As we're doing each of these activities this year, I am constantly thinking of last year, the one and only time we did each of these with Quinn. A number of these never made it to the blog, though they were all List items Quinn did complete, including apple picking, pumpkin picking and riding in a convertible!
Late September we met up with three other families and went up to North Salem NY to go apple picking. It was a strange time - we had just returned from Duke two weeks before, had just made our final decision not to move ahead with the STC transplant, had just started seeing our friends and family again. It could have been an awkward day but it was so so much fun! (We liked it so much, we returned with one of those families this year.) If anyone in the area is in need of a great apple picking place, Harvest Moon in North Salem is where it's at!
|Quinn in a cut out cracks me up every time|
|the "big" kids|
|the original Linzer, Party of Five photo|
Just one week later, we honored a five year old tradition and met up with my best friend and her family to go pumpkin picking. We did break from tradition in that we did not hit up the most crowded place in all of pumpkin-picking-ville but instead opted to go a bit further east to a For.Real.Pumpkin Patch. It was a great place, and was a lot of fun (but for the torrential downpour but hey, can't win 'em all).
|can you even stand the cuteness of that outfit?!|
|family photo op, on the hayride out to the pumpkin patch|
|Reid, Colin and Dylan in the corn maze|
|Reid checking out Jordan as a witch|
|at the McDonald's down the road,|
once we realized the rain wasn't going to (ever) stop
Riding in a Convertible
Quinn's (and Colin's and Reid's) Popsie owns a convertible and was so excited to take her out for a spin. Mind you, this was before we recognized Quinn's love of a breeze but knowing it now, it was such a perfect thing for her to do!! It was a gorgeous day, perfect for the ride. Daddy rode in the back seat to make sure missy didn't get too fussy but she was so happy and comfortable, it probably was totally unnecessary.
|love this photo - look at those grins!|
|so comfy, she even fell asleep!!|
|the boys trying to get in on the action|
These types of memories, and photos capturing those memories, are aiding me in getting by each day. It's been a rough go of it lately. Two weeks ago I received my Oncotype score - the test that determines the likelihood of recurrence of the breast cancer and heavily weights the chemo decision on the part of the oncologist. The score was 21, which falls on the low end of the Intermediate risk range - also known as "The Grey Area". Of course ;)
Brett and I visited the oncologist on Tuesday of this week. My assumption was that she would present me with two options - one, to skip the chemo altogether and the other to take regular or even scaled down chemo to be sure we get it all. I also assumed she'd strongly recommend the chemo because of both my age and my substantial family history.
I was sort of right - she did present two options, and she did strongly back the safer route. What completely shocked me (us) was that the two options presented were actually a regular course of chemo, and a very aggressive course of chemo. It was the very aggressive course that Dr. Theodoulou emphatically recommended. The course that is complete with full hair loss (at day 16, to be precise) and tremendous fatigue, nausea and bone pain - a total of 8 treatments over 16 weeks.
The goal is to get my risk of recurrence back down into the single digits. The Oncotype has it at 13% (based on the assumption that I will take Tamoxifen for 5 years). When adding in lymphovascular invasion - which showed on the pathology reports - as well as my age and my family history, Dr. Theodoulou actually put my risk of recurrence between 25 and 30%. That's kind of crazy, considering I've already removed the problem area(s)! Or so I thought. What we also learned was that as much as 5% of your breast tissue is left behind following a mastectomy - otherwise, you'd just have holes in your skin.
On top of this, radiation, which was previously taken off the table, is back on. The oncologist is not comfortable making the call against and would prefer I see the chief of radiation oncology to be sure.
I was able to secure a schedule that leaves my 'off' weeks on those of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Colin's birthday, which was incredibly important to me. After my one day wallowing allowance, I have researched wigs, ordered tichels* and favorited some great makeup videos on YouTube.
I can't control much anymore, but at least I can do my best to keep things as stable as possible for our family, and allow myself to look the best I can so I feel the best I can. And at least I have the thousands of videos, photos and memories to pour over and keep me occupied.
|miss you Monkey!!|
photo credit: Forever Fireflies
*tichel: for any of you who are going through hair loss (or impending hair loss) due to chemo, I would highly recommend googling tichel to look for headscarves / coverings. All of the ones I found were very, er, cancer-esque. Then I realized I wasn't coming across any Orthodox websites! Those women spend their entire adult lives covering their hair (and in wigs - that'll be a post for another day, once I actually get mine) so they've got to know the best. The name they use is a tichel and beautiful, soft, breathable fabrics come up in a search - try it!