of our lives.

on november 16th trish went in for her 3rd round of expansion, and everthing went smoothly.
trish's 4th and final expansion was december 7th, and we can now happily say she is done with this phase of reconstruction.

the next phase will be surgery in ~6 months to replace the expanders with regular implants.

trish is continuing to do great, and is 100% healthy and cancer free.

on december 2nd, caden's class from Redwood Parents Nursery School took a field trip to Hillsdale Mall to decorate a christmas tree for the holidays.
this is something teacher kathy and her class has been doing for years, and all the other classes at the school pitch in by making ornaments for the themed tree.
this year the teachers at RPNS decided to decorate the tree in a breast cancer awareness theme, to honor the families at RPNS who have been affected by breast cancer.
obviouslly this is a cause close to our hearts, and it was a lot of fun to see 24 three year olds running around hanging ornamnents on a christmas tree.

i believe the trees will be on display through the new year... so if you find yourself on the second floor of hillsdale by mrs fields cookies, take a look at the pink tree that the kids from RPNS decorated.

on sunday dec. 20th, trish and i attended the FamiliesCAN christmas party in portola valley.
it was a dinner for the families who have been helped by FamiliesCAN. It was great seeing Jackie and Eduarda (founder and director), as well as our social worker from stanford, Bea Bravo.
We also had the opportunity to meet and thank Jackie's father, Ron Whittier, who provides funding so FamiliesCAN can help families affected by cancer.

in a small bit of irony, we were seated at the same table as the Musladin family.
Scott, Candy and their two daughters Lindsey and Madison were the other family featured in the september article in san jose mercury news article about FamiliesCAN.
they are great family dealing with a lot of simlar things we have gone through over the last 20 months.

on november 16th, i began my new job at Greenplum.
can't believe its been 6 weeks already, but the company is small and dynamic (and growing) with a lot of great people and energy in the building.
im really enjoying it here.

and with the new job, came new medical benefits for the whole family on december 1st :)

so thats about it from here... everything is going well, and aside from caden's little cold, we are all healthy.

we wish everyone a great holiday season, and a terrific new year to come...

thanks for checking in

The RPNS christmas tree at Hillsdale

Monday, November 2, 2009

expansion, part 2

trish, ria and i headed over to stanford today for trish's second round of expansion.

we met with nurse kathy, and now that we know the procedure, it only took a few minutes to complete. we spend more time in the waiting room than we do in the exam room.

during surgery, dr. lee initially filled trish's expanders with 200 cc's of saline.

last week nurse kathy added 50 cc's on the right side and 100 cc's on the left.

today, kathy added 75 to the right and 100 to the left.

so the current tally is:

left: 400 cc's

right: 325 cc's

the right side is the cancer/radiation/lat flap side, so they are expanding this side a little slower than the left side. trish really felt all 75 cc's in her right side today. its an odd pressure that is hard to explain, but it is discomforting enough for her to take a vicodin for the first time in a couple weeks.

all in all trish is continuing to do great. she is feeling better with each day, and aside from lifting heavy things and overreaching for something, she is pretty close to normal. she is back to taking caden to school by herself, and later in the week she has a third interview with Myriad for a sales position handling the BRACAnalysis breast cancer genetic test product.

trish's next expansion will be monday, november 16th.

thanks for checking in...

Monday, October 26, 2009

follow up with dr. j, a new lump and some relief...

trish has been doing really great with her recovery. with each day, she is becoming less sore and more active. for the first time since surgery, trish was able to bring caden to his nursery school by herself this morning.

i think it was a big mental boost for both trish and the little guy. she is able to do more independently each day, and for caden to see his mama at school really made his day and he seemed a little bit more chipper today than he has over the past few weeks. after school the three of us hit up the newly remodeled costco in redwood city, and then it was time for trish and i to head back to the stanford cancer center.

today we had a follow up appointment with trish's surgical oncologist, dr. stephanie jeffrey. dr. j was very pleased and surprised at how quickly trish is healing up. the incisions have all closed up nicely, and we took the last of trish's tape sutures off a few days ago. dr. jeffrey also had some good news for us, the final pathology of trish's mastectomy was back, and there was no signs of cancer (not that we expected any different, but its always nice to get some good news).

so... earlier in the week trish discovered a new lump in her abdomen.

trish asked dr. jeffrey to have a feel to see what she thought. after examining trish, dr. jeffrey believed the lump to probably be a lipoma (benign fatty tissue). but dr. j then said, with trish's history of cancer, she wanted to order an immediate biopsy.

back on the emotional roller coaster we go...

as we were waiting for the biopsy team to arrive, trish and i somewhat joked about our lives and if things aren't hectic, they aren't normal. but the reality of it, the waiting, the wondering... its stressful and wears on you.
you wonder how a body that has been hammered by months of chemo and radiation could produce a new lump. and you wait some more.

you try not to worry about anything until there is something to worry about. this sounds great on paper, but its much easier said than done. luckily for us today the wait was minimal. it wasn't an over the weekend wait like trish's first biopsy last year. the biopsy team arrived about 10 minutes after dr. j. called them. the team of three quickly set up and took two needle aspiration biopsies of trish's lump, and told us they would be back in 5 minutes with the preliminary results as soon as they took a gander of the specimen cells under a microscope.

so... we waited and we wondered.

it was only a few minutes, but it felt like a few hours. the biopsy team arrived back with the news...

everything looked normal.

they believed it was a lipoma, just had dr. jeffrey initially thought. the biopsy team took one more needle biopsy (third overall) to be sent off to the lab for final pathology, but from what they saw in the first two samples, all signs pointed to benign fatty tissue (not that we expected any different, but its always nice to get some good news).

just another hectic (normal) day... thanks for checking in

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

a, b, cc's...

back to stanford we go to see trish' plastic surgeon nurse, kathy...

kathy removed trish's final drain, but was gracious enough to give back more than she had taketh..

kathy is the nurse that will be filling trish's tissue expanders over the next month or two.

kathy brought in a demo expander for us to take a look at, and if you have ever have seen an implant, its basically the same thing, but with a "medi-port" built in to receive a needle full of saline.

kathy marked each boobie with the location of the port, gave trish some local anesthetic, put a needle into each port and injected them with saline (50 cc's on the right, 100 cc's on the left)
it wasn't enough fluid to actually see trish visually expanding like a water balloon, but trish felt the added pressure internally.
nurse kathy said trish (depending on the final size she chooses) will be back roughly 5 times (every 7-10 days) for these expansion sessions.

the highlight of the day wasn't trish kicking ass once again in the doc's office, but seeing christine leaving the plastic surgeon's office.

christine is Survivor buddy christine, formerly known as chemo buddy christine and radiation buddy christine.

christine was leaving the office after a session with nurse kathy finalizing her reconstruction, and she is now DONE with everything! congrats christine, your cancer "to do" list is now all checked off. `

so, trish continues to do great, and she really enjoyed getting caught up with christine for a few minutes.
the docs still want her to take it easy lifting heavy things, but she has been trying to stay as active as possible without overdoing it.
all her bandages are ready to come off, and everything is healing up nicely. now with her drains out, she can shower normally without worrying about getting anything wet.

trish goes back Nov. 2 for her next expansion session, and will get an additional 100 cc's on each side.

thanks for checking in..

