Posted in Thoughts

Lori – Post Op Update

It has been two weeks since my lumpectomy. I met with both the surgeon and my oncologist this past week. The surgery turned out to be more extensive than originally planned.  Due to my ample supply of tissue, 🙂 the tumor/s in the breast were easily removed. The dye that was injected prior to surgery to outline the cancerous lymph nodes did not work properly so the surgeon removed all 14 lymph nodes from under my arm. Because of this, a drain needed to be put in and I had to spend the night in the hospital. I still have the drain. It will remain in until I expel less than 30 cc’s of fluid over a 24 hour period. I am getting close. It is a good thing she removed them all because 6 of the 14 had evidence of cancer. She is confident she got all cancer out and left good clear margins. I left her office feeling pretty good.

Then a couple of days later we went to followup with my oncologist. He said he usually waits until patients are midway through radiation before meeting with them to discuss the next steps but he had something important to discuss with me. He learned a lot from my pathology report. He went on to explain that while Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), is the most common kind of breast cancer, my personal form of this cancer is very “aggressive” and did not respond well to the second type of chemo. The tumors shrank the most during the 1st regimen of chemo, the 1st 8 weeks, but that progress basically ground to a halt when we switched over to the different drug (Taxol) week 9. He said this also puts me at a high risk for recurrence. Because of that, he would like to try to get me into an upcoming clinical trial. He kept stating that I was “young” 😆 and with my other physical limitations, he thought I would be a great candidate. It would mean taking an additional pill when I start the maintenance pills after radiation for the first 2 years. It could be the actual medication or a placebo as it is a blind study. He needed my permission to proceed when he meets with a committee at the end of the month. I told him I was on board, how could I not be? I also kept a brave face throughout our meeting but later that evening I started to freak out a bit.

I have tried to stay positive throughout this process but I sure don’t want to go through this again. I started second-guessing myself, should I have had a total mastectomy of that breast? Why didn’t the scans show more? I know that had a heck of a time getting images of the lymph nodes. COVID 19 was a blessing and a curse. Because of it, my treatment was started quickly because so many other procedures were put on hold, but it also meant I was in most of the doctor meetings alone and maybe I missed something. The doctors I had were highly recommended and I trusted them and still do. I know they have my best interests at heart as do all the others on my team, from the patient advocates, the nurses, and everyone else involved in my care.

Now I wait to start radiation next month and wait to see if I am accepted into the clinical trial. I also put myself in God’s hands and hope I will be able to put cancer behind me once and for all.

~Lori/ Dollycas

Posted in Thoughts

September is Suicide Awareness Month

We lost my son Kris on March 15, 2015, and he is never out of my thoughts. The pain he must have felt to make that choice is just heartbreaking.

 

We saw the signs, he was getting treatment, we thought he was doing better. I should have done more.

 

 

If you know of anyone having suicidal thoughts be there for them, don’t let them down, do things with them, stay in touch, and if you know they are having a bad day don’t leave them alone. Put them first!

 

 

On October 3 Kris’s Krusaders will walk in a nearby Out of Darkness Walk in his memory and raise funds for Suicide Prevention. His daughter Natalie, now 8 years old,  is our captain this year.

 

 

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

~Lori/Dollycas
Posted in Thoughts

Lori Update! Written by Husband – with corrections by Daughter #2

I’m going to try and let as many of Lori’s followers as I can know how she is doing. A short while ago Dr. Stanley called to let me know she came thru the surgery very well and is in recovery. It was a little more complex than what was anticipated because 2 of the 3 lymph nodes did not accept the dye most likely due to fibrosis so to be safe they did the more difficult part of the procedure and just removed them all. She was able to get the main mass entirely along with a small amount of the surrounding tissue so the lumpectomy was more than planned but to error on the safe side done as Lori had asked her to do. Unfortunately due to the hospital being in phase 1 we are unable to visit her tonight but will be able to phone her later when they have her up. She has to stay overnight because they had to place a drain in under her arm where those lymph nodes were to take away any extra fluids and she is going to be shown how to take care of that and tomorrow when they let me go get her they will be showing me the process as well so I can help her with it…that’s all I know at this time so more to follow.

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Posted in Thoughts

Lori Update

Hi Everyone,

First, a certain little girl turns 1 this week. We had a small family party to celebrate on Saturday.

Second, after a couple of weeks without chemo, I have been less tired and while I still have neuropathy in my hands and feet it is getting better for the most part. The thumb and index finger on my good hand seem to be bearing the brunt of most of it. I have been assured it will get better with time.

The good news is that my surgery has been scheduled for this Friday afternoon. The plan is for a lumpectomy with an examination of some lymph nodes under my arm. This is what I have been praying for while preparing myself for a mastectomy. I won’t believe it until I am out of surgery though. I have great confidence in my surgeon and told her to do whatever she needs to do for the best outcome. Of course, a lumpectomy has a shorter recovery time too.

