Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's Been A While

Wow, it's been some time since I last wrote. We bought a new house and have been painting and moving. Exhausting, yet fulfilling. I feel so grateful to be a live. Last year at this time I had just went bald from chemotherapy and was sick as a dog. I feel grateful I am in a much different place. So grateful.

We went to Relay for Life last week and "cancer" seemed like a lifetime a go. Part of me wants to forget , the other knows..."Lest we forget". I know I can't forget, I can't let go. Such a turning point in my life, yet part of me wants to "get back to normal". I also know cancer could easily be back in my life tomorrow.

Somehow, I have managed to come to grips with my future and the uncertainty of it all. I think. We are suing the women's clinic that failed to diagnose me for over a year. We had our pre-litigation screening Monday. I thought I would be fine...until the attorney talked about my chance of reoccurrence. I started bawling...the fear and anger returned so quickly. I know going through this legal stuff will be hard. I am trying so desperately to "let go and let God". When I do, I feel peace and contentment. I realize now I cannot control the future. I just have to live the best I can.

My faith has increased. I will go on.


Jules said...

I'm so glad to see an update from you..and even more so to hear the upbeat tone of how things are going for you now. Congrats on the new house..and moving forward.

Anonymous said...


We have just learned today that Senator Coburn has refused to lift his hold on the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (BCERA)!

As you know, before the August recess, the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (S. 757), in spite of having 66 Senate co-sponsors and 99 Senators agreeing to pass the bill by unanimous consent, was held up by one Senator's objection-Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

More than two weeks ago, NBCC sat down with key hill staff and worked out a good faith response to address concerns Senator Coburn had with the bill. At that point, the response was to be moved to the 'Member level' for concurrence. Today we learn that S. 757 is a 'no go' and Senator Coburn's hold will not be lifted.

You all know that NBCC's grassroots have worked hard for more than six years to educate members and gain support for this bill. As a result, in the 109th Congress, we were successful in garnering the support of an overwhelming majority of both the Senate and House for this important legislation that could lead to discoveries in preventing breast cancer. 66 Senators and 255 Representatives have co-sponsored this bill! The Senate HELP Committee voted unanimously for S. 757.

It is absolutely unacceptable that S. 757 will not even be brought to the floor for a vote! We need you more than ever to call the Senate leadership offices below and let our voices be heard. Flood their offices with calls sending the message:

"Bring the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act to the floor for a vote. The women and men of America want this bill passed. Women's lives depend on it and we are watching."

Calls should go to Majority Leader Bill Frist at 202-224-3135 and Majority Whip Mitch McConnell at 202-224-2708.

It is urgently important for you to make these calls both today and tomorrow!

Warm Regards,
Fran Visco
President, National Breast Cancer Coalition

Guy Barry said...

I heard that men can also get breast cancer!! Astonishing!

iza said...

I found your blog are very informative and touching. I hope you don't mind I've bookmarked your blog for my future reference.

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Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are following through on the legal front. My mom was also a mental health worker. I made her go for a check up. A lump was discovered. She had surgery. Adjunct therapy was suggested. We were told that the chemo would "not be like any chemo she had ever seen." We were told she would probably not even get nauseated from the treatment. The "mildest" chemo available would be used.

She had her first treatment on a Thursday. Within a few days, she developed diarrhea. I called the oncologist. I was assured that the condition had nothing to do with the chemo. I did not feel comfortable with the answer. I called her family doctor who said he wanted to see her immediately. Before I could get her in, she collapsed in the floor. I called an ambulance.

The nightmare was underway. The paramedics could not get a blood pressure. In the ER, the nurses and doctors asked her medical questions. After 40+ years in the profession, she could answer their quesions. They still could not get a bp reading. Her white cell count was 0.8. She was transferred to oncology. I knew we were in trouble because the nurses tried different techniques, but still could not get a bp. They wanted me to sign a DNR. Where did this come from? She was just supposed to be dehydrated. I had to take my young children home. When I got to my house, I received a call that Mom was transferred to ICU.

A few hours later I spoke with the nursing supervisor. She said that there had to be something wrong with the medical equipment because they could not get a bp in ICu and were going to put a stint in her heart. I told her that the paramedics, ER personnel, oncology nurses and ICU nurses could not all have equipment failure on the same day. Her response was, "WE have not looked at it like that."

When I got back to the hospital, I was immediately told that I was right, there really was something wrong with her bp. The diarrhea continured and tests indicated that she had an infection. It ended up that the diarrhea was so intense that it forced fecal matter through her tissues and introduced ecoli. Hours were lost before treatment was started because she was initially not running fever. I was told at first that she could not be that sick.

By nightfall, her breathing was labored. She made the decision to go on a respirator. God knew she had to make that decision because I was made to promise that I would not do that to her. I called family members and told them that the cardiologist said her heart was only working at 50% capacity and that it would be hard to survive.

Conditions continued to deteriorate. The next day there was a slight improvement. Other family members went to lunch. Each time I would move to the door, the alarms would sound. The nurse in ICU who had cared for her and who saw us together before she went on the respirator told me that I had to be the one to tell her it was okay to let go.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I told her that I loved her and did not want her to hurt. I promised her that I would be okay. I also promised that I would not be mad at God for taking her. If she needed to go to Jesus, she should go. I sang to her and told her how much I loved her. I knew the minute she left me. The machines continued to work.

I waited until the family returned and told them that I was going to do as she had made me promise--I was turning off the machines. The machines were turned off and she flat lined instantly. Her battle was over.

After her death, I learned that she was given two chemo drugs. One was considered a "last chance drug to be used after other chemos had failed." The other drug was an equally strong chemo. She was supposed to be on a lesser drug. One of the drugs was known to cause life threatening diarrhea and the other, cardiac insufficiency.

While I was preparing to go to her funeral, I received a call from the CCU at the hospital. I had caller ID and we could trace the call to the CCU nurse's desk. The man on the phone called me by name and told me that I needed to get to the hospital because my mom was not doing well. After screaming, I was told the name of the patient. My name was listed as next of kin on a woman I did not know. What a cruel event.

Mom's oncologist had been out of town during the ordeal. When I talked to him, he did not know what to say. He said he could not remember the last time a patient was lost to adjunct therapy. I told him that people would say breast cancer killed my mom--it did not. Stupidity did not.

I blame myself for not asking more questions. We trusted the oncologist because he helped me through thyroid tumors when I was 15. Mom wanted the treatment over because we had a big vacation planned.

I wonder how many other families have lost loved ones because someone screwed up,

I could not get an attorney to take the case becasue she was 69 and we did not have an autopsy. Another mistake on my part.

I wish you the best in your struggle. Your children are lucky to have such a strong woman as a mom. God bless.

iamnasra said...

Its been awhile you have not blogged hope you are alright...been checking your blog

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Anonymous said...

Absoulutely fascinating blog and it is so good that you have been able to put your thoughts down over this difficult period. The information will only act as an inspiration and resource for others!

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Colleen said...

I found your site on BlogHer - I have a blog about training for the 3-Day walk for breast cancer as well as other health/fitness topics - would you be interested in a link or entry exchange?

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About Me

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Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States
I am a 36 year old woman, married to a great guy, and together we have three beautiful daughters. I am a three and a half year breast cancer survivor. This past year I have become active in the cause of helping those who are batteling cancer!