Thursday, October 3, 2013

Still Kickin'

Thank you for all the check-ins, it is so sweet that there are so many people who continue to be concerned with our well-being.

I had the bilateral mastectomy on Wednesday, September 18th as scheduled.  Thankfully, also 'as scheduled', the sentinel node biopsy came back benign.  This means that the cancer did not get into the lymph nodes, which is when things begin to get really scary.  There were far more DIC (ductal invasive carcinoma) than even showed up on the scans and at least some of them did permeate the vessels.  This all but guarantees I will require chemo. But, to be sure, there is still some testing on the tissue underway - confirmation of the initial diagnosis of ER/PR+ HER2- and, pending that confirmation, Oncotype-ing - a test that defines the likelihood of recurrence.  All of this, plus a plan will (hopefully!) be available to me on October 22 at my oncology appointment.

The healing process is taking some time - understandably - and there are days when I feel great, followed by days when I feel pretty crappy.  One might deduce that I push too hard on the good days, but those are just sissies talking ;)  All in all, I am physically doing considerably better just 15 days out which is encouraging on the cancer front.

I'm not doing all too well on the Quinn front.  My biggest beef with this whole breast cancer crap is that I am being robbed - once again - of time 'with' Quinn, this time for grieving.  A friend so poignantly put it - Did you ever think in a million years that something would happen in your life to make cancer seem like no biggie??  This should have been the worst thing that ever happened to us.  Yet after losing Quinn, I can barely muster the interest in the Rah-Rah Pink support to acknowledge that it's more than a pain in the ass.  When people ask how I'm feeling or doing, I have to mentally switch gears because now 99% of the time, it's about the mastectomy and not about Quinn.  

In the past 55 days since she's been gone, so much has changed and that in and of itself is just nonsense.  All of this with my health, the boys have gone back to school -with Colin starting Kindergarten, and, worst of all, the world has lost two more beautiful babies :(  One was another child with NPA, whose family chose to battle privately but who Brett and I had the opportunity to meet back in January.  Another was the six year old son of my friend from college who battled a rare cardiac illness his entire life.  Please keep both of these families in your thoughts, especially sending them good thoughts for peace - they will all need it.

The show must go on literally meant immediately and it feels terribly unfair to leave Quinn behind so quickly. I'm meeting new parents at Colin's school and, though they are admittedly few and far between, there are still some families in the area who don't know about us, about Quinn.  And I find myself repeating the same thing to the same seemingly innocuous, actually horrendous question - "How many kids do you have?".

I did have the foresight to anticipate the gut wrenching reaction this inevitable question would cause me over and over and over as I used to lay awake, before Quinn even passed, debating how to answer the question to well-meaning strangers.  But now, there is no question.


Three.  I have three children.  I offer details when asked, and always refer to her as "my daughter, Quinn."  Because everyone should know her name - she was just too amazing not to.

So, there is my update in a James Joyce-style stream of consciousness.  Thank you for caring so much. And as always thank you for remembering Quinn - nothing means more to us than that.

Some older photos I recently came across:


photo credit: Forever Fireflies

32 comments:

  1. Thank you for the update on you, both the physical and mental updates. It must really suck to feel so robbed. I don't have much of a way with words, but I'm glad to read an update. Take care. I hope the boys and your husband are doing okay.

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  2. I am glad you are healing well. You and your family are in my thoughts. You are a brave and strong person, it is unfair that you have been robbed of the time you need to grieve for your amazing and incredible Quinn. I wish for you any moment of peace you can find...thank you for the update

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  3. Thank you for your update, Eileen, and for the beautiful photos of your family. So glad to hear that you're recovering well. We're all rooting for you and always thinking of you, Quinn and your family. Linzer, Party of Five FOREVER. Sending you lots of hugs, peace and prayers.

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  4. So glad that you wrote. I've been thinking about you, Quinn and your family and checking every day. Wishing you strength. xo

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  5. I think about Quinn and your family everyday, and I'm keep you in my thoughts/prayers!! Every time is make a wish I include Quinn - hoping her angel wings keep her close to you always!!

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  6. My heart goes out to you Eileen. 55 days and so much to deal with. Prayers for peace and a chance to grieve properly coming your way - with love. I've been so anxious for an update that I read this post so over-eagerly that I had to reread a few times in order to really absorb anything it said.

