Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a bird in hand is worth two IV's of chemo...

checked back into the infusion center this morning at 8:30am...

we got a little crazy this morning, and took the freeway instead of alameda..
sand hill road exit here we come... home of billion dollar venture capitalists on the road less traveled to chemotown, USA.

its amazing how fast our weeks are going. this is trish's 10th infusion of taxol/herceptin, which leaves her with only two more to go after today.

she will switch to 63 days of FEC + herceptin, but during these 9 weeks, she will only be hooked up to an IV on 12 of those days, and of those 12 days, 6 of them should only be for 30 minutes.

so.. where were we... ahh today...

by 9:00am, nurse denise had the blood draw complete, so we decided to head downstairs for an hour or so and wait on the blood test results..

trish, ria and i headed over to the lucile packard children's hospital cafe to grab some food, and we are now we are sitting outside next to the waterfall...

ria came down to spend about an hour with us this morning.
during this time, she managed to become a foster mother.

this is an ever-developing story that i will be able to milk for weeks...

trish and ria went for a little walk while we were outside, and returned with a bird...
it appears a little baby bird flew itself directly into a wall right in front of some construction workers. being the loving mother ria is, she picked it up off the ground and she took this baby bird under her wing, offering the sweet little tweet some water out of my oatmeal spoon.

the bird, clearly in a state of shock, began to relax within a few minutes of ria's comforting. it was now time to see if the bird was ready to return to the wild...

little tweet, now on its own two legs, stumbled a bit and promptly fell into the water fountain.
with grizzly bear like reflexes, ria quickly snatched the bird out of the water, as if it was a salmon swimming up an alaskan stream...

it was clear the bird wasn't ready to venture off..

as ria was leaving to head home, she decided to give little tweeter one last chance at flight... the construction workers on their coffee break watched with eager anticipation, and cheered the little one on.

and off tweeter went...

at an altitude of about 7 feet, it was off into the great blue sky.... that is, until it bounced off the cancer center's stucco wall 15 feet away..
after a gasp of "uggghhsss" the construction crew fell silent.

tweeter landed in a patch of variegated palms, camouflaged and not easily found.
careful not to step on the rookie flyer, ria headed into the patch on a rescue mission...

the rescue was a success... tweeter was down, but not out..
knowing that a cancer center was no place for a baby bird, ria left to go home to babysit cousin lucas, with tiny tweeter in hand...

so that brings us back to the chemo joint...
trish is sitting in chair C6 today, close to a window.
i would call it the third best seat in the house (there are 6 seats in each room).

its 10:15am and we are still waiting on the blood test results, but they should be back any minute.. ill update you when they come back, and give you the week in review a little later.. and if we have any tweeter updates, ill let you know as well.

trish & ria outside at the waterfall

little tweeter

10:30am update
after traveling home in ria's purse, tweeter is recouping in a basket on ria and judas's porch.

blood counts on trish are back, and good...

blood counts on little tweeter, TBD...

blood counts:

white blood cells, Absolute neutrophil count (ANC):
was 7.44
is 5.7 (1.7 - 6.7 is the desired range)

red blood cells, hematocrit (HCT):
was 28.4
is 29 (highest its been since july 1 treatment)

nurse denise hooked trish up to the pepcid/benadryl/decadron at 10:20am..

with some luck, we could be out of there around 1:30pm today..

more updates later..

11:30am update
the pre-drugs finished about about 30 minutes ago, and trish began on her taxol at 11:15am. this will take about 90 minutes, then she is on to the herceptin and home.

the week in review

not much to talk about in the past week, but ill give it a shot.. (pun intended)

trish and ria headed to whole foods after chemo and did some shopping. aside from being a little loopy, trish usually feels pretty good after chemo. it isn't until she begins the neupogen shots that she starts getting the aches.

back at the stanford cancer center, but no chemo today...
this time it was to meet with plastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Gurtner (scroll down to the third doctor) to discuss various reconstruction options.

