Monday, October 30, 2006

Breast Cancer Walk Results

Patty started feeling better over the weekend but hadn't rebounded as well as the last treatment. She says she still doesn't feel good. Icky or blah is her description. She did get out and go to church on Sunday and to our church's Bless Fest last night. We had a good time.

Well, the results are in and it appears the Breast Cancer Race for the Cure was a great success. Thanks to all who walked in Patty's name. We really appreciate your efforts. We know its hard to get up on a chilly and cloudy Saturday morning to do something for somebody else but, as I have been reading of late this is what God calls us to do.

God doesn't call you to serve others just for the benefit of others but, because it has an equal benefit for you as well. It places "self" to the back of the line for a little while and that's a good thing. While I was doing a little serving this Saturday morning myself, the thought came to mind, "are we really serving if we serve only when we can fit it into "our" schedule?"

The next morning on Sunday, I was getting ready for church and I had the radio on WRJZ 620 AM Joy 62 Christian Talk Radio (shameless plug) and a local preacher was delivering his sermon. I'm not sure who it was but he was relating a sermon about serving. Part of his sermon was a story of St. Augustine who was travelling to deliver a sermon to a large group of scholars, a very important event in his time. Along the way they came across a family who was starving. Thus, they stopped, gave them food, and attended to their other needs. Further down they ran into a man who was injured and they assisted him as well. Again, as they travelled, they came across a man whose cart was broken and they helped him repair it so he could be on his way. At each stop, his assistant implored that they must not stop or they would miss the event. St. Augustine told him that these people needed their help. When they finally reached the event, everyone had already left and the organizer of the event told him that he had missed his opportunity to deliver his sermon. St. Augustine replied, that's OK we delivered several sermons along the way.

John Ortberg says in a Bible study we're doing that the inner self complains when you serve others within your schedule, but it screams when you serve others despite your schedule. Maybe we would grasp a better understanding of God's work in us if we didn't consult "our" schedule when God presents us with an opportunity to serve. As Steve Brown would say, "You think about that."

Here's a pic of some of the people who walked for Patty and others. Thanks again guys to all of you who walked, I think you're the best and God does too!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Morning Update

Yesterday was pretty much a duplicate of the day before. Patty felt a little better in the evening but woke up sick again this morning. I spoke with her a few minutes ago and she sounded a little better. I think she is basically running on fumes at this point and they're about to run out. Hopefully, she'll turn the corner today towards feeling much better. She asked me last night if she looked like that girl in the Lipstick movie when she was taking her chemo except for the stringy hair. Laughingly I said nahhhhhh, you don't have dark circles under your eyes. She wasn't amused.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Day 4, Treatment 3 Update and McDonald's Fries

The nausea started getting a little better yesterday evening into last night, but this morning when I returned from taking the girls to school she was sick again. I just talked to her a few moments ago and she said it has slacked off again but she is still a little queasy. She hasn't ate much over the last few days but when she does have some bit of an appetite she's been craving McDonald's french fries. Strange.

Good luck to all of you who are participating in the Race for the Cure. Patty and I appreciate all of your efforts on her behalf. Remember, once you get to running or walking you want need all that extra clothing for the cold as you'll heat up real quick! I told her the other day that once she's over the treatments I want her to start training to RUN it next year. That got a good laugh out of her! ha ha!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tough Night

Patty started feeling the effects of the Neulasta shot after dinner. She had felt pretty good up til that point. She fell asleep early but woke up in the middle of the night really nauseated and soon got sick several times. This continued throughout the night into this morning. I called Laverne and she came over to help get the boys ready when they got up as one of our small group members, Tracy, was going to pick them and watch them today. I would be gone taking the girls to school by the time the boys woke up.

This is the first time she has really been sick like you would expect someone to be on chemotherapy. Please pray that God would alleviate the nausea and sickness as well as the aches and pains from the Neulasta shot. Please pray for our spirits as well.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why I Wore Lipstick...

Yesterday's treatment went well, that being no reactions. Patty started feeling a little queasy yesterday afternoon which continued throughout the night. This morning she was feeling about the same. These drugs definitely make her more nauseous than the first she received.