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  7. Eileen,
    I have been checking your blog every day, anxiously waiting an update! Thank you for keeping us posted. I lost my mother in law suddenly 42 days ago and I can assure you she is having a ball with Quinn. I had turned her onto your blog not long before she passed (completely unexpected passing for us...although we think she knew). My mom just finished her treatments for the same type of breast cancer in July. She still has days where she is drained but every day is one more day "cancer free". I think of you often and wish there was something I could do to help...even if it is to prepare a meal for you or take the boys to a movie so you could rest. What an inspiration you are!

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  8. You are in my thoughts and hoping each day you have some bright moments and great memories to get you through and keep you healing well.

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  9. No one here will be surprised to hear this, but having witnessed you respond to parents you are newly meeting, I must say that you continue to amaze me. Just as you write, you speak with such grace. Even when the person crosses the line.

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  10. I was checking your blog, on a daily basis, thinking of you, hoping that your operation was behind and cancer healing process had started along with The Quinn healing process (QHP). Never hesitate to say that you have 3 kids; this is soooo true and will always be true. They all live in your heart. Bless you, Johane

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  11. Thinking of Quinn and your family often! Continuing to send prayers of strength your way <3

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  12. what a detailed update, one which I was so desperately waiting for (even though this is nothing about me, but you, but it was still so wanted-we love you all so much). I am so glad you are healing and I have totally been imagining you up and doing waaay more than you should and everyone telling you to get back in bed:) Good news about not in the lymph nodes. lame about chemo. And even more, about Quinn. I can't imagine being robbed of this grieving time, I am so sorry, so sorry. Yes, life does go on, it is so strange as you just do not, at least the Quinn part, I am sorry you even have to think about such questions of how many children you have, it should be so simple, they should just all 3 be there, so it's never asked. We love you so much and are here for you for anything. so much love ,CHelsea

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  13. It is just unbelievable how much you (and your beautiful family) have had to deal with in the past few months. Your strength is beyond amazing, and you are a hero to so many who follow this blog. Quinn is actively a part of your lives today and she will always be. Please know that Quinn has touched us all deeply and we treasure every photo you post. May God speed your recovery from this health issue and may your heart have the time needed to grieve. Quinn is a most awesome angel, dancing with her friends and loved ones. You will always feel her presence and her gentle influence. Sending hugs and love to you all!!

    Nanci

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  14. I am so sorry you are being robbed of this time to greive sweet Quinn and that you will have to answer those seemly simple yet impossible questions over and over again. I am glad the cancer is not in your lymph nods and that you are kicking its ass. You are an amazing and inspiring woman and mother. We are here for you (even way out in az). Love and hugs, Shannon xoxo.

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  15. Constantly praying and thinking of you and your party of 5!

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  16. I fell in love with this little amazing girl named Quinn! She has changed me and my family for the better...Thank you Quinn!!! She had a greater purposes in her short time on this earth, but her work is far from over, there is a greater purpose! Eileen, I am truly amazed at your strength! Please know that your family is constantly in our prayers..Hugs from Toronto!!!

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  17. I know that it seems that you didn't have time to deal with and grieve for Quinn because now the concern has moved on to your health. But I'd like to share my first thought with you as I read that in your post. The thought was this, "but you did" and what I mean by that is this. Quinn was just that special....Quinn's life was meant to be celebrated, not grieved for and you led the charge in doing EXACTLY that every moment, from the time you got her diagnosis. And we all celebrated her life with you. We were all sad, none more than you and your family when we received news of her passing. But just as she was celebrated when she was here, she continues to be. SO don't be discouraged for not having that time, be PROUD for taking the time to deal with it, and what was on the horizon in the best way for Quinn, while she was here with you. While she could fee your love and your sadness for what you knew you would soon lose. That was far more important and allowed that beautiful smile that came through no matter what she was going through, in all of these pictures!

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  18. I think of Quinn everyday, and keep you in my prayers every night.

    Thanks for the update. Have been wondering how you were recovering

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  19. I have been checking your blog daily waiting on an update. I've never met you but I feel like I've known you forever and I have been thinking of you and your family daily. You are completely right to say you were robbed the time to grieve...I am happy to hear that you are physically doing well... Emotionally and mentally you've been on a roller coaster ride from hell And I pray every day that you can get off . Sending you nothing but love and support. Xoxo

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  20. Eileen...