surgery is still a ways off, but we would rather discuss the options sooner than later. we already had a good idea of trish's choices, but after talking with Dr. Gurtner, we are a little more knowledgeable of the options, and can ask better questions to other doctors and to those who have gone through similar experiences.

we are looking at two different reconstruction techniques:

1. DIEP Flap, which is similar to a muscle sparing tram-flap, but using newer techniques (very basically put, its a tummy tuck and and the breast is reconstructed with abdominal tissue, but no muscle)
2. silicone or saline implant

the other option is the timing...
both choices can be performed before or after radiation therapy

as with everything, each of the four choices above has their own list of pro's and con's.

and this point there is no hurry to decide, but like i said, we can now make a better educated choice as to what is right for her.

more information on various reconstructive options can be found here

we plan on meeting with the surgical oncologist to discuss the mastectomy aspect of the surgery soon.

thursday night, trish headed to healing touch and had another good session with chanda

the weekend was spent relaxing around the house. trish, caden and i headed downtown redwood city on friday night and had sushi at the Suisha House

trish did some gardening over the weekend, maintaining the tomato, jalapeno and artichoke plants we have in our little garden. we watched a couple movies, went a a couple stores, and that was about it.

trish and caden headed over to maddux park for a play date, and in the evening steve, cerena & lucas had us over a nice dinner.

and that was pretty much it...

trish continues to feel pretty good.. her biggest complaints continue to be the side effects of the nuepogen shots and the itchiness she is getting in her hands.
following the advice of dr. telli, she has been putting benadryl on her hands, and that helps somewhat, but its not a perfect solution.

if she had to be achy or ithcy, i think she would take the aches..

more updates later..

12:45pm update....
12:40pm taxol finished up, and now its herceptin's turn. 1/2 hour and we should be done.

trish's friend, lyndee is hanging out with us this afternoon...
they are talking about whatever it is girls talk about...
but its making trish's last half of the day go much quicker..

getting home around 1:30pm continues to look promising..

2:30pm update...
we are finally home...
but only after a stop at The Dutch Goose for some lunch :)

trish left to go shopping with cerena... go figure

i need to go get an update on tweets..

Trisha & Lyndee

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

how suite it is...

its tuesday again? already?

8:30am: we begin our journey down the boulevard of the fleas, alameda de las pulgas...

8:40am: ahhh... the goose

9:15am: done with the blood draw from newly engaged nurse christy, and heading downstairs to see doc carlson.

9:35am: we got into an exam room, and trish changed into her fine looking baby blue hospital gown

10:20am: dr. mia levy came in and examined trish. we are still waiting on the blood test results, but they should be back shortly.. and then dr. carlson will be in to see her.

so for the ever famous, ever exciting week in review:

after chemo on tuesday, we went camping... yep... camping... roughing it in the great outdoors... the wilderness, bears, living off the land...
steve, cerena & lucas had already taken the RV down to the thousand trails campground in morgan hill, so trish, caden, judas and i headed down there to "rough" it with them...

well for this post, the definition of "roughing it" will include running water, electricity, microwave, tv, swimming pool and of course wireless internet so i could do my work. anyhow, it was fun and relaxing and nice to get away from the house for a couple days. lucas and caden kept busy playing in the dirt, with the dogs, the swimming pool and everything else they could get their hands on. trish was able to relax, not have to worry about doing anything and get caught up on some reading.

we came home from camping in the morning so could go into work, and trish headed to her healing touch appointment in the evening.
the healing touch has been really good to trish. she loves the 1 hour a week spent with her healing touch partner, chanda,
and its really helping her mentally and physically with the effects the chemo/cancer has had on her. she typically comes home emotionally drained, but with a smile.

a tiresome day. fridays and saturdays are trish's worst days...
the chemo seems to catch up with her, and by this time she has taken 3 or 4 of her neupogen shots.
during these days, she more achy than normal, gets tired a little easier and the heat/sun tend to make her hands itch.
regardless, trish spent the morning at baptism class for our nephew lucas (whom she will be the god mother of), and the early afternoon celebrating cooper tozi's 1st birthday party at maddux park. we then planned on hitting up my cousin's graduation party, but by this time i knew trish and caden didn't have it in them...