Friday, October 16, 2009

checkup with dr. lee...

its been 9 days since surgery, so it was time to head back to stanford to see trish's plastic surgeon, dr. lee.

dr. lee and his staff examined trish, and felt she was healing up perfectly, there are no signs of infection and overall they are very pleased with her progress.

trish came home from the hospital with five (three on her right side, two on her left side) subdermal fluid drains. these are rubber tubes inside trish's body draining any excess fluid in her chest and back areas. there is a small incision under each of trish's armpits where the drains exit her body. these drains typically stay in 7-14 days post surgery.

the drains are bulky, and hard to make comfortable with while sitting, laying down and walking. she basically has five pieces of two foot long rubber tube hanging out of her, each will a rubber bulb attached on the end. even though she has a special tank top with internal pockets to hold the drains, they are still a pain in the ass (and the side... and the back)...

dr. lee felt trish was doing well enough not to warrant all the drains, so he removed four of the five. immediately trish felt more comfortable. the drain bothering her the most was the one placed in her back, once it was removed, trish had a much easier and comfy time sitting.

trish's next appointment is wednesday 10/21, and dr. lee will remove her last drain, and begin the expansion process of filling up trish's tissue expanders with saline.

the pain is slowly going away, and with four drains out, it should be much easier for her to sleep and get around. each day she gets a little quicker at getting up and moving around, and by this time next week she should be feeling great.

trish is resting up right now, but later this afternoon trish has a second job interview with Myriad, the company who makes the breast cancer genetic test, BRACAnalysis, trish took last year. trish looks forward to going back to work, but she has been very particular with the type of company she wants to work for. when this opening came up she was quick to apply for it, as she feels she can be very successful selling this product... hopefully Myriad will feel the same.

trish and i would to thank everyone that has dropped off food, flowers, cards, etc... it really has been appreciated, and has made it a lot easier around here the past week

one last note...
many of you know, after 10 years with HP i was laid off in late april, and spent the summer actively interviewing.

its ironic how life chooses to time things...

while i was in the waiting room during trish's surgery, i received a call from a company i've recently interviewed with, and they gave me a verbal offer!
i signed the written offer on tuesday, and will begin work at Greenplum (a small database startup) on november 16th.

talk about an emotional swing...
sitting there worried about trish in surgery, and i get a call that i dont need to stress over trying to find a job anymore. im really looking forward to starting next month, and who knows... maybe both of us will be employed by years end...

thanks for checking in..

Saturday, October 10, 2009

home sweet home...

trish is home :)

after meeting with dr. lee this morning, she got the ok to get out and head home.. a couple hours later we were on our way out of stanford.

we walked through our front doors at 11:45am this morning.

trish continues to do really well.. still sore as expected, but dr. lee thought all her wounds are healing nicely and had no overall concerns.

trish's left arm had been hurting her ever since she got out of surgery, and to rule out a blood clot or infection, an ultrasound was performed... the ultrasound showed nothing out of the ordinary and it was deemed that a leaky IV was the cause of the swelling.

basically the IV needle was either was not fully inside trish's vein, or it penetrated through the other side of her vein, allowing the saline to essentially puddle in her arm. its harmless but uncomfortable, but does take a day or two for the saline to be naturally absorbed by the body...

so the pain has gone away and the swelling of her arm has subsided and things are basically normal. trish is napping in her own bed now, and caden is very happy to have his mama home..

thanks for checking in...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

surgery... part deux

the night after update, 8:45pm

i just got home from the hospital and trish is doing great. she is asleep now, but she has been up and about during the afternoon. shes been walking the hallways, using the bathroom (no more catheter :) ) on her own.

both dr. lee and dr. jeffrey visited with her earlier today, and are happy with the results of the surgery and how trish is recovering..

we are hoping she gets released to come home tomorrow, but ya never know.. its up to the docs tomorrow, and we will see what they have to say

the morning after update, 8:00am

trish slept decently throughout the night..
the meds kicked in and helped with the pain, but the nurses were in every couple of hours so it made it tough to sleep.

dr. lee's four residents came in this morning at 6:30am to check on trish, and they said she was looking good. dr. lee is will stop by sometime in the morning to check on trish as well, but the plan is to get trish up and walking around this afternoon.

10:30pm update

trish is sleeping like a baby:)

trish has two great nurses, sofia and kristen, and they got trish all settled in (drained her drains, set up her IV's, got her some juice/blankets/etc.. ) to her private room overlooking the courtyard below.

trish is pretty groggy (she says feels pretty buzzed, but not drunk enough to dance... i call BS, she will dance anytime) but she is pretty sharp and not out of it, just sleepy.

she is really sore, and likens the pain to that of an elephant sitting on top of her, but i think the meds are finally kicking in and doing their job.

trish is hooked up to two different pain medications..
1. is dripping in the the IV they placed near her spinal cord for the paravertebral block... im guessing its on the weak side, as its a continuous drip

2. is the good stuff.. the kind they give you a button for, but you can only hit the button once every ten minutes... it must be really good, cause they literally have it under lock and key on the IV machine so you cant up your dose..

its been a long day, and as expected, she got through it without any problems.
im spending the night with her to keep her company throughout the night.

thanks again for all the thoughts, wishes, mojo and prayers...

we both really do appreciate it.

good night (once all this coffee wears off)

8:45pm update

just got out of recovery and headed to her room...

5:45pm update

dr. lee just called me, and they are done with surgery! trish is doing great, and they are putting the final bandages on her. no surprises during surgery, and everything went smoothly.

trish will be in recovery for the next 60-120 minutes, and then will be transferred to her hospital room. once she is in her room, i will be able to see her.

its been a long day, but i knew she had great doctors who have performed these surgeries thousands of times...

very capable hands for a very capable girl..

2:45pm update

i just spoke with dr. jeffrey... the mastectomy and port removal went perfectly. trish is doing great, and her vitals are strong and normal.

surgery began late, around 1:00pm and finished up around 2:15pm.

trish is now in the hands of dr. lee, and he will begin the reconstruction portion of surgery, which includes a technique called a latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flap (some graphic content). dr. lee will basically take skin from trish's back, and rotate it around to her right breast area (the previously cancerous side) to provide better (softer, thicker, more elastic) skin to work with.

since trish's right side chest skin underwent radiation, it left her with skin that isn't as thick and elastic as normal skin. by borrowing skin from her back, this will eleviate any potential issues of the tissue expanders breaking through her weak skin.

since her left side wasn't exposed to the radiation, her skin is fine on that side, and doesn't need any extra care.

anyhow, dr. jeffrey said everything went well.. trish should be out in another 4 hours or so.. (~ 6:30pm) we may get to see her in about 5 hours, after she comes out of recovery and wakes up..

all is well here.. thanks everyone for the phone calls, texts, emails, comments on the blog, facebook, etc...

