Just got home from shopping and having lunch with madre. The original plan was to take chili I'd made out to ma and pa's, and then go to Stuff, as Alec said he "needed toys and movies." I love that he likes going to places like that - largely madre's doing. They are Goodwill and garage sale-ing buddies. He's found some pretty cool stuff over the years, quietly re-creating things from movies he's seen. His collection is pretty amazing.
I called to see if mom and dad were home - and mom said that she'd just meet me at Stuff. It's cold enough, the chili would be fine in the car. I walked out without the darn chili. Croikey! This is the second batch I've made this week, and keep telling them I will get some to them.
BUT, we had a good time at Stuff and then went out for lunch.
I can tell I'm going to hate this toy I bought Alec at Stuff. He's loving it, therefore, it's going off every 2 seconds. He's going to be laughing like Bert n Ernie all week...you just watch.
SO - mom's appointment Friday:
I haven't really gotten all the info yet. Got some from dad, some from mom. So this part will have to be updated after I get it all.
Mom will have an echocardiogram on Monday - not sure why, but I will find out. I'm assuming it's a baseline kind of deal as I believe I read that some chemo drug can cause heart issues. *Will update*
On Wednesday, she goes in (where?) to have her port put in. Apparently chemo is really hard on your veins, and it will be easier for when she has her surgery....speaking of which....
Okay, the echo, the port, and then the plan is to start chemo on December 3rd. She will have 4 infusions of chemo once every three weeks (ending in 3 months, March-ish). She will also begin taking Herceptin, and will take this for a year. Not sure of the schedule on the Herceptin yet. *Will update* The nurse of whoever at the Center told her to plan on being there from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. I had read that the first chemo could take longer, but jeesh! Where in the breast cancer literature does it tell you to pack a lunch or choose from their extensive collection of take out menus? I was thinking 3 hours, tops - but 7? Day-ammm. Thank goodness it's only once every three weeks. I believe the Herceptin infusions are separate (I've read about them both ways, separate and at the same time of chemo), but again, need to check my info.
Then surgery to remove the tumor, radiation (during surgery? and after? how much/often/long?), then another three doses of chemo, once every three weeks. I'm not sure if she would go right into surgery after the first round of chemo - or if there's a waiting/healing/resting period first? *Will update*
I was thinking earlier while we were at Stuff and looking at hats and scarves for mom and her maybe/maybe not impending bald period - that I am SO glad she has the sense of humor she does. I think that's going to carry her a long way. We already have some plans for the blog coming up - a little, say, fashion/political/SNL-ish stuff. When we were talking about it originally, we were both laughing SO hard about the possibilities.
I am going to put together a chemo bag for mom next weekend. When originally reading about cancer, I was wondering what I could do to help mom and dad through chemo, and came across a post about things that are helpful during chemo. It very well may have been one of Ann's...as that's how I found her blog. I'm also going to load the tablet with some tunes and try to make it super easy for her to get on the internet, and have access to buying books online. Seems a whole lot easier than carrying in books, magazines, something to play music on... thinking about her long day, I better make sure and pack some snacks too!
I looked up a drug earlier that mom said she has to start taking - decadron, I believe. Decadron is a steroid, like prednisone I believe. One of the additional components of chemo. She also has to pick up some other allergy meds, like Claritin.
I need to get the names of all the chemos she will have and anything else besides the Decadron and Claritin.
I need to put a bug in dad's ear too, that now might be a darn good time to get the washer and dryer moved upstairs like he keeps saying he wants to.
Oh! I need recipes for soups if any of you all have good ones that aren't too rich but incorporate green veggies.
And I need to update the NCCN document that I attached. There's a more recent version from 2011, and I will post it in addition to the original document from 2007. It will be interesting to see both of them side by side and see what parts of the protocol changed in four years. I read both of them Friday night, and I know there were some differences, but I can't remember right now. I know I did feel better after reading it, as it has a very thorough explanation of Stages, grades, HER2+ and all the other lingo of cancer.
I would like to bring awareness to something about donating to or purchasing breast cancer items in support of the breast cancer cause. I always thought that purchasing items with a pink ribbon or claiming to make donations towards breast cancer was a good cause. If I see whatever I'm looking for with the ribbon and without, I always choose the one with. But a BETTER way to really make progress in beating breast cancer is donating or purchasing in support of the funds being used for RESEARCH - not AWARENESS. I never really thought about it. Ann's blog educated me. The money you spend purchasing bracelets or shirts, soup - whatever - if you research where the funds go, a percentage, usually small and sometimes, only if so many units of the product is sold, is donated towards AWARENESS. The people who figure out how to beat and cure these things don't work in marketing; they work in labs. They are scientists. Who need funding to find out how cancer ticks in order to be able to massacre it. I have always been a Komen supporter - and I will always support the annual walk here, for personal reasons, as I will always choose the item with a pink ribbon versus the one without. But I am now a StandUp2Cancer fan, whose purpose is to raise funds for RESEARCH, not awareness. Ann spoke of another one on her blog. I will get the name and list it here. I'm a fan of that one too, whatever it may be, and any other that doesn't profit off of what my mom and our family is going through. (Update: American Cancer Association - duh!)
Oh, and one more little kicker....mom's insurance won't pay for a wig, but the policy will pay for Viagra, should see feel like she needs a little something-something during chemo. Way to go BCBS ...AND the cancer insurance. Cancer insurance won't cover the cost of a wig??? Are your friggin kidding me???? Who is in charge at these places? Apparently, someone who has never loved someone facing cancer head on and thinks a man getting a little something-something in his 70's is much more important than a woman being able to have some semblance of normalcy while poisoning her body to stay alive. Ridiculous.