the rest of the afternoon trish and caden spent snoozing at home, both of them getting caught up on some much needed rest.

sunday: a lazy day around the house... trish watched some chick flick, and in the evening we went over to trish's brother casey & jane's house for a bbq.

monday: nothing too exciting, just some gardening around the house and taking it easy.

tuesday: well... thats today and we are back at it again.

ill provide more updates after we meet with dr. carlson and get the blood results back..

camping in morgan hill

trish and caden at cooper's birthday

udpate numero uno: 11:30am

10:40am: dr. carlson examined trish, and again said he was pleased with the progress and thinks trish is doing great. trish's side effects are relatively minor, and expected. i dont have the numbers, but her blood IS good enough to get chemo.
trish's red counts are around 28, which is low, but dr. carlson isn't too concerned.
he said a transfusion wouldn't be necessary unless her counts were around 22-24, or if trish experiences serious fatigue and shortness of breath.

11:10am: back in the infusion center waiting room

11:25am: seated... well... lying
no seat, but a "suite" today.
it is a busy day in chemoland, and we are in here a little later than normal due to visiting with the doc today.

so... no more window seat... hell, there isn't even a seat available, so we have a private room with a bed in it... no windows, but a nice comfy hospital type bed and a tv...

11:40am: nurse arturo is beginning on trish's pre-drugs...
she will be getting a 1/2 dose of the steroid today, so hopefully this will help her sleep tonight. the decadron seems to keep trish up on tuesday nights, even though the benadryl makes her drowsy during the day.

12:40pm: taxol begins...

blood counts:

white blood cells, Absolute neutrophil count (ANC):
was 6.2
is 7.44 (all time high :) the neupogen is worth it )

red blood cells, hematocrit (HCT):
was 28.6
is 28.4 (low, but stable, her 8 week average is 28.65 )

more updates later...

the suite life...

2:45pm update

2:10pm: taxol done
2:15pm: herceptin begins

should be out of here and on our way home before 3pm

pretty smooth day.. trish has been sleeping for most of it.
hopefully she will be able to fall asleep tonight...

thanks for checking in...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chevy's Fundraiser


I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!!

Mark your calendars. I am hosting a fundraiser to raise
money for the Breast Cancer 3 Day. The event will be held
at the Chevy's in Redwood City, on Thursday, August 14
from 11:00am-9:00pm. All you have to do is come and eat, be
it lunch or dinner, and Chevy's will donate 25% of the
food proceeds to my team "Trisha's Trailblazers." Make sure when
you eat to mention the Breast Cancer 3-Day or bring in the
attached flyer.

We are walking in honor of our friend, Trisha, with the
hope that we can raise money for a cure. Feel free to check
out Trisha's blog at
http://www.trishafaggiolly.blogspot.com or to browse the 3
day website at http://08.the3day.org/site/. You
can also click on the link below to get to my personal page
and find out a
little more about why I walk!

This is a great cause, as breast cancer has touched most of
our lives or will at some time, heaven forbid, so please
forward this on to friends, family, your workplace and
other groups. I want to reach as many people as I can...the
more that attend, the more money we raise to find a cure for
Breast Cancer!!! Together we can take a stand!!!

Thank you
Jeannie Wynne

Support me in the fight against Breast Cancer! I am doing
the Breast Cancer 3-Day... click here

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

chemo sweet chemo

the trifecta is in play.... third week in a row of window seats.
barca-lounger B4 welcomed trish back as if she was an old friend...

ahh chair sweet chair... window sweet window... chemo sweet chemo...