    So very glad to hear from you. I checked everyday sometimes twice for an update..so so relieved the surgery went well. I think of all your family everyday and wishing and praying for the very best.

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  21. I check in periodically to see if you've posted updates. I have never even met you but your story is just guy wrenching to me. I just get so angry that you should have to go through this. Losing your daughter was enough. Do you ever just want to yell, "That's enough God! We're hit our limit!" I continue to pray for you, you the strongest woman I've never met.

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  22. My thoughts and prayers have remained with you these weeks both for the cancer and the heartbreaking loss of your sweet one. Perhaps it's just what it feels like, a diversion. Something that will help you keep all things in perspective and not allow you to fall apart without your angel! My prayers will continue!

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  23. hello, you dont know me but i know your sister. from new york. your story has touched me in a way no other has in a while. i have survived ovarian cancer and my girls were little when it hit not once but three times!!!! also now i battle something but nothing seems as much as to lose a child. i dont know how i would take my next breath. please write a story about quinn and who she was. our illness should never define us but it does. i think alot of people would love to know who quinn is truly and in the process i am sure you would be helping other parents. thank you so much for reminding us what is really really important

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  24. I've been following you for quite a while now. I lost a child many years ago and she's still my daughter. Now I'm losing another daughter. She's 34 years old, she has five children, the youngest is four. She has leukemia. She has been fighting for three years now. It has spread to her lymph nodes. She keeps telling me she's fine, but I know I'm losing her. The hell of it is that she lives in Scotland, I live in Utah. If I can get my passport to go through and If I can afford the plane ticket, I may get to see her one more time. I'm sure there are many mothers who know what you're going through and we are sisters in our hearts. Sisters take care of each other and I'm praying for you and your family. Stay strong. Stay patient. All will be well in the end. My love to you and your lovely family.

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  25. I'm always amazed how you write and cut right to the chase. Like last time, when you talked about "timing". (Losing Quinn BEFORE the cancer diagnosis = Timing.) And this time, when you reflect on the question: "how many children do you have?" No one can know what any of us go thru as we deal with life's handouts. And if they react to our unexpected response, then it's their turn to learn. Every time I walk into a doctor's office and fill out a form, (or file for a loan application, a new car registration, etc, etc, etc) I have to check off a box: single, married, widowed, divorced. What am I? I'm single now, was married, got divorced, and years later my former husband died. I was still in love with him, and him with me. We thankfully both realized this at the end. It was not 'too late' ; it gives me peace. But - it sure makes it damn uncomfortable to 'answer the question' when filling out the form. So you go ahead and answer that question; how many children do you have just the way you know it is. You have 3. You will always have 3. Just like I answer the question by checking off 4 boxes, just the way it is. Sometimes we have to carve our own way in this world because it IS our reality. And let the rest of the world learn something about adapting in the process.

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  26. I think of you daily! Just know that strangers out there support you 200% and send love your way.

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  27. Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful pictures of your family. Prayers for peace for all of you.

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  28. We just found out recently that my mom has breast cancer. There is a family history of it in the women in my family. I will be thinking of you and your situation as we help my mom battle through. Many prayers and hugs to you.

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  29. Praying for your strength, physically and mentally.

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  30. I've been following your blog for a while. I was so sad to hear about sweet baby Quinn. I can't imagine what you are all going through. And now to hear you have breast cancer. I'm so very sorry. My daughter who is 15 lost her Dad to brain cancer six months ago. It's been hard, and there are days when you are over come with grief. I grieve for the loss of my first love, my friend, my partner in parenting, even though we were no longer together. I grieve for my daughter's loss. He fought hard a never gave up. As you fight this next battle remember you have so many people thinking of you. Remembering sweet baby Quinn. I loved reading about her and the boys. The fun memories you made. The sweet special quiet moments of love. Let those memories help you through this next battle. I look forward to reading about the special moments you share with the boys and your sweet memories of baby Quinn. May God Bless you and Keep you safe and bring you the strength and peace you need. Love to you!

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  31. I check your page daily for updates...thinking of you and your family, and of course always of sweet Quinn. xo

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