No matter how much breast tissue I lose I will need radiation after. I meet to discuss those options with the radiation specialist tomorrow. I also have a COVID test tomorrow just to be sure I don’t have it, then I have to quarantine myself with only Mr. Dollycas and Daughter #2, because they live with me, until I go to the hospital on Friday.

Until then I am making sure the Great Escapes Book Tour Bloggers have everything they need while I recover and getting my non-computer life in order. Mr. Dollycas is taking time off from work, Daughter #2 will be working but here in the evenings. Daughter #1 will be here to help after I get home and Son #2 is just a few blocks away to assist as needed.  They have all told me not to worry. I am sure they will get it all figured out.

For now, I am hoping and praying that things go as planned with no complications. Putting faith in my surgeon and in God’s hands. I am sure my family will be posting on Facebook and I will teach one of them to post here too. The support you have been giving me is so appreciated. Your thoughts and prayers have uplifted me and given me strength.

 

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Posted in Thoughts

Change in Plans

CHANGE IN PLANS

The last time I checked in with you I was feeling good and looking forward to my last 3 chemo treatments. The following Thursday while walking to the bedroom I fainted. It happened again on Saturday. I thought maybe my blood sugar was low so I started drinking a lot of juices. But it happened again late Sunday afternoon and my family decided I was going to the ER. It turned out my potassium and magnesium levels were bottoming out and because I naturally have low blood pressure it dropped to levels that made me pass out. They admitted me to give me fluids with potassium and magnesium and kept me for observation until about 11 o’clock on Tuesday. I was scheduled for chemo at noon and didn’t want to miss it. However, when we got to the cancer center my appointment had been canceled because my insurance wouldn’t pay two different facilities on the same day. I was heartbroken and mad at the same time when my oncologist didn’t reschedule me for the next day but said to come in the next week at my usual time.

Fast forward to the following week. I met with my primary doctor on Monday and he said my numbers looked good and he cleared me for chemo. Tuesday I felt great and arrived for my appointment at the cancer center. The nurse told me my oncologist wanted to see me right after they drew blood for my lab work. Usually, he waits until he has the results. I knew immediately he was going to stop my chemo, but the nurse told me she didn’t think so. But that is exactly what he did. He said the risks outweighed the rewards. I begged him to let me finish. My potassium had been low before and I was now taking tablets so that wouldn’t happen. I knew the chemo was shrinking the tumor and that 3 more weeks may shrink it even more, but he wouldn’t change his mind. He took me over to the treatment area to wait to be sure my lab work was good and I had tears rolling down my face. I felt that my body had yet again let me down. My nurse and the social worker were amazing. They helped me accept there was a change in my plans and this was how it was meant to be even though my labs came back with numbers better than I had weeks before. The potassium was at normal levels, the magnesium was almost normal but I hadn’t been taking any meds for that yet. The tears started again when they gave me a Certificate of Achievement signed by all the nurses that took such excellent care of me. I felt I didn’t deserve it. I hate not finishing something I start.

I still wish I could have had those 3 treatments but instead, I am meeting with the surgeon about a month sooner than I had planned. My appointment is this Wednesday. I am not sure what to expect because I haven’t yet had a scan to see how much the tumor has shrunk. The last scan, at the end of May, showed it a shrunk 33%. Because the tumor is so close to the skin I can feel it and it seems much smaller than that to me. I am anxious to hear her plan for surgery while hoping and praying that my body will be cleared for whatever that plan is.

The following week I meet with a radiation specialist to learn what is ahead for me after the surgery.

You may have noticed I have posted a few reviews but I am still way behind. I apologize to authors waiting for my reviews, I plan to post them and share them everywhere as soon as I can.

I continue to appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I will keep you posted about what’s ahead.

Lori 

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Posted in Thoughts

Just Checking In

I had a good week this week. I think the best week since I started chemo. Knock on wood that it continues. I have chemo treatments scheduled for the next four weeks and then I meet with the surgeon to discuss what happens next.

The last two treatments my potassium levels have been very low so I received an IV to treat that along with taking some huge capsules. One of the steroids I was taking was removed from my treatment as well and the chemo dosage was cut back a bit.  I am not sure which of these cut the major side effects I was having but am thankful they subsided at least for this past week.

My main side effect now is fatigue. I try to work at the computer each day on the book tours and even have written a few reviews, but as soon as I move to the recliner my eyes slam shut. My family wakes me up for supper most of the time. Sometimes I wake up later and the house is quiet so I read for a while before I actually go to bed for the night. Sleep is my friend now, it rejuvenates me for the day and week ahead.