12:00pm update

surgery has begun...

11:30am update

ria and i just left trish in the fine hands of the docs here at stanford. dr. lee, trish's plastic surgeon, came in went over the process again, and marked trish up with a game plan of where the incisions will be and whats going where...

the anesthesiologists came in to give trish her paravertebral blocks, a type of local anesthesia near the spinal cord that will numb the surrounding nerves in her back and up through to her chest..

so everything is pretty much on schedule.. the waiting game begins...

the next update will probably be in a few hours after dr. jeffrey has completed the mastectomy...

trish appreciates all the thoughts and prayers, thanks everyone

10:30am update

trish went in with the nurse at 10:30am to get changed, and prepped for her surgery.

she is a little nervous (cmon, who likes surgery?), but she is feisty and ready to go..

on the drive to stanford this morning, we were heading down 280 and there was a truck swerving across the second lane, slow lane and onto the shoulder. trish got on the horn and called 911 to report a possible drunk driver...

needless to say she has her game face on, theres no screwing around today.

ria and i will get to see her again in about 30 minutes before they take her to the operating room

8:30am update

hi everyone,

when we had our pre-op appointment yesterday, the doctors informed us surgery wouldn't be until 11:40am today, and we need to arrive at 9:40am.

this is much better than getting there around 5am, and it allowed us to sleep in a bit..

so trish is in the shower, caden is eating breakfast and getting ready for school.. another normal morning around here...

so far.

more updates later

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

uno mas tectomy...

trish and her gang of ladies finished up the 3 Day walk on sunday. the closing ceremonies on marina green were emotional and inspiring as 1500+ women and men paraded into the final celebration of the weekend. the san francisco walk raised millions of dollars towards breast cancer research, and the 16 girls of trisha's trailblazers account for nearly $39,000 of that total.

trish walked all 20 miles on the first day, and averaged 12-15 miles each of the last two days. she had a great time with her teammates and all the other walkers she met along the way. trish is proud of herself, and so am i.

tomorrow morning, 10/7/2009, we will get to the stanford cancer at at 5am to check in for trish's surgery. trish is nervous, but is comforted by the fact that is is essentially elective proactive surgery, and not reactive to cancer. trish had a mammogram two weeks ago just so the surgeons knew what they were getting into. just as we had expected, the mammogram confirmed no signs of cancer in trish's left breast. its always nice to have reaffirmation, even when you are pretty damn sure of something.

today we will head to the cancer center at 1:30pm for a pre-op appointment with the anesthesiologist just to run some checks to make sure trish is healthy enough for surgery. considering she just walked nearly 60 miles, im sure she will have no issues passing the tests.

we expect trish to spend two nights in the hospital (wednesday and thursday) and return home on friday. there is a chance she will be released on thursday depending on how she is doing, but we are expecting the former, but will be pleasantly surprised if the later holds true.

so if dr. jeffrey and dr. lee are reading this blog post, make sure you two get a good nights rest. i dont want to hear the two of you comparing notes on tonight's episode of sons of anarchy, because that's way past your bedtime... you have an important patient coming in on the morning, and we need you to bring your A game. ;)

ill keep everyone posted throughout the day tomorrow.

thanks for checking in...

Friday, October 2, 2009

the difference a year makes...

caden and i received a call from trish at 4:30pm today, and she successfully completed Day 1 of the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk and has the blisters to prove it.

20 miles down, 40 to go.

trish is looking forward to relaxing at the tent city set up on san francisco's marina green, and hanging out with the girls tonight. while she does plan on walking the next two days, it is not her goal to complete the 20 miles each day.

with surgery only five days away, she does need to conserve some energy for surgery and the subsequent recovery. needless to say, trish was determined to complete Day One of the 3 Day, and she did!

to everyone who was involved today, you should be congratulated...

the difference a year makes...

2008 3 Day Walk, a spectator

2009 3 Day Walk, a participant

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the coming week...

sooo... since hectic/busy/crazy is basically normal around here, i guess we will continue on that way

on wednesday, october 7th, trish will undergo her next surgery. as mentioned in earlier blog posts, this surgery will include a prophylactic (preventative) mastectomy on her left side, and tissue expanders inserted in both sides. she is expected to spend two nights in the hospital, and will be in recovering mode for a couple weeks after that.

so.. before trish is cooped up in bed recovering, she is gonna for a little walk with some friends..

on friday morning, october 2nd, trish and her team of 16 friends & family, will begin the Susan G Komen 3 Day Walk in San Francisco. over the course of friday, saturday and sunday the walkers will cover 20 miles a day for a total of 60 miles through san francisco and marin counties.

Trish received a lot of support and motivation from watching the girls last year, and she was determined to participate this year. the girls have raised nearly $35,000 so far. They are currently at 70% of their team fund raising goal, so if you are interested in contributing to breast cancer research, please donate to one of The Trisha's Trailblazers teammates who have not yet reached their goal.

Trisha's Trailblazers 3 Day Website

i wish all the girls luck and hope they have a great time. caden and i will be heading up to san francisco's marina green on sunday for the closing ceremonies, feel free to join us if you like. (here are some pictures i took from last years closing ceremonies)

Good luck to the Trailblazers!

Trisha Faggiolly
Racquele Welsh
Kim Abbott
Kim Balsama
Amy Bloom
Ria Faggiolly
Rachelle Fochetti
Annamarie Franceschi
Felicia Hall
Jane Knynenburg
Ginger Mallas
Aimee Patten
Angel Salazar-Brooks
Judy Spooner
Stacie Starr
Vicki Webb

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

extra, extra...

so i just got off the phone with michelle, an editor with the san jose mercury news.

she called to clear up some last minutes details, and said the article featuring how FamiliesCAN helps families such as ours, will be on the newsstands tomorrow morning.

in a post two weeks ago, i wrote about how trish and i were interviewed
by joe rodriguez of the san jose merc.
joe, and photo journalist nhat v. meyer, joined us at the stanford university medical center while trish was undergoing a bone scan.

i look forward to reading the article over a nice cup of coffee in the morning....

i will post a link to the article when it is published to the mercury website, but i urge everyone to go out and support the local newspaper and buy a copy or two.

thanks for checking in, hope you had a nice long weekend..

Thursday, September 3, 2009

bone density study at UCSF...

trish returned to UCSF for the first time since we received our second opinion from dr. alvarado in April of 2008.

fortunately, this time trish didn't not go up there for a diagnosis. trish was asked to be a part of a bone density research study being performed at UCSF. so this morning she headed up to the city for the test. unfortunately, they could not give her the test because she took the bone scan test last week at stanford, and the radioactive dye she was injected with can screw with the results of the bone density test at UCSF...

sooo... they took trish's blood and did a few other tests, but will reschedule the actual bone density test in a few weeks, after the dye has worked itself out of trish's body completely.

its a really nice change to be able to contribute to research, and not be a part of the treatment...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

consultation with dr. lee, plastic surgeon...

this morning we met with dr. gordon lee, the surgeon who will be performing trish's reconstruction.

we met with dr. lee in october of last year and learned of our choices, so today was more a refresher for us, but more importantly for dr. lee to examine trish and check out the canvas he has to work with.

during the upcoming surgery, dr. lee will follow dr. jeffrey's mastectomy and insert tissue expanders on both sides of trish. the tissue expanders are the first step of the reconstruction process, and will be later swapped out for implants months down the road.

expanders are basically implants that have the ability to be filled on the weekly basis. they are inserted behind the muscle and filled up with saline to a volume that the skin can handle. every week or two, trish will return to the dr. lee's office so the expanders can be filled more, thus expanding the skin even more.

the whole point is to stretch/expand the skin to the point of final implant size. depending on the final size desired, this is a process that can take weeks or months.

once the expanders are filled to the desired size, they are left alone for the body to adjust to the final size and a final surgery is scheduled to remove the expander and replace them with implants. we anticipate the second surgery to be somewhere in the May 2010 time frame.

as for this upcoming surgery, we are hoping for it to be during the week of Oct 5th. trish doesn't want to be in recovering mode for caden's 3rd birthday that is coming up at the end of september. but ultimately we are at the mercy of dr. jeffrey and dr. lee coordinating their schedules, and since trish is no longer "cancerous", she slides down the totem pole a bit..

thanks for checking in...

Monday, August 31, 2009

consultation with dr. jeffrey, surgical oncologist...

today we met with trish's surgical oncologist, dr. stephanie jeffrey. dr. jeffrey is the surgeon that performed trish's first mastectomy back in november, and she will perform trish's second surgery as well.

the visit today was just a consultation to go over what will happen during surgery. since we have been through this once before, we have a pretty good idea of whats to come.

the differences this time around are several:
- no lymphnode removal (trish had 18 removed during the last rodeo)
- less skin removed, since its not a cancerous area, the removal will not be as eloborate
- reconstruction will immediately follow on both sides, by Dr. Gordon Lee
- dr. jeffrey will also remove trish's medi-port, the device implanted in her chest so she could receive chemo (trish could have removed this earlier, but it would have resulted in another, seperate surgery... this way, its all done at the same time)

its was great to see dr. jeffrey, as we have not seen her since the removal of trish's drain tubes months and months ago.

tommorrow we will be back at the cancer center to have a consultation with trish's plastic surgeon, dr. lee.

thanks for checking in...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

cancers a beach...

trish had the opportunity to attend a luncheon today down at the Seascape Resort in Aptos. the event was hosted by Jackie Whittier Kubicka, the founder of FamiliesCAN.

Jackie and Eduarda, the Director of FamiliesCAN, brought together a dozen or so women who have battled cancer recently. trish had a really nice time meeting others who have gone through similar situations, and hearing everyone's individual story.

the weather has been really hot around here, so caden and i took the drive down to the seaside with trish. while trish was at the resort enjoying an nice lunch with the ladies, caden and i hit up the local farmers market and then went down to the beach to find some shells and build sand castles.

it was a great afternoon on the beach...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

the bone scan results...

we received the results of trish's bone scan from last monday, and she continues to be 100% cancer FREE... :)

this gives trish the piece of mind she was looking for.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the summer wrap up....

i hope everyone is enjoying their summer. i apologize for not posting in a while, but ill try and get you up to date in this post...

i think the best way is to go with a reverse chronological order, starting with our trip to stanford today to get trish a bone scan.

trish has experienced some soreness in her lower back over the past several months, so for some piece of mind to make sure there is no cancer floating around in her bones, she decided to have another bone scan performed. we headed over to stanford at 9:30am this morning so trish could get part 1 of the scan, a shot of radioactive solution injected into her arm... the fluid circulates through trish's body and coats her bones and the scan later in the day will create a picture showing the density of her bones. so... we then went home for a few hours and returned at 3pm for part 2 of the procedure, the scan itself...

trish and i we were joined by three people today:

- Eduarda Francisco, the Director of familiesCAN. familiesCAN was founded in 2000 by Jackie Whittier Kubicka and helps families affected by cancer with financial support.

- Joe Rodriguez, a columnist with the San Jose Mercury News

- Nhat V. Meyer, a photojournalist with the San Jose Mercury News

Joe is writing an article for the SJ Mercury News about families who've been helped by familiesCAN, and Eduarda asked us if we would like to contribute to the article.

this summer we have continued on the crazy ride that began back in 2008. in april, after nearly 10 years with HP, i was laid off. (if you know of a company looking for a Sales Engineer, let me know...;)

in the second week of june, we were informed that trish's long term disability insurnace was cancelled, effective two weeks earlier... even though trish has several surgeries and recovery periods ahead of her, she was deemed non disabled thus eliminating not only her, but caden's medical benefits as well.

so... it was a interesting few months to say the least. even in this crappy economy, getting laid off came as a surprise... but losing trish and caden's health benefits was the most stressful point in the summer, at least for myself.

not really knowing what our options were, we met with Beatriz Bravo, an oncology social worker at the stanford cancer center. Bea has helped us tremendously, and introduced us to Eduarda and the familesCAN organization, Bea also helped us get trish enrolled in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program offered by Medi-Cal.

so the good news is trish now has medical coverage for all things breast cancer related... the bad news is that anything "un" cancer related, including caden, is not covered.

to get caden medical coverage until i find a new job, we applied for the Healthy Families Program in june. i spoke with a manager there last week, and they are so far behind with paperwork that they just began processing applications submitted in may. sooo... another stress point.

Eduarda and fine folks at familesCAN helped us out with our mortgage payment, and for that we are very grateful. the help of familiesCAN has made the summer a little less stressful. it is a great organization funded by the The Ronald Whittier Family Foundation and has helped hundreds of families in santa clara and san mateo counties.
trish will be attending a ladies retreat hosted by familiesCAN on sunday down in Seascape.

Bone scan aside, today was an enjoyable day. we talked with Joe, Nhat and Eduarda during trish's bone scan (they were in the room with trish and i and watched the scan), and afterward we grabbed something to drink in the cafeteria and had a nice conversation covering the last 16 months of our lives.

the article will be published in the San Jose Mercury News sometime in the next couple of weeks, and i will be sure to let everyone know so they can go out and grab a copy.

sooo.... while this summer has been somewhat stressful with job interviews, dealing with medical insurance, etc... overall, it has been a nice one.

my mini sabbatical has given me a chance to hang out more with trish and caden and get some stuff done around the house (albeit, not as much as trish would like :).
i was able to dust off the woodworking tools and build caden a train table for all his toys (and hopefully keep the coffee table cleaner). i also built a chicken coop for the three new additions to our household... yep... trish came home with a few baby chicks from caden's nursery school, and now they have grown to the point where we are expecting them to lay eggs very soon.

we enrolled caden in a summer session at his nursery school, and that gave him a good chance to hang out with kids both older and younger than him. he will be in the three's class when school starts back up in september.

trish, caden and i took a nice little trip up to pt. reyes for the weekend, and to escape the headaches that awaited us at home... it was a great little getaway, and we had the chance to stop at places along the way that we have driven by for years, but never took the time to stop at..

i started playing softball again, after taking last year off to take care of trish... ive played for the past 12 years, so i missed it. we won the championship, so that was icing on the cake.

trish's sister yvonne, and our niece and nephew, amber and marijn, flew out from the netherlands to spent 5 weeks here in california. caden loved getting to know his cousins and looked forward to playing with them everyday.

the san francisco 3 Day Walk is coming up on October 2 - 4, 2009, and trish and her team of 15 other girls have been actively training and raising funds towards their team goal of $50,000. trish is over 100% of her fund raising goal, but if you are interested in donating to the team, please choose a member who is not yet at 100%.

so all in all, its been a really nice summer. we are getting use to dealing with crap around here, so its actually been pretty normal. i dont think anything really surprises us anymore, but i gotta say the camping trips, trips to the beach, bbq's and parties with friends and family have made the crappy stuff easier to deal with.

trish, caden and i are all doing really well, feeling great and 100% healthy and cancer free...

not sure if caden is growing quicker than trish's hair or if its the other way around, but they are both growing quickly.

we are getting closer to trish's next surgery, so i will continue to update the blog as we get closer. there isn't a confirmed date yet, but we will be meeting with her plastic surgeon soon for another round of consultations.

check back soon for more information on the upcoming article in the SJ Merc...

thanks for checking in...

trish and caden at the marin headlands...

caden trying to catch his chickens...

caden and trish catching butterflies...

caden and i at pt. reyes...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

relay for life @ paly...

trish's healing touch partner, chanda, put together a team for the 2009 American Cancer Society's Relay For Life at Palo Alto High School.

chanda has been leading her team, The Hamsters, for many years, but this year she invited trish to come and walk with "Survivor Lap" during the opening ceremonies.

trish, ria, caden and i headed to paly this morning and joined in the festivities. after the intial survivor lap, caden wanted to walk a lap... so trish and caden took another trip around the track.

Friday, June 5, 2009


happy birthday trish!
love caden & oak

Saturday, May 30, 2009

relay for life @ sequoia

a friend of trish's, andriana gasparini helped organize a group of girls to participate in this years American Cancer Society's Relay For Life at Sequoia High School.

andriana's team, Team Pink - Woodside High School & Alums, raised a lot of money for cancer research and programs. andriana asked trish if she would like to come and walk during the "lighting of the luminaries". this is the time at sundown when the path that the walk took place on is lined with candle luminaries dedicated to those who have been touched by cancer.

it was a pretty emotional sight. nightime on the sequoia high school campus, hundreds of luminaries lit the path that meandered in and out of the redwood grove adjacent to the football field.

the girls of Team Pink were nice enough to dedicate one of the luminaries to trish, so trish, ria, jane, caden and myself made the trip over there to walk for a bit.

congrats to the girls of Team Pink for being on of the top fundraisers for the redwood city event.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

herceptin today, gone tommorrow...

today is trish's last herceptin infusion!!!

on 5/20/2008, trish began her year long course of herceptin treatments, and today, 365 days later, she is taking her final exam.

we arrived at the stanford cancer center at 9:15am, and got settled into the almost window seat of B6. her typical trifecta of premeds (benadryl, pepcid and decadron) will be dripping soon.

trish has really built up a nice friendship with a lot of the nurses in the infusion treatment area, so she decided to bake her butt off last night and bring in a huge basket of goodies... peanut butter bars, wine cake, brownies, cupcakes and cookies.

so... aside from a little bit of a cold over the weekend, trish's is doing really, really well.

trisha held a fundraiser last friday night for the 3 Day Walk and raised a few hundred dollars towards her fund raising goal.
SF 3Day

the 2009 San Francisco Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk will be he held October 2 - 4, 2009

trish's is currently at 25% of her personal fund raising goal of $3000

as a team, the 13 ladies on Trisha's Trailblazers have raised over $7000 so far this year.

if you are interested in joining trish and the rest of the girls in this years walk, please contact Trisha to find out how you can register, its not too late.

if you would like to help in trisha's fund raising efforts, donations can be made through trisha's personal 3 Day page

well, its a another great day here. another milestone reached. another step closer to normalcy.

congrats trish, i love you.

thanks all for checking in, and the support you have given us over the past year

a short video of trish's unshort hair..
taken this morning at the cancer center

Sunday, April 26, 2009

vote for trish for SF Giants Bat Girl

vote for trishMLB (major league baseball) and the susan g. komen foundation have teamed up to promote breast cancer awareness.

each team will have an honorary bat girl during the mother's day game, in trish's case she has chosen the hometown SF Giants.

to vote, please visit the mlb's webpage.

trish's nickname is "0h, say it aint so"
(the "O" is actually a zero, if you search for it)

she is currently listed on the third page

thanks a lot


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

1 year and a leap day ago...

a handful of dates will forever be etched into my mind, today is one of those dates.

april 7th, 2008 is the day trish's biopsy results came back.

april 7th, 2008 is the day in which the anxiety from the biopsy became a reality.

april 7th, 2008 is the day trish was diagnosed with breast cancer.

for me, it was a day that began at the SF Giants Opening Day game and ended with an emotional night of wondering how the hell my 32 year old pregnant wife could have cancer. shock, disbelief, anger, helplessness... it was all there.

today, out of pure coincidence, we are heading to the stanford cancer center for trish's 9 week ROUTINE checkup with dr. carlson. afterwards trish and her mom will head upstairs to the infusion treatment area for her tri-weekly dose of herceptin.

this past year brought many sleepless nights full of sadness and angst, but ultimately happiness revealed itself. Happiness when i was able to read these words, the post-surgery biopsy report, to trish on November 21, 2008:

No residual carcinoma is seen in the right mastectomy specimen. No tumor is seen in eighteen total lymph nodes (0/18)

cancer free.

both of us know how fortunate we are to have the caring friends, family and strangers who helped us get through this past year. the groceries, the dinners, the cards, the emails, the blog notes, the flowers, the healing touch, the walks, the rides, the babysitting, the hugs, the tears, the thoughts, the mojo and prayers allowed us to focus on what mattered most, trisha.... and it worked.

thank you again.

when trish was newly diagnosed, she quickly learned how helpful it was to talk with cancer veterans, women who previously ventured down the same path. it helped trish, IT HELPED US, better understand the road ahead. its a time of many questions, not enough answers, difficult choices, worry and sacrifices.