We watched a good movie last night that we could really relate to on The Lifetime Network. The movie is "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy". It is a true story about Geralyn Lucas who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27. It tells their story of struggles and achievements throughout her diagnosis and treatment. We could really relate because she was young and her husband was a doctor. With Patty being young and me being in the medical field it was eerily similar to our situation except no kids. It definitely helped me in the fact seeing someone going through the same thing we are. Sometimes you get this feeling your alone on an island with this and the movie helped me in that regard.

I'm glad to say that Geralyn is now a 11 year survivor and has had two children since her diagnosis and treatment. You can click on the links above to learn more. They are going to air the movie again on October 28 at 9 p.m. on the Lifetime Network. If you want an inside viewpoint on some of the things Patty and I have experienced then mark you calendars for this Saturday night.

I've added a books of interest section to the blog. If you're interested in the Why I Wore Lipstick book, click on the link on the lower right and it will take you to Amazon to purchase.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Treatment #3 Looms

Time for us is revolving around weeks of 3. We're rolling around again to the next 3 week period tomorrow with Patty's next treatment. The treatments are now taking about 2 1/2 hours. Patty actually doesn't feel to bad that day but days two, three, and four are the ones that wipe her out. Thankfully, we're able to cobble together a bunch of help for the tough week. Without that it would be tough, real tough.

This last week before the next treatment has been hectic. Brett was lifeless, irritable, crying the whole week. Patty spent more than four hours with him and Katie last Thursday at the pediatrician's office. Finally, after the fourth visit of the week and chest x-rays, blood cultures, throat swabs, finger pricks, catherizations, ear washings and a multitude of other tests did they on Friday discover where the infection was, his ear. Can you believe it? Medicine is definitely an art. That's the scary part. Most think it is a defined science. It might be after the art part of figuring how to use the science. So all four of the kids and Patty have been sick this week.

Ironically, today I volunteered to work at St. Mary's Cancer Survivor Day at the Knoxville Zoo. Another surreal moment for me. I have a lot of those lately. Everybody come over after I was done and we toured the zoo. Afterwards, we went to Patty's grandmother's to check on her and do some winterizing on the camper. Thankfully, she was doing much better. She had been terribly sick as well the last few weeks. Patty used to be able to help her with the daily activities of life up until now. Another unfortunate consequence of this disease.

Patty seems to be holding up pretty good on the outside. But truthfully, I don't know. People ask me all the time how she is doing. I really don't know what to say, so I say she's doing OK. I know they're being polite and if you're one of them don't take this the wrong way. If she is like me, she's probably thinking about it all the time which is not a good thing because you get tired of thinking about it. At least I do. But you can't. Its always there, smacking you in the face every minute of every wakening day. Here's a typical moment...

your wife has cancer!, your wife has cancer!.....nahhh, can't be.....oh yes it can and its here live in color!....surely not, this is just a bad wish buddy, you've just come up big in the Mega C Lotto!

You can run but you can't hide. I usually try to turn the conversation quickly if I can. I don't like dwelling on it. My soul longs for normalcy, if there is such a thing. But that is gone, for a long time at least. Long live normalcy for those of you who still have it. I see it everyday, at least my mind tells me I do. Driving by in a car, at the ball game, mowing the yard. OK, I'm digressing, I better quit before I delve down any further.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pictures from Clingman's Dome

These are some of the camera phone pics I took from our trip up to Clingman's Dome last Thursday. It was 44 degrees and the wind chill was probably in the 20's as the wind was blowing hard. This past weekend there was a 90 mph wind gust during a storm right where Patty, Grant, and I are standing. The girls were too cold to make the short but steep 1/2 mile hike. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, Fever Sunday

Sunday was a rough day. Kendall woke up not feeling well and soon developed a fever. Our plans were to go to Cracker Barrelll that morning with Patty's family before they left for home. Since Kendall was sick I stayed home with her and everybody else headed out to the Barrell. Kendall started feeling a little better so we ventured together over to the local Mickey D's for a father/daughter breakfast.

Meanwhile, Patty said about the time they delivered her food she had a hot flash and then the nausea set in. She couldn't even eat it her food. When she got home I could tell she was not feeling well. She soon was in the bathroom sick. Brett was the next one down. Fever and grumpy. Soon Grant joined the fray. Three down, one to go. Katie was the only one left that wasn't sick. Things calmed down for the evening but little did I know there was more to come. Patty developed a fever next so I had to call the physician and he called in a prescription that I went and picked up after I put the kids to bed. Brett woke up around 1:30 with fever again and vomiting. He kept it up until 5 a.m. So I debated, sleep for an hour or stay up and go ahead and get ready? I opted for the hour.