My oncologist is very optimistic about my outcome and that excites me. Don’t get me wrong, I am also fearful for what’s ahead, it always seems I end up doing things the hard way, but I have a great support crew that includes you, my family and friends that I draw strength from every minute. Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. I appreciate them so much!

I will continue to add reviews as I can and post some spotlights too and update you again soon.

Best,

Lori

P.S. The grand are all doing great. In fact, Charlotte is 11 months old today and is walking all over the place. Kaden is here helping Papa, and Remi, Natalie and Thomas are always up to something fun 🙂

Posted in Thoughts

UPDATE

I had my 10th round of chemo last Tuesday which means I have 6 to go. The oncologist and I had a good meeting before my treatment and I even brought up stopping the chemo but he had none of that because my tumor is shrinking. He adjusted my meds in hopes of more good days after treatment. Previously the 3 days right after chemo were really good days because of the steroids I was taking and the next 3 days were down days where I couldn’t work. This week without the extra steroids I had 3 pretty good days, Friday I worked a half-day and was exhausted, Saturday I tried to work from my laptop but it had issues and today (Sunday) I am actually working at the computer. I feel a little lightheaded once and a while but am trying to push through.

I have several reviews to write but my brain has not cooperated in stringing the words together correctly. I have learned that is called Chemo Brain. I apologize for that and will get them written as soon as I can.

Thank you for understanding my absence for now and all your thoughts and prayers. I hope to be back soon!

~Lori

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Taking A Little Break from Posts and Reviews

This cancer and chemo have been running roughshod over me the past few days. I was unable to have chemo this week because I am severely dehydrated. They gave me two bags of fluids at the clinic and tested me for an infection. I didn’t have the bug they tested for but they can’t test for everything. So I have been pushing fluids and trying to rest and get better so I can get back to chemo next week.

Because I have commitments to authors for book tours, that has to be where I focus my hours at the computer.

So I am going to take a short break from posting reviews and other posts here. I promise I will catch up on them as soon as I can. I appreciate your understanding. I hope I get rehydrated quickly and things get back to normal.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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Posted in Sunday Salon / Sunday Post Thoughts

Sunday Salon / Sunday Post – Memorial Day Thoughts – Weekly Rewind – New Arrivals

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The Sunday Salon is a Facebook group that has become an
informal week in review gathering place for bloggers.

It is also a place to share our thoughts about things of a bookish nature.
You can also link up weekly on Readerbuzz.

SUNDAY POST The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
~ It’s a chance to share news~
A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE!

Memorial Day Thoughts


We are not spending the first weekend of Summer as we would like but a visit to a local hospital would show you how serious this pandemic still is. I am used to going to the clinic for my chemo treatments and my daughter checking me in and leaving to wait in her car, but Friday I had to go to the local hospital for an ultrasound to see if my tumor was shrinking and my husband couldn’t even come into the hospital.

We were met at the door by a nurse who told us only the patient is allowed in, he could wait in the car or better yet go home and they would call him when I was done. She wheeled me into a waiting room so I could check-in where I witnessed a heartbreaking moment. An elderly woman was checking in and in tears. Her husband is her caregiver and knew all her information and she didn’t. He was stopped at the door and not allowed with her. She was very confused by the whole process and just wanted to go home. Someone came to get her for whatever procedure she was having and was very nice but the woman was still so upset and begging for her husband. I heard her husband tell the nurse at the door that this was the first trip out of the house since the pandemic started and that his daughter had slipped two masks through their mail slot so they could come to the appointment. He then went to sit on a bench outside and the nurse followed him telling him he had to wait in his car or go home. He was in tears as he walked to his car.

This pandemic is serious and hospitals are taking it seriously and have enacted a no visitor policy. It doesn’t matter if you come into the Emergency Room or in for an appointment or ultrasound. Only the patient can come in.  Family members must remain outside to be contacted by cell phone. Children are allowed one parent and at some hospitals moms are forced to give birth without the father allowed in.

I can’t forget to mention the people who have died without their families by their side from the Coronavirus and other diseases and injuries. There are no funerals for people to grieve their loss.

Then I turn on the television and hear the man in The White House demanding churches everywhere open immediately. Bars, restaurants, gyms, and more are reopening and people flock in not wearing masks or doing any social distancing. Hair salons are reopening and I read of 1 case where a stylist with ACTUAL SYMPTOMS had opened and infected a bunch of people. There are disturbing videos online of coughing and spitting in people’s faces and getting into fistfights over wearing a mask.

Almost 100,000 people in our country have died and where do we see the leader of the country on the golf course. He also refuses to wear a mask, except for a few minutes at the Ford plant.

I am trying not to make this political but I want everyone from the top down to take this seriously as all the states start to reopen. If they don’t we could end up worst off than we are now.