trish knows the importance of having someone who can relate on the same level, and now she is paying this forward. lately she has been given the opportunity to talk with others who themselves are recently diagnosed. trish has always seemed to play "counselor" to friends and family, but i think she may have found her specialty.

life has been good.

trish continues to do tremendously well and today's checkup is just that, a checkup. the herceptin will go smoothly (but groggy) as it always does. caden is 2 years, 7 months old now, seems to grow and inch a day and wakes up each morning with new words in his vocabulary (most real, some we aren't quite sure of). he knows his abc's, is doing well counting and learning his numbers and he is beginning to use his potty chair.

recently, caden saw a wedding picture of trish with her longer hair, and without skipping a beat he pointed and said "momma". as trish's hair continues to grow back, even caden knows things are closer to getting back to normal.

myself, i will be accompanying my beautiful wife to dr. carlson's at 9am, and then i am hopping the train in palo alto to head up to the SF Giants Opening Day game... this year knowing trish is 100% cancer free.


thanks for checking in.. and thanks again for the generous support over the past 366 days.

tahoe, march 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

happy st. patricia's day...

years back we may have awoken at the crack of dawn and headed to the local pub for some green beer... needless to say, times have changed a bit.

it wasn't the wee hours of the morning, but st. patty and i headed to stanford this morning for a few shots and thee ole pint of herceptin...
(trish hates being called patty/pat and this will probably result in a kick to my crotch later)

the jameson, bushmills and baileys have been swapped out for pepcid, decadron and benadryl...
and that green beer chaser has been traded in for the herceptin.

im not saying the nurses woke up early to sling a few back, but things are running a little slow around here today... we arrived around 9:40am and the herecptin didn't get going till 11:30am-ish. if there is any luck of the trish on our side, we will be heading out of here around 1pm today.

trish did get a nice surprise today, as the cancer center nurses were walking around and handing out green vases full of daffodils to all the Survivors.

trish is doing great. she is recovering very well from the radiation. all the blisters have dried up and gone away, and her skin has shed that winter coat to reveal some nice new (albeit tender) skin. the new baby skin is a little itchy, but nothing comparable to what she dealt with during the 6 weeks of radiation.

trish's next herceptin appointment, and visit with doc o'carlson will be three weeks from today... April 7th, 2009.

this is a pretty significant date, as it is 366 days after trish was first diagnosed on April 7th, 2008.

anyhow... thanks for checking in.
here are a couple pics from today, i didn't have the real camera with me, so the crappy blackberry pics will have to do for now.

who needs green beer when ya have green herceptin...

Survivor daffodils

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Mas

trish graduated from radiation today.. and she has a diploma to prove it (seriously)...

her last dose went smoothly, and her radiation team congratulated her on finishing up.

dr. horst met with us and basically said to relax and she will see us in a coupla/few months..

we met with the nurse to go over some skin care procedures for trish's blisters, but other than that... its the last time we need to go downstairs!

so whats on tap...

trish continues on her tri-weekly herceptin for a another couple of months. we aren't exactly sure the end date, but its 2-3 months away..

we will continue our visits with dr. carlson every 9 weeks.

trish next surgery (left side mastectomy, and tissue expanders in both sides) will be no sooner than 6 months away. they want trish's body to heal up, and her skin go back to normal before they do anything else..

after that surgery, trish will keep the expanders in for probably at least 6 months before having the final reconstructive surgery...

so.. another two surgeries in the coming year, but beginning around october.. caden's birthday is in september, and she doesn't want to be recovering during that time... herceptin is coming to an end here soon, and radiation is a thing of the past.

slowly but surely we are getting things crossed off the To Do list..

trish is feeling good physically, excited emotionally, and right now is hosting the library moms & kids over for a play date.

thanks for checking in

Monday, March 2, 2009

¡ Una Mas !

back at the radiation factory today..

fresh off the 1 week vacation prescribed by dr. horst, trish was able to get a taste of the linear accelerator today.

doc horst took a gander at trish's blisters, and since they are pretty much dried up, decided to proceed with the radiation treatment..

tomorrow will be trish's 28th and final dose of radiation!

three three shall set her free

as much fun as radiation is, the highlight of the day goes to running into trish's (former chemo) buddy, christine, who was at the radiation joint for a checkup.

christine, who finished chemo in september and radiation in december, looks great and has a nice lush head of hair.

trish and christine haven't seen each other in while (although they have talked on the phone), so it was good to see the ladies yapping away, comparing hair and getting caught up..

thats it from here... thanks for checking in

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

still 2 2 go

soooo.. trish headed off to her second to last radiation treatment yesterday, so we thought.

dr. horst took a look at trish's blistering skin and decided to give trish a week off from radiation rather than irritate her skin even more, and possibly pop the blisters.

there is maybe a 1/2 dozen blisters, and they are pretty small.. id say about 1/4 the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil, but they are annoying...
especially when trish's skin is really itchy (poison oak like she says), and she cant really scratch much without popping a blister

so the good news... no radiation for 7 days

the bad news... still two more sessions to go

the gooder news..

we are back at the cancer center today for trish's tri-weekly herceptin, and that means trish wont have to double dip the radiation and herceptin today..

we got her about 9:30am and got to the window seat around 10am.
nurse bev is working with trish today and she got trish's pre-med cocktails flowing.

the herceptin will hopefully begin before noon, and we should be home around 2pm

thanks for checking in

Friday, February 20, 2009

2 2 go

trish finished up the week with her third to last radiation treatment today...

she will be completely finished with her radiation this coming tuesday, the 24th.
(intially i thought it would be monday, but due to the presidents day holiday this week, she got an extra day off)

tuesday is also another herceptin day, so even though she is graduating from radiation it will be another long day at the office. she doesn't meet with dr. carlson next week, so that should speed up the day a little.
nonetheless, it will probably be another 5 hour day.

her skin is getting redder and redder, and tenderer and tenderer but she is dealing well with it. the itchiness bugs her a lot, but i think the sticky clothes is on top of the "what pisses me off" list.
trish lathers herself up with plenty of Medline Remedy lotion and aloe, and because of that, her clothing likes to stick to her skin when its all lubed up..

other than that, she is hanging in there and doing really well.

trish went to her first 3 Day Walk meeting last night down in sunnyvale. the walk isnt till the end of summer, but this was one of the first organizational meetings.

when the folks at the meeting found out she is a Survivor, they gave her a standing ovation. several people even came up to trish to chat, not because they know her, but because they recognized trish from last years walk, when she was on the sidewalk cheering people on just after the opening ceremonies...

trish is excited for this years walk.. last year she had nearly 20 women (and man) walking in her honor... she vowed she would walk this year, and she is gonna do it..

thanks for checking in.. have a good weekend

trish cheering on the walkers @ The SF 3 Day 2008

Sunday, February 8, 2009

17 down, 11 to go

hi everyone, sorry for not posting for a while.

trish is well past the 1/2 point of her radiation treatment, and looks like she will be finishing up on monday february 23rd. that means she has 11 more appointments to go.

