Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Plan

We've been busy here, Brett and I.  Last Wednesday I had an appointment with a breast surgeon here on Long Island.  He was very kind, very competent and came very highly recommended by my gynecologist, whom I adore.  His take was that we caught this pretty early, that my request for a bilateral radical mastectomy was reasonable, and that radiation wouldn't come into play and chemo was even questionable.

On Thursday I went for an MRI of the breast.  It's a more detailed view of everything, and it showed the lymph nodes as well which was a new view outside of the mammogram and the sonogram.  The results would take 2-3 days and, with Labor Day in between, Tuesday was a safe bet.

Which was good, because on Friday Brett and I took the boys the Sesame Place.  This was a plan we had set up a month ago, because Quinn had expressed a newfound love of Elmo.  Unfortunately Quinn didn't make it to Sesame, but we made it anyway - despite some angst from Colin.

"No! We were supposed to take Quinn there."

Gotta love a principled child.  Of course, the key word in that sentence is child.  Once he found out there were water rides there, he was far more willing to put that whole 'this was supposed to be for Quinn' thing aside.

We went and had a great time - rode every ride and water ride at least one time (lazy river two times, of course).

enjoying the hotel pool

It was, however, The Weekend That Should Have Been.  The plan for Sesame came up since we were going to be in the area anyway - it was my cousin Kelly's wedding.  And, if you'll recall, Quinn was supposed to be the Flower Girl for Kelly and Steve.  It was also our first gathering since she died, and the first time we've seen most everyone outside of our immediate family since I was diagnosed.  

All in, it was a great night.  My family is - pardon my language - fucking awesome.  The boys were invited, making this wedding #2 for Colin and #1 for Reid (not so bad for 5.5 and 4!) and had a great night.  Everyone was perfectly conscientious of our situation as it may be and struck an excellent balance all evening.  And, my cousin and aunt are so incredible.  Kelly's colors were various shades of mauve, with the girls wearing black dresses.  I've known this since May.  On Saturday, the ceremony started and it struck me that they were all carrying purple flowers, Kelly included.  Then someone pointed out that all the bridesmaids' toes were painted purple.  When we entered the reception room, the linens were... purple.  As was the cake.

the beautiful bride and handsome groom... and gorgeous (purple) bouquet!
love!! 
(some of) my gorgeous cousins, clutching their bouquets of purple

How ridiculously incredibly kind was that?!?!  This was Her day.  And yet she shared it with us, in memory of Quinn.  I just canNOT tell you how much that meant to us.  It was so lovely and Kelly and Steve are such an amazing couple, who are going to make such amazing parents.

Reality reared its ugly head again this morning, though.  Today was my appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering (the cancer hospital of the northeast - and, pretty much every other year, of the country... it vies for the top spot against MD Anderson in TX).  I met with the amazing breast surgeon Dr. Kimberly Van Zee.  She was just great in every sense of the word and really made my decision on who to go with very easy.  

We also got the MRI results while we were there today - the clean MRI results.  While it did show a large amount of additional suspicious tissue in the right breast, the lymph nodes look clear which is great.  

After a very long day with Dr. Van Zee, followed by a consult with the chief of Plastics Dr. Cordeiro, we have a plan.

I will have a bilateral total mastectomy with extender placement for future implants on September 18th.  The recovery will be 6-8 weeks; chemo will (likely) begin 4 weeks post-surgery and last for 4 months, every other week.  Tamoxifen for 5-10 years following.

There were a few big disappointments (I was very much hoping to avoid transplants, but am not a candidate for either DIEP or TRAM flap reconstruction. And, however unlikely it was for us to move on it, the possibility of another Linzer baby has officially been taken off the table).  All in all, though, MSK is where I should be and we're fully confident in the decisions we've made so far.

Now there's just the little matter of executing those decisions... ;)

missing her soooooooooo much

34 comments:

  1. Eileen, praying for you and happy to hear your condition is considered early and that you have such a proactive plan. Best of luck in the months ahead...sending good vibes to you and your family! Stacy

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  2. Thank you so much for the update Eileen. I feel really sad about Sesame. The purple wedding was indeed a VERY thoughtful and loving gesture. I'm also very glad that there is such an immediate and hopeful plan to deal with the cancer and my prayers and thoughts are so much with you and will continue to be.

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  3. Eileen,

    So so nice to hear from you. Wishing you and your family the very best.

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  4. just recently stumbled upon your blog. praying for peace, comfort and now a full recovery for you!

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  5. So glad it was not a bad as it could've been. My friend just went through her bilateral mastectomy surgery, and I helped her by driving around her daughter to her after school activities. She recovered quickly, and felt pretty good after about 12 days she said. She is having minimal radiation now and reconstructive surgery down the road. Sounds like you are on it and dealing with it well. Prayers to you all - and loved the touch of Quinn color in the wedding pics!

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  6. A former student of mine had bilateral mast. surgery 6 years ago, after her 2nd bout with breast cancer - she was not even 30 at the time. She's gone through the chemo, the radiation, the post-surgery, etc; and she's doing absolutely great, feels amazing, and looks fantastic! She took the tiger by the tail so to speak, and finished her PhD last year. You can do ANYthing, Eileen - stay home and make cookies with the boys (I recommend Linzer-tarts, of course!), go for your PhD, or anything in between. Keep strong; we're there for you.

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  7. I was so glad to see an update! I've had you in my thoughts and prayers! What a seriously awesome way to honor Quinn! your family is amazing. <3

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  8. Thankful for the update, the plans you've made. Thinking of your family often.

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  9. Doing a little bit of a happy dance over your lymph nodes being clear, Eileen. That's HUGE! And no need to apologize for your language - your family is fucking awesome! How sweet of Kelly to share her day with Quinn. After I finished my little dance, I spent some time thinking about how there IS no escaping the awesomeness of Quinn. I believe with all my heart that she did indeed know and that knowing how you would have put your own care aside while she was here, she chose her time with you in her heart. I am sorry you all have to miss her and that you have to face this new challenge. I hope you can feel the tidal wave of love that is coming your way from all over the world. xoxoxo

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  10. You are so brave Eileen ... Such a strong women, wife and mother. We are thinking of you all every second. Your family sounds completely amazing with all the sweet Quinn touches at the wedding. Quinn is so loved and so missed. Xoxo s

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  11. You will be all right! These are troubled waters, but they WILL be long gone under the bridge soon. Receive my prayers, best wishes, much love and admiration from Brazil.

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  12. Thank you for the update and for sharing your story with us. You have an angel on your shoulder who will be with you EVERY step of the way. God bless.

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  13. Yay! Clear lymph nodes are wonderful news! What an amazing family you have! Good luck and hang in there
    Stacy

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  14. Eileen, I'll never forget the kindness and generosity you showed me, I just hope the universe can finally see fit to pay it forward to you and your family. Until then, many hugs and love for you!!

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  15. Purple wedding had me in tears!!! So incredibly sweet. You are blessed with amazing family Eileen <3 Clear nodes is great news considering. Tons of hugs and good thoughts and prayers from my family to yours XOXO

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  16. You are an amazing woman but your daughter what a great angel! Your plan sounds good and clear nodes are definitively a very good news. I have, unfortunately, many friends that have struggle with that C... and you will also win your battle. Continue your admirable journey. Cheers Johane

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  17. Sending you lots and LOTS of strength...glad you have your amazing husband and handsome boys by your side, and beautiful Quinn looking down on you.

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  18. Eileen, I am praying for you and your family, and willing positive vibes your way! You and your family are strong and I am confidant that you will overcome this! And don't forget, you have your own PERSONAL guardian angel looking out for you!

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  19. Eileen, I am so sorry to hear that you and your family have to face this right now. I've been privileged to get to know you over the past couple of years. I know your amazing strength and I know you will beat this. If there is anything I can do to help you and your family, please let me know. As always, I am sending my love and strength.

    Josh H.

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  20. Eileen, I've been following your story for a long time (since People mag), and think of you often. Lots and lots of prayers to you, the guys and your angel Quinn.

    Ethne

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  21. Thanks for the updates, been thinking and praying for all of you! Sending you happy and healthy vibes from whitestone, queens! - xoxo. Jillian

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  22. Eileen, my heart continues to break for you. How can you be given so much hardship in this lifetime? I will continue to pray for you and your family, and yes I will continue to talk with Quinn as I do from time to time. Sounds crazy huh? But yea, I talk to your baby Quinn. She probably wonders who the heck I am. I believe in the power of prayer. So I'll keep praying.

    Eileen, I've had family and several good friends go through what you are with the breast cancer. I am happy to say, they are all happy and healthy now. Good luck with everything, I wish you the best.

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  23. Eileen, this is all so foreign to me, I can't believe this is your new reality. I will be reading all about it and trying to understand. Man, I wish this was not happening-god this sucks. The wedding was beautiful, I am amazed by the thoughtfulness and how touching all the lavender was. We are here all the time-I can send cookies in the mail (I will overnight them) or even fly out to babysit Colin and Reid and take them to the fun arcade place by your house-anything-seriously-we are here for you guys. xoxo ,Chelsea

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  24. I've been following your story for awhile now and think of you all often. Timing is definitely everything in life, and I know you all have a lovely little guardian angel looking out for you. I will think happy, strong, and positive thoughts for you all during the next few months.

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  25. I've been following your blog for a long time, and am so inspired by the strength and love of your family. Quinn was such a beautiful little girl, and has had such a profound impact on the lives of so many people around it world. And it seems that she's already busy looking over all of you from above. I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Stay strong and know that you have a lot of people thinking about you.

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  26. Good luck tomorrow Eileen, I will say a prayer that the procedure goes smoothly and that you recover easily.

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  27. Thinking of you and the family as you prepare for tomorrow. I'll be sending good thoughts to you all for a smooth procedure and speedy recovery.

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  28. Just wanted to send a quick message of encouragement. Like so many others, I'm thinking of you today and hoping things go smoothly. Sending lots of hugs from Buffalo, NY.

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  29. Thinking of you and your family today, as always.

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  30. Sending lots of love and prayers your way xo

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  31. Thinking about you and your family. Your strength and generousity is truly amazing. I saw that you donated to the Queens Village families today. You are an inspiration to all of us. Sending lots of love and hugs. XO

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  32. I'll be sure to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. My name is Heather and I was hoping you could answer my question about your blog. If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com I would greatly appreciate it :-)

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  33. You have been in my thoughts and prayers.

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  34. I live in İstanbul/Turkey and I have read Quinn story. She is a very sweet girl :) My prayers to Quinn.

    God be with you

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