Here in Wisconsin we had our cases of COVID 19 skyrocket to an all-time high just this past Wednesday and the legislature has blocked the Governor every step of the way as he has tried to keep us safe. Each state needs its own plan and everyone needs to take those plans seriously. I know we can’t stay home forever and everything needs to reopen but we need to use common sense to do it.

So do it for your friends and family to keep them safe. 

  1. Wear a mask whenever you leave your house.  
  2. Wash your hands often and keep hand sanitizer handy. (Not in your car.)
  3. If you are sick, stay home. 
  4. Continue social distancing and keep your groups under 10 people.
  5. Listen to the doctors and not the politicians.
  6. Keep Yourself Safe!

Just because states are reopening doesn’t mean the crisis has passed. We need to be smart and use the resources we have. So many people have died. So many people have sacrificed themselves to take care of the sick. So many have sacrificed so that our basic needs can be met. As you go back to work, think of everyone around you and the families waiting for them at home. As you go back to having fun, again think of everyone around you and those that have sacrificed so that you are able to do so.

On Memorial Day we remember those that sacrificed their lives to protect our country. COVID 19 is the war we are fighting now. It doesn’t care who it kills. As I write this we have surpassed 96,000 deaths in the United States. We have surpassed the military deaths of the Vietnam War. Are we going to surpass the deaths of WWI too?

REMEMBER AND HONOR 

P.S. My tumor has gotten a little bit smaller.

~Lori


Weekly Rewind – May 18 – 23, 2020

Monday – My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #21 – 2020

Plus – Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery) by Lesley A. Diehl #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Tuesday – A Murderous Misconception (Victoria Square Mystery) by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson #Review

Wednesday – Cozy Wednesday – Featuring A Call for Kelp (Seaside Café Mysteries) by Bree Baker #Review / #Giveaway @sbkslandmark

Thursday – The House That Vanity Built (A Misty Dawn Mystery) by Nancy Cole Silverman #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Friday – #FlashbackFriday – A Catered Wedding (A Mystery With Recipes) by Isis Crawford

Saturday – Killing Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery) by Suzanne Trauth #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Be courageous, be smart, stay safe!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Sunday Salon / Sunday Post Thoughts

Sunday Salon / Sunday Post – Happy Mother’s Day – Weekly Rewind – New Arrivals

6a00d8341c93ee53ef00e54fcc4de18834-800wi

The Sunday Salon is a Facebook group that has become an
informal week in review gathering place for bloggers.

It is also a place to share our thoughts about things of a bookish nature.
You can also link up weekly on Readerbuzz.

SUNDAY POST The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
~ It’s a chance to share news~
A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I grew up with a wonderful mom and married into having a fantastic mother-in-law and both inspired me so much. But today I am taking another route with this post. In this time of COVID 19, two other moms are inspiring me.

Kaden and Remington’s mom aka Daughter #1 works at a state-run facility for the behaviorally and intellectually disabled. A facility that was understaffed before the Coronavirus outbreak. She has been working double shifts or longer hours to work not only her shift but to fill in gaps when people are sick or have to stay home with their children. She is also homeschooling the boys with their dad and the boys don’t always make that easy. She also squeezes in all the other household chores and still finds time to take me for my chemo treatments. The girl has been burning the candle at both ends but her job is essential and she takes it very seriously.

Natalie’s mom is also an essential employee working at a grocery store, keeping the shelves stocked and helping people get the food they need. The store does it’s best to protect its employees but anyone who walks in could be a carrier and pass the virus around. She is homeschooling Natalie and helping her friends with daycare and other things they need. She also makes sure we don’t run out of any necessary items and I know she does that for her grandma, mom and sister too. She was one of the leaders at her store making masks for employees when this whole thing started. She is such a giving individual with a big heart and I know she is there for me no matter what.

I am so blessed to have these two strong dedicated women in my life and they are amazing moms. I wish them the happiest of Mother’s Days.

~Lori


Weekly Rewind – May 4 – 9, 2020

Monday – My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #19 – 2020

Tuesday – The Secrets of Bones: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery) by Kylie Logan #Review @StMartinsPress @KylieLoganBks

Wednesday – Cozy Wednesday with A R Kennedy – Author of R.I.P. in Reykjavík: A Traveler Cozy Mystery – #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Thursday – Caught Bread Handed: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander #Review / #Giveaway

Friday – BOOK BLAST – A Murderous Misconception (Victoria Square Mystery) by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson #Giveaway

Saturday – #FlashbackFriday (Saturday Edition) – Living the Vida Lola (A Lola Cruz Mystery) by Melissa Bourbon #Review / #Giveaway

No New Books This Week.

I hope you have a week full of bliss and no stress!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent