Heart of Gold


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Cancer Battle of 2015

September 26, 2016

I think 2014 was the best year of our lives. When we left St. Thomas and headed home with Mary and Dana and we slowly cruiesed back enjoying all the Caribbean had to offer. It was an unforgettable year. We were definately living the dream and can't wait till we can do it again. 2016 will be fantastic.

Once we got home Greg started working on turning the business over to our son. He was ready to retire and thought it was time for Philip to take over. We got home in the late fall and Greg was busy with making some changes to the business, like getting into a larger facility. Around Thanksgiving I discover a golf ball size lump in my right breast. On December 10 of 2014 I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Invasive Ductile Carcinoma. It was devastating to me and my whole family. January 9, 2015 I started chemo. I also was part of a double blind study for an unaproved new drug called Viliparib, and an approved drug but not for breast cancer called Carboplatin. This was on top of the normal chemo drugs to treat breast cancer. I have to admit it was rough going for the 6 month of chemo but I would do it again if it means I get to live. They started everything by doing a breast MRI to see the exact size of the tumor. My tumor never showed up on a mammogram but they found it using an ultrasound. It was very strange that a tumor that size never showed up on the mammogram. I love the breast MRI. It showed my tumor was 6cm x 4cm. But it felt more like a golf ball to me. It was huge. After the first half of the chemo was over they did another MRI and the tumor was totally gone. My sugeon, Dr. Ghetti and my oncologist, Dr. Bhatia were thrilled with the results I was very excited to hear this and thought that the treament was over. No such luck. The oncologist thought I had the experimental drugs because he had never seen such a good response. The way I felt I think I had the experimental drugs too. I had to finish the chemo and still have the surgery. That was ok, I just wanted to make sure it was totally gone.I lost ALL my hair, including my mustache and beard. I loved that part. My skin was so smooth, even my head. But it all comes back once the chemo is over. Mine came back curly. I loved it. Hell, I just loved having hair again. During the chemo Greg even drove me to Nashville, IN to a crank-in between treatments. I loved being there and I think it was a big part of my getting through all this. I of course had to take naps and could not stay as late as the other girls. I was so tired but was just so happy to be there. If it weren't for my family and friends I know I would not have been able to get through it all.

After all the chemo I got a one month rest period before the surgery. That gave me the opportunity to host my annual rug hooking camp and host my annual crank-in. My roommate at rug camp was a registered nurse so Greg didn't feel that uncomfortable for me to go. He was resistant to the idea but I talked him into it. I was so glad I got to go but I did have to include an afternoon nap. I was just so tired. But it was so good to be there amongst the living once again. Everyone there was so supportive and it did so much good to be around all my friends. In June I hosted the crank-in we have in Marion. Everyone thought I would cancel but there was no way I could do that. I was so looking forward to seeing everyone. I love our group that gets together. They surprised me with a beautiful huge basket that was filled with gifts from the cranking community. People I didn't even know donated to the contents. I was left speachless for the rest of the time. All I did was cry and was so grateful for these wonderful people that are in my life. I don't know what I would do without them. I was exhausted with joy and could not stop crying with happiness. I was so honored that they would think of me in this way. These crazy little machines brought us together and I will forever be thankful for that.

When I was diagnosed Greg was in the proccess of buying and then moving the ACS facility. Which is not an easy task. I could not have imagined that he would be able to help me and do his job at the same time. But he did. He called on my son and all the great people they work with and told them that his first priorety would be me and that everyone would have to step up and help him. They did not dissappoint. Greg was able to go with me to every single treatment! He also took care of my drains from the surgery and the wounds from the radiation. He was an angel and took such good care of me. I could not have asked for more. Our daughter Mary came back from St. Thomas and was also there with me during the beginning of chemo and then again for the surgery. Our son Philip was with me too. I am so grateful to have my family there to support me during this time. I thought they would all be too busy to really do anything but they took time and sacrificed to be there for me. I didn't want them to do that, and insisted that they not disrupt their lives, but they did it anyway. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about all they did. I always hoped that they would become caring adults but I never imagined they would have to care for me. I have a better family than I deserve and will always be thankful for that.