Patty's Mammie Grams

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

May 31 New Name for the Blog, Please

OK everybody -- this blog needs a better more
permanent name - I'll take any and all
reasonable (or not, maybe) suggestions. The
prize will simply be bragging rights to the name.
Sorry, I can't think of a good prize. A Breast
Cancer Bracelet? A copy of one of my old
mammograms that is so old you can't see
anything but black? A copy of the book the
surgeon's office suggested? (Breast Cancer
For Dummies) Let's just have a contest for the
fun of it.

Try it -- here are my off the top of my head titles.

Patty's pancakes?
Ta Ta to the Ta Tas?
"Pore 'Jugs' are daid" (Apologies to '
Oklahoma!' fans)

Come on guys - step up to the plate. Have fun with
it. What else can we do?
Love to you all, Patty ; )

May 22 More Sisterly Support

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 6:39:01 AM

Written by one more of those awesome sisters
just after she heard about my diagnosis:

"...sometimes it just takes longer for some of
us to process and respond. Just know that yes,
we are here to support you 100% all the way
in whatever you do. We DO care, even though
we may not respond right away or reply to all
or whatever. And quite frankly, some of us are
scared - for you and for us.
Yes, I am XX [Patty is protecting the innocent]
years old, but that doesn't stop me from being
afraid of the unknown.

"Yeah, I worked in the breast center and for a
breast surgeon and my old boss is ready willing
and able to talk me and whomever else wants
to through what you are going through, but it
is still hard for me to put into words what I feel.
Please just know that even though I personally
may not respond, it's not that I don't care, it
just may be that I don't know how to at that
moment. You still have my undying support
and I will move mountains for you if I can. I
have never been a great communicator and
probably never will be. I tend to clam up when
things get tough. I will try not to do to you
what I did with XXX and that was totally shut
down. That is the biggest regret I have of my
entire life and I will try my hardest not to do
that again. I love you very much. Please
remember that."

That wonderful letter was written by one of
my 8 most favorite sisters in the whole wide
world. I love you all. Patty

May 31 Some more sisterly loving

Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:31:44 AM

"Yes, you most certainly can use it [my letter].
If what I say can help someone else process and
cope and vice versa, by all means use it.

"I do think that attitude has a lot to do with a
person's ability to "handle" something like
this - or anything for that matter. Our parents
taught us a lot in that respect. You just do
what you have to do and go on. Not to say
that it isn't or won't be hard, just that the
attitude that one takes makes a difference.

"You have a HUGE support system. Good grief!
Look at the number of your clients who I know
would do anything for you that are right there
at your beck and call. Don't be afraid to ask
someone to do something for you. And then
you have your long distance cheering section
scattered practically to the four corners of the
states and back. And don't forget to ask us to
do for you too. We all will in a heartbeat.

"I know you are being bombarded with
information and STUFF right now, but my offer
of my old boss still stands....I even talked to
her last week when I went to the Plaza for
something. She asked how you were doing
and let me know again that she'd be happy
to talk with you if you ever want/need
someone else to talk to.


Dear X- this letter means a lot to me and I thank you
from the bottom of my heart. I know this is
hard - I still don't know if I'm in shock, denial,
or just "handling it well". I certainly have my
moments - when someone gives me just the
littlest too much sympathy, or when I'm so worn
down and tired of all the arrangements and phone
calls I am having to make.
[SIDEBAR thank you so much Sally for finding
all that information for me and my doctor!]
There should be a special liaison person appointed
by the diagnosing doctor person to take care of all
of those details! Maybe that is my next job. Hmmm
Finding and then trying to call and make an
appointment with the: Radiation Oncologist, Breast
Surgeon, Oncologist, Genetic Counselor, Plastic
Surgeon,and be sure to bring all your Mammogram
films and copies of the pathology results, and the
Biopsy pathology results. And the results from all
your old biopsies, too.
Then arrange to get all the MRI results and reports
and CDs and Pathology results, and keep the
Primary Care Doctor in the loop, and find a new
Gynecologist because you've just been using your
primary doctor for that, but maybe it is time again.
Warning - Rant alert. (you thought the above already
was, didn't you?)
And, furthermore, the Darn Plastic Surgeons don't
want to do anything for the amount of money the
insurance company is willing to pay them - because
if they take that amount of money - it will cut into
the time allotted for the cash carrying and paying
fold. To take the measly offerings that the
insurance company deems reasonable and usual
is not what they want to get used to. Of course
the insurance payment is not going to be
anywhere near what they can get from that cash
only, and in advance please, patient! I'm just
frustrated and I haven't even started the real
Anyway, I wanted to thank all of you for your
support and love and I please know that I have
all of you under my heart - (which will soon be
closer to the surface than it used to be!)
HEE HEE. ; ) Much love, Patty

April 12 Explanation for it all

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Well guys, here is where and when it all
started - I called and set up my regular
yearly mammogram, went, and
everything seemed to all be fine. I had
a great time - new location, saw my
same old buddies from the old place (I
met two prospective clients and made
a date for a book club meeting.) Then,
they called me back and said they saw
something that looked like a fold in
the skin or maybe scar tissue from an
old biopsy, so could I please come back
in for a magnified mammogram and a
sonogram? (I think the fold of skin was
the scar from the 'watery cyst' removed
from my chest when I was four years
old.) Bonus points for those who
remember that! (I've finally gotten old
enough I guess, that my skin finally
pulled up between the mammogram
squasher plates.) After that call, I
realized that I hadn't done a self exam
for who knows how long??? So - I
checked and I found a lump - among
all the other usual lumps I've had for
years with my fibrocystic breast
disease. I really didn't think too much
about it, but I did ask them to look
also at that lumpy spot I had found
when they did the sonogram. There it
was - a big dark spot - I had no idea
what that meant, though, so I still
wasn't really worried. Then, they called
back to tell me, hey, now we need you
to get in here for a biopsy.
OK says I. (I've had two previous
biopsies and neither one turned out to
be anything to worry about so - I
figured it was no big deal then and this
will also be no big deal.) So I went in,
had the biopsy, and it came back:

"Left breast, high grade in situ comedo
carcinoma with smaller component of
invasive ductal carcinoma. Await larger
resected specimen for breast panel

The biopsy went fine except for one small
glitch: I figured it all out later, that
when I donated platelets 3 days before
the biopsy, the 'return' (the rest of the
blood given back to me) contained an
anticoagulant along with my other blood
components. Oops. No one figured this
out - not me (who should probably
have remembered the lecture - oh, I
don't know - 15 or so years ago about
the process, and so I don't listen or pay
attention or read carefully enough
anymore), or the platelet people (who
didn't know that I was having a biopsy
in 3 days, (you can donate platelets
every 4 days), or the biopsy people
(who weren't putting two and two
together about the fact that it was
platelets that I had donated, not whole
blood, and therefore didn't think of the
fact that there was an anticoagulant
racing around in my blood stream).
The first stick of the fine needle for
the biopsy was the one and only
specimen they got.There was a little
nick of a small vessel, and then 15
minutes of the heel of one hand over
the heel of the other hand on the spot
for about 15 minutes before it quit
bleeding. There was quite a bruise
and swelling with a hematoma.
So, when I did receive the written
results - I truly was amused at this
entry - 'There was abundant bleeding
right after the biopsy, which was
controlled by local pressure."
Here is the real story -- they hit a small
artery ("we've got a spurter here") and
after Dr. pulled the biopsy needle out
and they both were trying to deal with
the specimen kit - I could feel the warm
wetness spreading down toward my
armpit onto the draping, and I kept
saying - " Um - guys - yoo hoo - I think
I'm kind of bleeding over here. Oh yoo
hoo, guys, I think there might be a
problem over here"
When they turned and looked - a bit of
hurrying and scurrying came to pass -
and when they realized it wasn't going
to stop bleeding soon, Dr. Jean-Paul
says, says he, (this is where I giggled
to myself) "I think we have a very good
specimen of tissue here and we'll just
place the clip, now."
(I really like your hair this color - I
thought you should go a little more
warm for the summer so I changed the
formula a little. Or how about this one -
- I really like your hair just a little
shorter in the back - I did it for you
this time and if you don't like it - we can
always leave it longer next time we
trim it.) ; )
Get the picture of why I was amused?
Anyway, then a little panicking sounding
voice from the doctor (looking at the
sonogram screen)- "Where is my needle?
Show me my needle! (This was a
sonogram-guided fine needle aspiration
biopsy) Where is the spot? Is that it?
There is too much bleeding - it is obscured
now - where is my needle? Pause...OK
- there we have it - the clip is in...and
you are all done."
Now came the fun part - the tech had
to lean on my left breast with the heel
of one hand over the heel of the other
hand - hard - for about 15 minutes to
get the bleeding to stop. Then we ALL
decided to wait for the 'clip
mammogram' for a few days so the
poor vessel could heal and not pop back
open with the squishing and squashing
of it.
(FYI - the 'clip' is a titanium 'pink
ribbon' shaped piece that they use to
show where they have just been
biopsying. I now have two of them, both
in my left breast. They told me that they
won't set off any airport alarms.)

So, the main gist of the whole thing is
that...I don't know much more than I
did before (which by the way, is pretty
squat) only now maybe I know
what the options might probably maybe
are going to be. Maybe. Patty

Mastectomy Bill in Congress

Mastectomy Bill in Congress
Please Read and Sign

Thank you for your time!
From a nurse:
I'll never forget the look in my patients eyes
when I had to tell them they had to go home
with the drains, new exercises and no breast.
I remember begging the Doctors to keep these
women in the hospital longer, only to hear that
they would, but their hands were tied by the
insurance companies. So there I sat with my
patient, giving them the instructions they
needed to take care of themselves, knowing full
well they didn't grasp half of what I was saying,
because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look
spoke louder than the quiet 'Thank you' they
A mastectomy is when a woman's breast is
removed in order to remove cancerous breast
cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a
mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of
discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance
companies are trying to make mastectomies an
outpatient procedure. Let's give women the
chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2
days after surgery.

Mastectomy Bill in Congress
It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important...
Please take the time and do it really quickly!

Breast Cancer Hospitalization Bill - Important
legislation for all women.
Please send this to everyone in your address book.
If there was ever a time when our voices and choices
should be heard, this is one of those times. If you're
receiving this, it's because I think you will take the
30 seconds to go to vote on this issue and send it
on to others you know who will do the same.
There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient
Protection Act which will require insurance companies
to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients
undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating
the 'drive-through mastectomy' where women are
forced to go home just a few hours after surgery,
against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy
from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage
tubes still attached. Lifetime Television has put this
bill on their web p age with a petition drive to show
your support. Last year over half the House signed on.

PLEASE!! Sign the petition by clicking on the web
site below. You need not give more than your name,
zip code number and e-mail address.

This takes about 2 seconds. PLEASE PASS THIS ON
to your friends and family, and on behalf of all women,

Komen web site

Here is the greatest web site of them all - copy and paste for all sorts of help and information!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

April ? Two Sisterly Support letters

These letters are very very special to me - they
were sent to me by my sister just after everyone
found out about my cancer. She has kindly
allowed me to include them - with the hope that
perhaps someone else might be able to gain
some insight or get some help from reading
them. I want to re-read them every day.
Love, Patty

I know that was difficult to have to write such detail
of 'current events', but at least now everyone is 'up
to speed'. You know we all love you and want to be
aware of difficulties, so we may be supportive, each
in our own way, telepathically, through word of
voice, reaching out with written word, through
prayer and the powerful sister connection that you
will feel with the thought that we all know now, and
care, and love you !
Love, S

Another letter--

We are not nosy. Just very concerned and ALL want
to be there physically for you. We can't, so. . .you
are in our hearts, our prayers, our thoughts everyday.
Some are still digesting all of this and checking their
own boobies!! Just remember that this is your body,
your mind, you are the one that is going through this.
We are all going through something of our own
because you are our sister, mother, wife, friend.
But in the ultimate end you are it. Remember also
you need to focus your energy on your body.
Questions will come, calls will come, e-mails will
come. You can answer any and/or all in your own
time, your own way.

You have had major crap (for lack of better words
at this time of morn) thrown at you.
You are having to make major decisions that the
rest of us have not had to.
We are not walking in your shoes . . . . but we will
all walk beside you.
I am very proud to say that you are my sister. I
will respect and honor any decision that you make.
I will support you through out. I love you.

May 19 Dr. Whitacre visit

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Went to the Dr. today - not much news - just have
to now wait and see what the MRI says, and see if
they can still run an estrogen receptor test on the
bit of tissue they still have.

My friend Chris (Dr. Kniesel) went with us to the
breast doctor (Eric Whitacre) and helped explain
everything to Bob and me, later. Don't know
what will happen next, but right now I'm leaning
toward a lumpectomy. That, however, means
radiation, and I'm not so sure about that.
(Scarring which might cause pain for the rest of
my life - or heart damage - or bone loss - there
are lots of risks, but it sounds like this makes
the most sense right now.)

May 18 Now you are in the loop!!

