Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pink Nikes- Cool!

Everyone finds their own way of joining me in this fight. Jordan wears his pink Nikes every time he plays ball. They are Kobe's and they have a little pink ribbon on the heel. I love it! And I love him.

I went back to work today. It was so good to be back. There are so many people there that love and support me. I had some pretty funny conversations about my tissue expander, bra size and which side I need the prosthesis on. It's great to laugh about it. I hope that someday I can help someone else laugh while they are going through all this.

I meet with my Oncologist next Tues. and then leave for Florida on Wed. Can't wait! It is going to be so good to get away and forget all this for a few days. When I was first diagnosed I wanted to run away from it, but obviously you can't run away from something inside you. Florida will give me a chance to "run away" for a minute so I can come back and fight some more.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beautiful Fall Colors- Great Therapy

I told you Steve has a way with words! I really appreciate him giving that update on my surgery. He has been so, so good. In so many ways I feel like this is harder for him than it is me. For example, during the surgery I was completely oblivious and sleeping while he had to worry for hours. Even after the surgery, I was flying high on painkillers (as you can see in the pictures he posted) and he still had to be the one worrying. This battle is not for the faint of heart and his heart is strong and committed.

On Sunday we took a drive up American Fork Canyon. It was spectacular! These pictures don't do it justice.

From left to right this is- Heather, Me, my Mom and Amber. Yep, my sweet Mom came up from So. Calif. the day I came home from hospital. I know that I would not feel as good as I do now if she had not come. Physically, she made sure that I took it easy and rested even when I didn't feel tired. Emotionally, it was so good to have her here. There is just something about having your mommy close by when you feel yucky.

Lots of other people have helped me recover quickly; the meals that were brought in, the sign on my house, flowers, cards, emails and facebookers. Thank you to everyone. The battle goes on and I feel my army gathered around. I have felt all the love and prayers from each of you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Take that Tumor!!

Hi everyone--this post is not authored by Steph, but by me (Steve) instead.

I will try to tell HER story of today but will probably have a little more of my perspective because try as I might, I just cannot think like a woman and she is currently feasting upon pain meds!! :)

So, Steph underwent surgery today...
Lots of nerves, anticipation, worry, and even a little excitement to get this tumor out and move forward in the fight.

We feel blessed to have two of the finest doctors in Utah operating on Stephanie. Dr. Regina Rosenthal is an incredible breast cancer surgeon and Dr. June Chen is likewise a top-notch plastic surgeon. We feel very comfortable with both of them and it very reassuring to know they frequently work together and make an excellent team!

The single side skin-sparing mastectomy lasted nearly two hours. During this first phase they did a "sentinal node biopsy" which is where dye and some radioactive juice (injected last night) travels to the nearest lymph node(s). They then know where fluid from the breast first travels and can check that node(s) for any cancer. We were relieved to find out that the stuff lit up three nodes and all were clear of cancer on the initial screenings. A closer look by the pathologist will give us an official verdict, but they expect it to be clear based upon the initial findings. This is wonderful news... I can't tell you how happy we both are to know that nasty tumor is out of her body and it appears no cancer has spread to other parts of her body!!

Dr. Chen followed Dr. Rosenthal and inserted a "tissue expander". This took about one hour and was a preparatory step toward further reconstruction down the road after chemotherapy is finished and Steph is declared cancer-free. At this point, chemo looks unavoidable but it appears likely that she will NOT have to endure radiation, too. Yes! A ray of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy stormfront!!

So many cool things happened today besides the successful surgery. My phone has never fielded so many texts in one day (I'm sure ya'll fried several towers and at least one satellite!) and I was surprised by a visit from the Amazing Shari K who by the way sells Mary Kay! She had an appointment here at IMC today (made 18 mths ago--imagine that?!) and stopped by and hung out with me for awhile in the waiting room. What a treat! I was getting tired of listening to the hard of hearing elderly folks share their deafening cell phone ringtones and conversations with the entire hospital and city of Murray!! Yikes!! Thanks Shari!

Steph has had 3 previous surgeries and has been very sick from the anesthesia afterward so this time around the doctors tried some different drugs and slapped a good ole Dramamine patch behind the ear. Voila! So far so good, no nausea and just some very mild "loopiness" from a dose of Oxycontin. ;)

Steph is currently doing very well and resting peacefully. It would be an understatement to say that Stephanie (and me, too) is very appreciative of all the thoughts, prayers, special fasts, care packages, pink wardrobes/accessories (thanks RHS staff and RHS softball team!), flowers, gifts, and well-wishers. I also received a second wonderful surprise when Cindy Marshall (one of Stephanie's Epic Relay running buddies from Pocatello, ID via Twin Falls) walked through the door this afternoon. Steph knew she'd be in SLC but in the hustle and bustle of pre-surgery festivities, she had forgotten to tell me. How cool it was to see Cindy here!! She was in SLC picking up her daughter from the airport and stopped by to visit and give Steph a "Sisters" quilt created from her own hands. There are only two in the world and they each have one. It is beautiful just like Cindy and Steph (see the pic). This is just one of the many acts of kindness showered upon Stephanie in recent days.

The love and concern shown by everyone is humbling to us. We are touched. It makes this scary journey less scary. It motivates us to fight harder. It gives our entire family strength and courage! In return, we pray our rather weak "thank yous" will find their way to your hearts. We further hope you can draw strength from watching Steph The Cancer Fighter in action. We all need each other.

She comes home tomorrow and the battle continues...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Surprise parties are not just for birthdays. I thought I was going out to dinner with just two of my friends but waiting at the restaurant were 9 more! It was so much fun. Just what I needed to get my mind off everything. Thanks so much everyone!

Also, today at work a good majority of the faculty, staff and kids at Riverton High School are wearing pink. I am going to say it again and probably will many more times- I feel so loved.

Tomorrow morning is my surgery. I am ready. Ready to get my fight underway. My sweet Mom is flying (something she does not really like to do) on Thursday. I will have Steve post how it goes. Thanks again to everyone that is standing behind me in this battle.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kicking Butt!

I guess my timing for being diagnosed with breast cancer is impeccable. It's breast cancer awareness month and there is a ton of merchandise out there. This mug that was given to me by one of my cute beehives says, "Cancer touched my breast... so I kicked it's butt!" Another beehive gave me a car sticker that says, "Fight like a girl" and the shirt I have on Heather gave me says "pink is hope." I heard a really disturbing statistic on Friday at a tribute to breast cancer survivors. Utah is dead last in amount of mammograms administered. So this is a great month for all my friends to get checked.

I met my plastic surgeon on Friday. I really like her a lot. She won't be able to do my surgery until next week. That's ok because we don't even have the genetic test back yet. She comes highly recommended. Apparently I am a great candidate for breast augmentation. Really? I guess there are perks (no pun intended) that go along with breast cancer.

Two blogs you may be interested in: Steve's blog is so much better than mine- and another incredible writer I know, mother of triplets and marathoner- Kara I happened to be at her house when I got the dreaded phone call. I think I was supposed to be there. She is one of the strongest women I know and one of my best friends.

I Feel The Love

This is (from left to right) Sydnee, Alexis, Me, Heather and Jessica. Last week they dyed a piece of their hair pink. This is just one example of all the support I have felt. I can feel the love from all of you. Without all of you this fight would be a lonely, hard road.