her skin is been holding up pretty well. she is getting pink, but not really sunburn red, at least not yet. she is a little itchy, but has been applying plenty of lotion and aloe every day and that seems to be helping. she will probably toss in hydro-cortisone cream this week for the itchiness, but so far so decent.

trish thinks the radiation is slowing her down a bit, but lately she has had her hands full. my work sent me to the east coast for two weeks, so trish has been juggling a lot the last 14 days. she had help from our families and friends, but some early mornings and late nights can make for really long days. toss in some preschool, some art classes, story times, radiation everyday, etc.. and it can tire anyone out.

hopefully now that im back, she can get caught up on some sleep (as she is doing right now), and finish up the last 11 days of radiation strong.

she has quezy for a couple weeks, and it might be a variety of things. the radiation oncologist said trish may get some nauseousness from radiation, but due to the radiations location its not likely. it may be be a combination of being sick.. tired.. fatigued... and i was sick prior to leaving.
trish stopped using a new face lotion, and seems to be feeling better.. so who knows, but she is feeling better.

trish did have her tri-weekly dose of herceptin this past tuesday, the 2nd. unfortunately i wasn't able to be there with her, but trish's mom was there to join on a very long day.

- she met with dr. carlson for the first time in 9 weeks in the morning.
- her herceptin infusion was in the afternoon
- radiation was at 3:15pm, albeit trish was a little late to radiation because the herceptin ran longer than planned.
- and the day was capped of with bring caden to a play date

thanks for checking in... trish is doing well, and i have no doubt she will finish up these next 11 radiation appointments strongly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

5 down, 23 to go

trish had her 5th radiation session today.

so far her skin is doing fine, no redness or irritation yet.. but we expect it to catch up with her about 1/2 way through the remaining sessions.

it looks like from here on out, her appointments will be at 3:15pm which works out really good. caden begins nursery school next week, and as with his other classes (art, gym, etc) everything is in the morning...
so 3:15pm will allow trish to do caden fun time in the morning and radiation fun time in the afternoon while caden is down for his nap.

each appointment has been very quick, in and out in about 15 minutes.. a real nice change from the typical doctor appointments.

so far so good.. thanks for checking in

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

1 down, 27 to go

this evening was trish's first encounter with radiation...

we got to stanford around 5:30pm for trish's 5:45pm appointment.

at 5:40pm, trish's radiation specialist brought her to linear accelerator #11 to get her positioned and ready to.

i think it was 5:46pm when trish was done and heading back to the locker room to change.

we knew it would be relatively quick, but i think we were surprised at just how quick with went..

so far so good.. we picked up some of the recommended soap and lotion from the pharmacy on the way out, and headed back to our little guy that continues to leave his cookies laying around the house... several times.

trish is feeling a little better but not totally normal.
hopefully both of them will be soon.

thanks for checking in

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

more, more, more radiation planning... and toss in a dash of herceptin while you're at it

so yesterday, monday jan 12th, trish and i headed back to the folks downstairs for a follow up (3rd) radiation planning session..

basically the session was to double check the measurements and the plan they crafted last week.

trish was put under a machine that is similar to the radiation machine, but this was an x-ray machine... they check the measurements, double checked, and had dr. horst come in to sign off on everything. at the end, the radiation specialist, kerry, gave trish her third tattoo...

the tattoo trifecta is now in play.

trish woke up early yesterday morning feeling really crappy...
a little fever, sore throat, achy.. typical flu stuff.. so the planning session yesterday was pretty much a struggle for her, but she got through it. she rested up yesterday afternoon/evening and began feeling better.

she has been doing a lot lately, and i think bringing caden to birthday parties, art classes, gym classes, etc.. landed her with a little bit of the flu.

so we both went to sleep early last night to get caught up on some rest... then around 2am caden decided to start tossing his cookies.. so we got him out of his crib, and brought him in with us... an hour later, he was tossing again... all in all, we saw some cookies 4 times last night, in about a 5 hour span.
for good measure he tossed em again right before we left the house this morning to go back to stanford. so we got a sick little guy on our hands as well.

soo.. that brings us to today...
trish is feeling better than yesterday, but i think she would be feeling much, much better if she got even a little bit of sleep last night.

today is her standard 'every three week' dose of herceptin... to make it even more exciting, we have yet another, another, another, another radiation planning session today during the middle of the infusions. we arrived at stanford this morning at 9am for her infusion. she is currently hooked up to her typical pre-drugs, and when they are done, we need to head down to radiation at 10:30am for the final planning session.

todays session is basically to double check what they did yesterday.
yesterdays session was to double check what they did last week..

so its makes it a little better knowing that so much precaution is taken to make sure everything is perfect.

the first part of the double checking should take 30 minutes, and the next 30 minutes will be spent with the nurses going over skin care, diet, etc... that trish should abide to during the radiation treatment...

so hopefully that will be done by 11:30am, so we can get back upstairs to the infusion lab to start the herceptin infusion...

we had hoped they could start trish's herceptin, and we could go down to the radiation with trish's IV of herceptin in tow... but i guess the hospital has some crazy rule about walking around unattended with some crazy, powerful, toxic drugs hanging off of ya, so that plan was shot down quickly..

its pre-drugs for now...
in about 1/2 hour we will head down to radiation...
about an hour after that we will head back up for herceptin..

another crazy day, but we are use to them...

more updates later

10:40am update:

part 1 of the radiation planning is done... trish got on the machine, got some xrays and met the team she will work with everyday... claire, elaine & kevin.

we just received the schedule for this week's radiation treatments...
wed: 5:45pm
thurs: 5:45pm
fri: 5:00pm

trish prefers an appointment around 1pm, but as things open up, our times will be shifted. as long as the appointments are in the afternoon, trish will be open in the mornings to bring caden to gym, art and preschool when it starts in a couple weeks.

we are now waiting to meet with the nurses to go over skin care, etc...

11:15am update:
all done downstairs. we met with the nurse to go over some skin care soaps, lotions, deodorants, etc..
and now we are back in the ITA for trish's herceptin infusion. that should get going shortly, and we should be outta here in about 90 minutes..

1:00pm update:

all done, and we are home... trish is resting, and we will be back tommorrow at 5:45pm for trish's first encounter with the linear accelerator..

here is a link to stanford's radiation oncology site

below is a link to a video of what radiation "looks like"...
its like a big ol x-ray machine that hovers around you and stops at exact points to deliver the radiation. trish will be exposed to the radiation for less than a minute, the rest of the time is getting trish setup on the machine and properly placed.


