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