9:15am: seated with nurse gail for trish's blood draw
10:30am: nurse martha had the decadron and pepcid running
11:00am: benadryl-tini not shaken, not stirred
11:20am: herceptin dripping
12:10pm: hercpentin done, taxol going... should be home around 2pm

for those keeping score at home, this is round 8 of taxol/herceptin for trish.
assuming she doesn't not miss any more rounds of taxol due to her blood counts, august 12th will be the 12th and final round of this regimen, before switching to 3 more months of CEF + herceptin.

blood counts:

white blood cells, Absolute neutrophil count (ANC):
was 5.9
is 6.2

red blood cells, hematocrit (HCT):
was 27.8
is 28.6

the week in review:

again, another good week for trish. nothing too out of the ordinary on the physical side. the 4 shots of neupogen are working well for her white blood count, and trish has been doing everything she can to increase her red count...
eating clams, mussels, steaks, becky's meatloaf, iron supplements.. you name it.
its good to see her red count up, but its still lower than desired.

after last tuesday's treatment, we had trish's family over for a bbq to celebrate her mom's birthday.

on wednesday trish & judas brought caden to get a much overdue haircut in the morning, and in the afternoon we had the pleasure of meeting and talking with cancer veteran, karol-ann coleman

karol-ann's memoir can be found on her website, http://www.itsprobablynothing.org

trish spent thursday prepping for my sister's wedding shower that she co-hosted this past weekend.

saturday was the wedding shower....

sunday was a raw food "cooking" class in palo alto that trish, julie and jane attended.

so its been another incredibly quick, hectic and busy week at the oak ridge estate, but trish continues remain active and do all the things she would normally do.

i know trish hasn't had the chance to talk with all of those who participated in the avon breast cancer walk, but she was really touched by the support and friendship of you ladies.. i know julie passed along a message to most of you, and i hope you know how much it meant to trish... thank you.

and this weeks special guest star, is none other than trish's dad, judas...

ria's birthday bbq...

not a happy camper...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer: San Francisco

This weekend is the Avon walk for breast cancer in san francisco.

this is a 2 day walk that covers 39 miles on saturday and sunday.

several of trish's friends are walking in honor of her, as well as other friends and family members that have been hit by the cancer bug.

for those interested in donating to the team, they are currently at 92% of their fund raising goal.

Trisha's TaTa's Team Page

Team Members
Christina Lazzarini
Julie Blagg
Monica Conniff
Christina Gann Munguia
Elizabeth Greenlee
Brie Jennings

Goal: $10,800.00
Achieved: $9,927.00

Info about the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer:


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

B4 seven eight nine ten

7/8 9:10am :
the blood has been drawn by nurse esther, and we are waiting on test results. last week's muffins are still working, as we are enjoying our northern views out of window seat B4 today...

based on trish's counts last week, and the 4 shots of neupogen this week (that she is now administering to herself), there isn't any reason why her counts should be low....
but ya never know.

yesterday was trish's 3 month anniversary of her diagnosis, and today is round 9 of chemo. in terms of taxol/herceptin this is round 7, and this title fight is scheduled for a full 12 rounds.

soooo for the week in review..

again, another pretty decent week for trish. the typical aches and pains of the neupogen, but nothing that kept her in bed.

for the 4th, steve, cerena, lucas, trish, caden and myself headed downtown to catch some of the 4th of July parade. we found ourselves a nice little spot across from the end of the parade route, parked the truck and watched it from there. after the parade we spent a few hours at our friends, thunder & angie's block party. it was nice to get out and spend some time with the family and friends and enjoy the holiday. for the kids there was sno-cones, a bounce house and a big ole 16 foot tall waterside. and for the adults, there were plenty of barley drinks in those big aluminum barrels on tap.

the rest of the weekend was pretty much spent at home...
we made a couple trips to bridgepoint and downtown san carlos to do some shopping, did some bbq'ing and some chores around the house...
overall it was a nice relaxing weekend in the ridiculous heat.

more updates later... stay tuned..

trish snuggling up with the hand-knit blanket
made by our friend kelly reutlinger

trish, lucas, caden & cerena checking out the 4th of july parade

caden & auntie jane in the bounce house

11:15am update
its chemo-ogogo...

whiteys are good, reddies are lower than they would like, but overall good to go.
looks like a burger for lunch and a steak for dinner for trish.

blood counts:

white blood cells, Absolute neutrophil count (ANC):
was 6.52
is 5.9

red blood cells, hematocrit (HCT):
was 29
is 27.8

10:15am: pepcid done
11:00am: decadron done
11:05am: the benadryl was hung on the chemo tree with care
11:15am: harp lady is back (but its not the original harp lady, possibly a stunt double)

more later...