Patty is much better today. She went and had her blood counts checked and everything looked ok. Everybody else has recovered as well except for Brett. He still has a fever and is "as grumpy as an ol' baar" to quote the coal miner's daughter.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Post Fall Break Trip Update

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last few days. I was without Internet access for the days we were gone.

Patty is feeling ok. Her head is still sore and tender and her back has started bothering her again. I know her back has her concerned. I've tried to convince her that it show on her scans so it is probably just muscular but I can understand her concerns. Please pray she will get some relief from this pain and concern.

We had a good time in the mountains. The place we stayed was nice. I didn't think about it until I just placed the link but, the cabin's name was "The Journey". As in similar to the title of this blog. Weird. We went to Dollywood on Wednesday and believe it or not it was the least crowded I've ever seen it. If you've ever been to Dollywood you'll know how that when I say "C" lot wasn't even full how sparse the crowd was. The kids could get on one ride, get off and get right on another.

On Thursday the kids got to swim and we went up to Clingman's Dome. Man, was it cold! It was 44 but with the wind chill it had to be in the 20's. It was clear and you could see for 40 miles. We had never been to the actual overlook so Patty, myself, Grant (with some assistance from my shoulders), and Jay (Laverne's husband) made the 1/2 mile steep trek up to the 360 degree overlook. Everybody else chickened out. The view was tremendous. We were at the level of the bottom of the clouds and it was remarkable to see how fast they actually moved. I'll post some pics later.

Yesterday, we headed back stopping on the way at the new Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge. To quickly describe it, I would relate it to a science museum. A place worth visiting once but you might not want to return for another ten years.

Patty's aunt Rosalind, cousin Laura, and her children from North Carolina are in for the weekend to visit. Patty is gone right now with them to do a little shopping. I had to talk her into going. You know her, she was wanting to clean the house. Good Grief!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quick First of the Week Update

Patty starting feeling better over the weekend. That being said, she says she never feels all the way better and even wonders if she ever will. She had a headache yesterday that persisted for most of the day.

The girls are out for Fall break starting Wednesday so we're going to head up to the mountains for a couple of nights. The weather is not supposed to be great but we'll have access to a covered heated pool and we're going to take some movies to watch. I'll let you know if they're any "count" to use a good ol' Southern euphemism. I'm sure we'll join the huddled masses at Dollywood at some point during the two days :).

I have a funny breast cancer related story that I'll try to post tonight.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Morning Update and Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Patty felt pretty bad yesterday but felt a little better last night. This morning she was nauseated and vomited. After that she felt a little better. This is the second day in a row that this has happened. She says its almost like morning sickness. I had read someone else describe the same feeling. Hopefully, she'll begin a upswing this morning.

As you may or may not know, October is breast cancer awareness month. During the month thousands of people and organizations take the time to make women more aware of breast cancer and to also celebrate those who have survived it. Jacki Donaldson, who wrote an article on Patty and the blog last month, is celebrating those currently under treatment and survivors by posting interviews of them daily at The Cancer Blog.

On a more local level, St. Mary's Breast Center is celebrating Breast Cancer Survivor Month in many fashions. Many of Patty's great friends work at the center and they are gathering a team together to participate in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Race for the Cure walk on October 28. More specifically they are going to walk in Patty's honor. Their team name is "St. Mary's Bosom Buddies". Interesting. Anyway, their recruiting as many people as they can to walk with them in honor of Patty on this day. You don't have to work for St. Mary's to join. So, if you want to join them call Crystal Duggar at 859-7063 or email her at If you want to go ahead and join click on the following link:

Then click REG NOW, then click JOIN AN EXISTING TEAM and look for the St. Mary's team. You will get a Race for the Cure t-shirt as well! Now if you're lazy or injured and don't want to walk you can participate in "Sleep for a Cure". You still register and get a free t-shirt but you don't have to walk and you can stay in and sleep.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Quick Update

Patty begin feeling much worse yesterday afternoon. You could tell by the look on her face. Once again, she describes it as having the worse case of the flu you could imagine...x 10. Today will probably be more of the same but I'm praying that she will begin to improve. I'll post another update with along with some more things later in the day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Patty is feeling kind of blah today. She started feeling ill yesterday evening and it has continued into today. She hasn't thrown up any but is feeling a little queasy. Hopefully it won't get any worse over the next few days.

