Monthly Archives: December 2014

Medical Update: Good News Bad News

blessingsWhen I came out of surgery on December 2, the nurses greeted me with congratulations that my lymph node showed no signs of cancer—and the doctor conveyed the same information to my husband.

Yet, we understood they were sending more tests in from the surgery, and it would be a week before we knew the results. It turned out to be a good news, bad news sort of thing.

They actually removed three sentinel nodes, and of the three, one showed signs of cancer and two did not. The good news—no more surgery—assuming all goes as expected. Which means, I keep my breasts. Bad news, this means chemo.

I am waiting for a call from the chemo doctor—and also from the radiation doctor—or whatever their official titles may be.

Until I meet with the doctors I have no idea what is in store for me. Will I take the chemo orally as some patients do, or will I have to go in for lengthy treatments where the medication is administered through a port? Am I going to lose my hair? Well, my hair has never been my crowing glory and they say it grows in thicker. Will I get sick from the treatments? If so, how sick? I would prefer to avoid the entire process, but that ain’t gunna happen—and I will do what I have to do.

Any prayers coming my way would be most appreciated.

In spite of the recent struggles, I’ve many blessings to be grateful for this Christmas season. I’ve amazing family and friends, and a supportive spouse. While we can’t visit our daughter and her family as we hoped to this Christmas—simply not up to the long car trip with all that has been going on recently—our house is all decorated for the holidays and we have a new electric fireplace which Don and I have been enjoying. I remember Christmases past when our kids would  visit us in Havasu and we’d ask them if they’d like us to put a fire in the fireplace, and then we would turn on the TV where cable had a fireplace channel. Our son, Scott, would roll his eyes and say, “You guys are weird.” I wonder what he’d think of our electric fireplace. Maybe it is not a fireplace like when we lived in the mountains—but it is perfect for Havasu.

As time moves on, I learn more and more to cherish the blessings that come my way.

Healthy eating can be delicious!

dinnerDon often complains about the food photos people post on Facebook, claiming they generally look unappealing. Yet, that didn’t stop me from posting a photo of tonight’s dinner. I just couldn’t help it. It was so colorful, healthy and delicious.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer I’ve made some changes to my diet. It wasn’t that I ate poorly before—I never drink soda, rarely have junk food and avoid processed food. But these days I’ve increased the fish, try to buy organic, practically eliminated red meats and dairy and have been adding seeds and more colorful diversity to my diet.

After posting tonight’s dinner—baked halibut, sweet potatoes, spinach salad and cabbage salad—someone asked for recipes. So here they are!

Red Cabbage Salad

This salad is best made several hours before dinner so the cabbage can marinate. I store the salad in a glass mason jar and it will hold for almost a week in the refrigerator.

Combine the following for the dressing:
1 cup olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons Stevia
2 teaspoons Lawry’s Seasoning
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder

Finely shred one head of red cabbage. Toss with the dressing and let it marinate for several hours before serving.


Baked Halibut

Brush halibut with olive oil and season with lemon pepper, dill & tarragon. Arrange on a cookie sheet or baking dish and bake for about 18 minutes at 350°.


Sweet Potatoes

Slice in rounds. Brush with coconut oil. Arrange on a baking sheet (one layer), liberally sprinkle with cinnamon and top with diced walnuts. Bake for about 20 minutes (or until tender) at 350°.


Spinach Salad

Toss clean, fresh spinach with a little olive oil, then add fresh squeezed lemon juice, dash sea salt, granulated garlic and chia seeds. Toss well. I use 1 tablespoon chia seeds per serving.

And what was for dessert? A couple of organic dates.

Surprise birthday parties and jumping life’s hurdles…

SONY DSCMy sweet daughter Elizabeth and my son-in-law Joe, threw me an amazing surprise birthday party almost two weeks ago. It was a welcomed escape from all that has been going on—losing Don’s mother and my diagnoses with breast cancer.

This past Tuesday I went in for my lumpectomy—stage 2 breast cancer. The good news, according to the doctor there was no cancer in my lymph node. There are still more test they are running, so next week I’ll have a better idea of what I have ahead. I know there will be radiation, but I am praying no chemo.

Initially I considered a mastectomy, because that way I could avoid radiation, something I was reluctant to undergo since I had radiation for my first cancer back in 1978 (malignant olfactory nerve) and a radiation pill on my second cancer about eight years ago (thyroid cancer).

But according to the doctor, mastectomy instead of lumpectomy in my situation wasn’t really necessary, and in only 20% cases do they need to go back in and take more of the breast. After surgery my doctor told my husband it looks like we made the right choice, so I’m taking that to mean no more cutting. At least, I sure hope so.

Happy to report I’ve felt pretty great since I came home from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday I had a lot of energy, and in relatively no pain. Today I’m a bit drowsy, but suspect it is because I’ve been taking some pain pills. Yet overall, I feel good.

Keeping good thoughts and soliciting prayers so that next week’s visit with my doctor will bring more good news.