Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taxol Treatment #10 - Placebo for Me

Thursday, September 25th - Today the Avastin clinical trial I was participating in was unblinded and (my heading gives it away) I am not on it. So, on the pro side: I do not need to continue infusions once every three weeks until May 2009; on the con: whatever benefits one may possibly derive from Avastin I did not receive. Hey, its the luck of the draw and all in the name of science. Someone has to be in the control group!

Taxol treatment #10 is now behind me - many thanks to John (Your ability to jump in last minute was greatly appreciated!) for making the early morning trek into NYC with me today. We had to brave rush hour due to a change in appointment time. Only two more to go!

My counts are all good. I can start running again - woo hoo! The week so far has been a relatively quiet one. One highlight was the NY Times article explaining the new protocol of radiation being that of which I am going to receive: three weeks. My doctor was quoted in the article. i have to admit that I get some satisfaction seeing my docs called upon as SMEs. (Subject Matter Experts). And, yes - I did schedule my port removal procedure! No more E.T. , well except for the missing hair and eyebrow...

The NJ weekend weather prediction is quit dire; rain and wind. The leaves are just starting to turn so hopefully the rain won't last and we can all enjoy autumn's splendor.

I added photos to my last post as well as more Disney photos to my post "The Most Magical Place on Earth"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall Begins and the Countdown is On!

How can it be the first day of Autumn already? I suppose we have been a bit busy and have not paid attention to the days passing us by. I enjoy this time of year - crisp days and nights and the vibrant colors that begin to adorn our trees.

I do owe a shout out to my friend Tracey Rodgers-Lenge who was not only my chemo companion last week but also made us some awesome mac'n'cheese as well as gave us several wonderful meals from her husband Phil's pizza place - THANK YOU!!! Tracey can always make me laugh with stories about her two young sons or how it is to balance life as a pharmacist and mom. I had a great day. I realize I say that a lot about my chemo appointments but it is true! My counts were good and once again I had the honor of spending a chunk of time with a friend.

I must also mention the fabulous meals we received recently from Jacqui - her chicken and mac'n'cheese was great and a life saver when we returned home from Disney exhausted and hungry; along with Corrine Brewer who made a mini-Thanksgiving meal which was wonderful and my sister-in-law Christine who treated us to a Greek feast - Thank you all!!!!

Since my counts were good on Thursday we were able to trek on up to one of our favorite places, the Berkshires. We were there to celebrate Scott Levy and Sheryl Victor's wedding. We stayed in our favorite inn, The Red Lion, and spent Friday night at the rehersal dinner listening to good music provided by Scott's brother Kenny and his band "The Wandering Bards" (They play Jersey clubs and are worth a viewing: We retired early and I felt pretty good Saturday morning so we took a walk - I'll post photos once we down load them - but obviously pushed myself a bit as afterwards I needed a nap. We then joined the wedding "camp Day" at Camp Pontiac where we watched the three legged races, etc., joined the BBQ and quite enjoyed the bonfire. The wedding was held yesterday and was simply beautiful. The location was the Lenox Club and everything was just right - the weather, the vibrant colors, the music and food - it was a lovely event and Scott and Sheryl looked really happy.

When we returned home last evening, Christine had sent me an email with the link to a blog of her friend Jen - a fellow Cancer survivor:

(Jen SingerCreator:, a Forbes Best of the Web, Author: You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either) Blogger: Good Grief! for Good Housekeeping and Yahoo Shine)

I urge all of you to read - folks like Jen keep me inspired. I met her in the airport on the way to Disney as she is a Kinnelon resident. Her sense of humor about life was very evident as we spoke about losing our hair, growing it back, blogging,etc. Check it out (you most likely have to cut and paste into your browser as I cannot get the link to work!):

Only three more weeks of chemo to go! I admit I was really wishing I had hair this weekend. (Bonfires and wigs - not a good match) I do however, get to schedule the removal of my port this week; hooray! That alone should make it a great week!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More photos from NYC Race for the Cure 2008

2008 Komen Race for the Cure

What a day!!! Over 24,000 people took to the streets of NYC to raise awareness for breast cancer - how awesome is that???!!! Many, many thanks to all of you who contributed to my fundraising campaign. With my outstanding checks included, I raised over $4000! YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

I walked side by side with so many special people: my mom, her friend Dolly, my "sisters" - Shelly and daughter Julia, Laurie, Jess, Terri, Denise, Jill, Chris, Patrice (my special guest all the way from Missouri) - Christine and my niece Hayden, Jeannie and Heather (Sorry we lost you!) as well as Terri's mom, Laurie's mom, and most importantly the one who has stood steadfastly at my side through the very worst of this, my husband Greg. Shout out to Aaron, Ethan and Bill for being the best sideline support - great signs guys!

Team Medco raised $20,000 - nice work! Kudos to Cathy, Kim, David, Dennis, Glenn, Jason, Indira, Kathleen and her daughter Ann and to Claudine for making it all happen; along with all the other Medco folks I may have forgotten. Being one who has been struck by this disease, I thank you all from the depths of my soul and bottom of my heart for giving up a Sunday and making the trek on a hot September day!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Day of Remembrance

NYC was subdued yesterday. The traffic at the tunnel was light but the cross town traffic was pretty bad. I could not help myself but to stare at the Empire State Building as we drove by on 34th Street. There were NYC policemen and women everywhere and I had to believe it was a difficult day for them to be working the streets and scanning the skies.

My day started nicely; my mom was my chemo buddy for the day. She presented me with the "Ford Cares Warrior Scarf" to take with me as the doctor's office tends to always be cold. The chemo office was also quiet as Dr. Oratz was away but I was done quickly, as I only received Taxol.

From chemo we walked over to the NYU Cancer Care Center for my appointment with the head of radiation oncology there, Dr. Silvia Formenti. The good news is I qualify for three weeks of treatment instead of six and the even better news is a will participate in a trial that will allow them to do two CAT scans of me prior to starting therapy one while laying on my back, the other while on my stomach and this will allow them to measure precisely - measure what you might ask - measure how much of my heart and lungs fall away from the field to be radiated based on my positioning. (You may recall, my cancer was found on my left side) The very cool thing is this trial is being funded by COACH, so it is of course one I want to be in on even though the doctor advised no bags would be forthcoming! Was glad my mom was there to hear the doctor explain my options, as well she (my mom) had just seen Dr. Formenti speak on TV last weekend on a show talking about the Race for Cure. I was sold!

So I start radiation late October and should be done prior to Thanksgiving. I will have much to be thankful for this year!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Most Magical Place on Earth

I realize I have been somewhat delayed in my normal post schedule, however that is due to the fact I was visiting the mouse in Florida... I have been so fortunate! My aunt Debbie and Uncle Frank came down last week from NH to accompany on my trek to NY. It was so nice to see them! We had a lot of fun having dinner with my Bill and his family one night and the the next at my mom's joined by Christine and the kids. Work has been quite crazy lately, I jokingly told my peers there I was actually looking forward to chemo! I know, sick joke, but when I have such great people with me for each visit, it really isn't all that bad!

I'll post more about Disney later as I will be making my weekly trek to get my Taxol today but I am also going to see the radiation dept at NYU so please cross your fingers that I qualify for the three week protocol vs the six... My mom is my companion today. After today only 4 weeks to go!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Best Thing About Being Bald


September begins

Leaves are turning bright colors, yellow school buses abound, football returns to TV -I have always loved the fall and this year more than ever! Only 6 more chemo treatments to go!!!

Labor Day was great, we spent the day at Warwick Valley Winery with our neighbors Hank and Jessica, along with Laurie, Rodger, Rob and Robyn. Rob was able to show off his new Harley and Hank and Jessica were able to show off their new son - Gregory Jupiter. There was live music and a cool breeze. Nothing beats a day of great company in a beautiful setting.

I owe a shout out to Terri and Michael for a wonderful dinner Friday night; their kids are adorable and growing up so fast! Saturday evening we tried "Tiffs" along with my grandfather and my aunt Lorna. It was okay. Most likely will not rush back.

I had to post the photo of my nephew Ethan promoting the latest line of "green wear"; wigs!