We did switch to the new chemotherapy regimen (AC-TH vs TC, other options are TCH, AC, Dose Dense AC-T, FEC, uhhhhh, you get the picture) which means that her main chemotherapy treatments will last for a total of 7 months followed by 7 weeks of radiation and then the weekly Herceptin which will roughly finish at the end of next year. Yes, that's right, December of 2007. Then she will be on another type of drug for 5 years. Who knows for sure after that. It could be another 5 years of another drug. One of the preeminent breast cancer Oncologists in the country, Dr. Steven Jones, agreed that in Patty's case switching would be the most optimal treatment based on current data.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The New Look

Patty's first chemotherapy treatment went well. In the sense that as well as a chemotherapy treatment could go. Around 6 p.m. last night she started feeling really bad and wasn't really able to eat dinner. Holly Turner had brought us a wonderful meal that we all enjoyed. Patty started to feel a little better around 9 p.m. and slept ok.

As you know her hair had begun to really thin so when she began to feel a little better we decided to not postpone the inevitable any longer. Thus..., a hair cut was in order. Not only was it a first for her in having her head shaved, it was a first for me in shaving one! Whoo Hooo! Truthfully, I couldn't believe she was going to let me do it but hey, I wasn't going to ask twice. I've always secretly desired to be on the other side of a head shave since I've received so many myself. I just never thought it would ever happen and certainly not under these circumstances. Nevertheless, I made a mad dash to Darrell and Beth's to borrow their clippers.

I started off by giving her a mohawk to see how it would look. I thought 'what the heck' we're cutting it all off anyway so we might as well experiment. It didn't look too bad. She kind of had the punk rock look going. From there I finished the job but, it wasn't long before the phrase "NASA, ...we have a problem" came to mind. While the clippers cut it close they didn't cut it to the scalp. So, we called the resident hair expert, LeAnn, for advice but she wasn't home. We then commenced to applying our thinking caps and Patty soon came up with the thought of using my electric razor. I said 'Great Idea'!

Here is where my hair cutting experience came into play. Having shaved my face now for over 22 years I was very adept at reaching maximum smoothness with an electric razor, just never on so grand of scale. I had to be careful to assure there would be no razor burn. Soon, her head was as smooth as my face on a weekday at 6:30 a.m.

I have to admit I was a little concerned of what my reaction to her new look would be but I shouldn't have been. I soon saw that she actually looks great with her new sheen and she really does! She sports a great head shape and color unlike my asymmetric noggin'. She looked very 'new age'. Her first comments were, "it felt like it was burning." Not in the burning sense such as fire but, more like when you apply sports creme to your skin. I soon informed her that was normal with a fresh shearing. Later, she began to complain that she was cold. She said now she knows why I'm cold all the time. I thinking I'm starting to like this and wondering how I can convince her to keep the new look. Just think of the benefits. Now, she is cold like me, there will be no money spent on fancy hair products or colorings, highlights, or hair cuts. No long delays in going somewhere, man this is looking good! I digress.

One of our real concerns about this was the kids' reaction to the new look. So this morning Patty had a hat on when she went to get Grant out of bed. His first words were "Mommy, I like your new hat!" So she asked him if he wanted to see her new hair cut and he said yes. She took her hat off to show him the new look. After he looked at her, she asked him what he thought, he smiled and quickly replied, "I think it looks beau-ti-ful!" That Grant, already a charmer.

Pictures at 11.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Second Treatment Today

I apologize for the lack of posts this week. There hasn't been a lot to report. Patty has felt pretty good this week except for the gradual loss of hair. She's debating whether to cut it or wait and see how much she loses. It still looks pretty good as she has a thick head of hair of which I've always been jealous.

By the time most of you read this today she will be getting her second treatment or have completed it. We haven't had a chance to speak with the doctor this week as he had to have an emergency appendectomy last week. He is supposed to return today and we hope that we'll get further direction on her treatment course.

Please pray today that Patty's treatment will go well. I know she's nervous after the reaction she had last time. I'll be updating often this week to keep you up to date on how she is feeling.