Monday, January 5, 2009

more radiation planning...

trish and i took our first trip of the new year over to stanford this morning.

for the first time we took the stairs... down...

the lower level of the cancer center is where the radiation department is located, and today was an appointment for a CT-scan and to get trish prepped for the radiation that will begin probably next wednesday.

jackie, one of the radiation specialists, brought trish in for a CT-scan of her torso. the CT-scan itself only took a few minutes, but jackie took some time to get trish 'fitted' for radiation. she had trish lay down on a bag of liquid styrofoam that slowly hardened to conform to trish's body. this mold will be used by trish for all her radiation treatments, and will allow trish's body to be precisely positioned for each of her 28 treatments.

dr. horst came in and took a pen and drew on trish exactly where she wanted reference points for the radiation. jackie followed up by giving trish her first tattoos ever... they are smaller than a pin head, but they are very important and will be used to align the machine during each of trish's radiation visits.

all in all, the day was pretty quick, smooth and painless.. well, except for the tattoos, trish may say otherwise.

we will head back to stanford next week on the 13th to finish up the planning process, and trish will begin radiation the following day, wednesday the 14th...

thats about it from here... happy new year

Monday, December 29, 2008

tis the season for radiation consultations, fa la la la la, la la la la.

so earlier today trish and i headed back to our favorite cancer center in the world.

we met for the first time with trish's radiation oncologist, dr. kate horst. although we had not met dr. horst yet, she was familiar with trish's case as she was one of the many doctors consulted last month prior to trish's surgery.

we had a pretty good idea of what to expect with the radiation, but dr. horst filled in all the blanks of the hows, whens, whys, wheres, whos etc... we both liked her, and trish is once again in good hands.

trish will have a follow up appointment either this week or next to have a CT scan of her upper torso so the docs can begin planning a radiation regimen tailored to her. the scan will take a half hour or so and it will take the docs about a week to plan trish's treatment schedule.

trish will have a team of 3-4 radiation technicians that will work with her for the duration of the treatment, and dr. horst will be checking in on trish at least once a week. since we will be there 5 days a week for 5 1/2 weeks, it will be nice to have consistent team of people to work with trish and know exactly the particulars of her.

the sessions will be quick, and dr. horst said we should be in and out in about 30 minutes (or the next radiation is free... kidding). the actual radiation dose only takes a minute or two, with more time being spent on the setup/posistioning of trish and the equipment.

side effects may be some sunburn type redness that will gradually fade away and fatigue. the worst is behind trish, and i know she will have no major issues with the radiation... shes a tough one.

so we dont have a definitive date yet, but we assume trish will begin radiation the week of january 12th

thanks for checking in... have a great new years... cant wait to get 2008 over with.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

another day in the ITA...

welcome back herceptin fans...

not too much going on lately in terms of treatment, so there hasn't been much to write about... but we are back at stanford today for a little holiday time herceptin.

we got here around 9:00am, and if all goes well we should be home around noon.

trish had her scheduled every three month ECHO this past wednesday to check her heart's health, and everything came back normal, so we are good to go with the herceptin today.

nurse lea tapped trish's port around 9:30am and the pre-drugs of benadryl and pepcid are flowing.

trish is continuing to do great, her energy level continues to increase and her hair continues to grow. the last few weeks have been filled with shopping, birthday parties, holiday parties, ornament exchanges and meals with friends. last night trish baked a bunch of cupcakes & chocolate nut bark for the nurses here at the infusion treatment area (ITA).

trish started going back to the gym last week. we decided to get a family membership to the PCC . this will work out great... its within walking distance of our house, and they have a sauna & pool that will help with some low impact exercises for trish.

last week's cold front brought a little snowfall up on skyline boulevard above palo alto, so we brought caden up to see his first snow... caden wasn't too impressed.

last night we headed to eucalyptus avenue in san carlos to check out the phenomenal two block display of christmas lights... caden was impressed.

we still need to bring caden to see santa, and we are gonna do that either today or tommorrow... and if this year is like the previous 2 years, he wont be impressed :)

so thats about it from here...

happy holidays to everyone, and thanks for checking in...

trish & caden checking out the snow at the
monte bello open space preserve

caden & i

the big guy & the little guy

Monday, December 15, 2008

another checkup with dr. j

earlier this afternoon we headed off to stanford for a quick checkup at with dr. jeffrey.

the checkup itself was nice and quick, and the doc thinks trish's progress over the past month has been terrific. the checkup was sped up a little bit when the fire alarm went off, and we weren't sure if we would have to evacuate or not...

so dr. jeffrey quickly got to work and examined trish. evacuating woulda sucked, as we had already been waiting in the lobby for 2 1/2 hours for our appointment, so we didn't need any more delays.

anyhow, trish can now lift her arm above her head without much discomfort, and pretty much has her full range of motion back. she is back to lifting caden up, and i think thats what she missed the most.

so all is well in recoveryville. dr. jeffrey doesn't need to see trish again for another 6 months, but we will be meeting with her before then to plane for surgery #2.

this wednesday will be trish's scheduled ECHO, and next tuesday we will be back for some egg nog spiked herceptin...

so thats it from here..

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a quickie..

haven't posted in a while, cause not much has been happening since trish's herceptin infusion on december 2nd. not having doctor appointments all the time is kinda nice.

trish has been feeling really good, the soreness is going away with each day, and her range of motion continues to increase.

this past week trish has been able to relax and have and enjoy herself.

her college roommates, ginger and riley, came into town this past weekend and trish was able to get in some quality time with them. all of us headed up to san francisco for some ice skating in union square (caden and i watched), some shopping (caden and i watched) and then some clam chowder on pier 39.

on sunday we heading up hill to skyline to chop down that perfect christmas tree.

our schedule for the coming weeks pretty much looks like this:
- 12/15: checkup with dr. jeffrey
- 12/23: herceptin
- 12/29: consult with the radiation oncologist
- 12/??: another scheduled ECHO of her heart

christmas tree hunting this past sunday

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the 10th reindeer, herceptin...

we met this morning with dr. carlson and his physician assistant kathy...

looks like the doc is just as excited with trish's results as we are, cause he came into the exam room clapping with a big smile on his face.

we talked about trish's progress up to this point, and what we can expect in the coming months...

one thing we learned today is the "1 year of herceptin" trish is continuing on, is retroactive to her first herceptin treatment on may 20th, and not the beginning of the "3 week doses" trish began on october 21st.

so this means trish has 6 more months of herceptin to go, and not the 10 months we initially thought..

dr. carlson also scheduled trish for her standard 3 month ECHO of her heart, and a consult with the radiation oncologist, dr. kathleen horst. not sure when we will meet with dr. horst, but we expect radiation to begin in the next few weeks.

trish will continue on the herceptin every three weeks, but we wont be seeing dr. carlson for another 9 weeks... but we will be back here in 2 weeks to see dr. jeffrey, and those daily radiation appointments will be here before we know it..

after doc carlson we headed up to the ITA... and man, this place is busier than a wal-mart on black friday

around 11:45am trish started on her pre-drugs prior to the herceptin... the benadryl should be kicking in at any moment.

herceptin began around 12:45pm, and should finish up 2:30pm

hopefully we will be heading home in about an hour..
trish is doing great... she is taking a little nap right now, and looking forward to the play date this afternoon at our house..

thanks for checking in