1:30pm update
11:45am: taxol started
1:22: taxol done, herceptin on the hook

should be home in about an hour...

2:15pm update
2:10pm: herceptin finished up, nurse esther flushed trish's port with heparin, and we are heading home for a little bbq tonight..

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

new month, same crap...

ahhh the drive down the alameda that has become so familiar. each time wishing The Dutch Goose was our destination, but sadly it never is...

another day in chemoville is underway.

the past week has been pretty good to trish. she had her four neupogen shots on wed, thurs, fri and sat.

saturday trish went down to santana row for a birthday tea party for the sisters Gann, Carrie and Christina.

on sunday, trish, caden and i headed over to the menlo park farmer's market to pick up some fruits and veggies.. we actually ran into dr. carlson while we were there... its kinda odd.. like when you are kid, and you see your teacher at the grocery store for the first time... you know oncologists need to shop as well, but seeing them outside their habitat, you sometimes gotta do a double take.

trish has been feeling decent, but as you know, the neupogen shots make her really achy. yesterday and today haven't been too bad, but she made it through the week without any advil or alieve.. so she is hanging in there.

so that brings us to today...

8:10am: driving down alameda
8:30am: arrive at the stanford cancer center
9:00am: seated for blood work with nurse sammie
9:20am: blood draw finished, heading downstairs
9:25am: checked in with dr. carlson's front desk
9:35am: in dr. carlson's patient room
10:00am: nurse jan came in to check in on trish. blood counts look promising, but not all the #'s are back yet

the nurses in the infusion center have always been so nice and welcoming..
trish wanted to do a little something to say thank you, so she baked a few dozen lemon poppyseed, blueberry and coffee crumbcake muffins for them last night.

stay tuned... more updates throughout the day

here is a pic from a few minutes ago in dr. carlson's exam room...
trish was flipping through a copy of People, and came across this advertisement....

ya gotta be kidding me

11:00am update

we met with dr. carlson and nurse jan and went over the blood work, the previous weeks, the coming weeks, surgery options, surgeon options, etc..

trish's blood counts came back good, and she is good to go for another round of juice today... she tried talking dr. carlson into 3 shots of neupogen a week, but he wasn't having it. i guess we will have to continue with 4..

blood counts:

white blood cells, Absolute neutrophil count (ANC):
was 6.05
is 6.52

red blood cells, hematocrit (HCT):
was 28.9
is 29

trish's (and mine) face lit up when we heard dr. carlson say:

"a really wonderful response here"


"i think we you are doing fantastic"

its really good to know its workin...

its 11:00am and we are back in the infusion center waiting room....
1.5 hours late for our appointment... think its gonna be a long day

more updates later..

11:15am update

seated in the much sought after spot, C5... theeeee prime, numero uno throne. westwardly facing, with windows of a northern exposure.
the sky is blue, the trees green and the chemo clear.


nurse nenita began trish on her bottle of wine (benadryl) and will be back to buy her a round of decadrone and pepcid in a bit

more updates later...

2:00pm update

12:00pm: predrugs done
12:15pm: began taxol
1:45pm: taxol done, began herceptin

herceptin should take 30 minutes... we should be on our way home no later than 2:30pm.

trish has been catching up on a little sleep over the last couple hours.

the harp lady was back, and kicked off the concert with a fine rendition of Sting's "Fields of Gold". (this isn't "our" harp lady, but if you want to hear fields of gold on the harp, here is your chance)