I found this kind of overlooked/lost entry. It is
from an e-mail written it seems an eon ago. I
certainly thought I had posted this entry - at
the very beginning of the blog. I'm glad I found
it again. It will just show you just how much my
mind goes
back and forth and back and forth.
Oh, wait, that isn't new. You all already knew
that about me! (If you can't laugh at yourself,
who can you laugh at?)

I didn't mean to leave anyone out of any loop
(there isn't one, yet) but I
wanted to at least
wait till the Dr. visit on Sat. June 19th so I
could at
least answer questions that I, up to
now, have only been able to answer
by saying
-- "I don't know, I haven't even been to the
doctor yet."
So here I am, surprisingly
and seemingly very calm and collected (well,
sometimes) or is it simply
in denial? I really
don't know which.
I'm really not too worried,
because it is early
(I assume) and they didn't hurry to get me
the doctor, and I know many women
who are just fine after their cancer diagnosis.
Some wit
a lumpectomy, some with one
reconstruction, some with two breasts missing

and just using prostheses, and some with
reconstructions of both breasts.
I don't have
any idea what the Dr. might recommend -
last week, I just
wanted both of them cut
off so I don't ever have to worry about this
Not that I'm worrying.
Anyway - I'll just keep thinking of all the
thoughts everyone is sending my
way, and all the prayers, and then -- just

wait and wait!
Carol had the idea of starting a blog so that
everyone could visit, so I
wouldn't have to
repeat myself time after time (or have Bob
or Sara have
to repeat again and again)
and so Sara is going to help me with
that project. Hopefully it won't
need to be up for long - I am assuming
surgery of some sort, and then
chemotherapy of some sort - I really don't
know -
it is all just speculation at this point.
Love you lots. Patty : )

Please click every day to help fund mammograms

This site helps fund mammograms
with just a click of a button. It
takes me about 30 seconds to click
on all the sites listed. You can pick
your own favorites or do what I do
and click on each one of the tabs!
I'm helping feed dogs, buy books,
save the rain forest, provide health
care to children - all painlessly and
with just one click a day. I have it
at the top of my favorites list and
start each computer session with
my clicks.
They don't care that I don't buy
anything - and furthermore - they
don't know.
I have been the recipient of 3 free
mammograms and then a follow
up sonogram and then a core
needle biopsy a few years ago
when there was no insurance and
little cash flow. I truly appreciated
Thanks for your help by putting it
on your favorites and clicking daily.
Love, Patty

May 21 Awkward Sentence?

Was it this awkwardly written sentence?...

"Too many people who want to know -- of
course. And of course you
should know and of course I want to talk
to any one who calls, but I don't know
anything more right now.
I love you all. Patty

I just received the following e-mail
from my friend/neighbor/car pool
partner/mother of one of my favorite
(Hi P.M.) teens, (besides Sara of
course) and it made me realize that
I may have stepped on toes
inadvertently. I am so sorry if my
sentence structure came out
badly. That is why I am to remember
that you all can't see my expressions
or hear the tone of my voice or the
inflections thereof. I am so sorry. I
didn't mean to suggest that anyone
was being anything close to being
Love you all lots. Patty

(By the way - my friend said she
would let me know if I was being
rude or whatever.)

From: L
Patty, I'd apologize for being on
your "nosy" list, but since I don't
intend to stop, an apology would
be pointless. However, I hereby
give you permission to give me
updates last, when you get around
to it. And know that we're all being
nosy because we love you.

L. - Oh my gosh - did that sound
like I thought everyone was being
nosy? I didn't mean it like that
at all. Is that why most of my
family is not responding to my e-mail?
Good grief - now what can I say? I
am so sorry if anyone thought that
they shouldn't ask me anything for
fear of being thought of as nosy!
[They should know me and know
that my life is pretty much an open
book - Yes?]

Sara is going to start a Blog for
me. Maybe then everyone will be
able to stay in the loop - as long
as I remember to give out my correct
blog address (URL).

Today I called the plastic surgeon
and the radiation oncologist for
appointments - can't remember why -
just that the Dr. said to do so. I can
always cancel them later if need be
-after the MRI on Wednesday May 23.
We are still just waiting until we get
the results from that MRI to make any
plans. Dr. Whitacre's office just called
to say that the lab indeed did not have
enough tissue from the biopsy to do
the estrogen receptor test. That is
why it wasn't done in the first place.
So - that test will have to wait
until the surgery when there is more
tissue to sample. It won't make any
difference to any of our decisions
anyway. Love, Patty