Monday, December 15, 2008

Dec. 15, 08

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I've written. Nothing new. I still go to Chemo two weeks then two weeks off. I have chemo on Thursday then I will be off over the holidays, you would think I planned that.I still have pain in my left arm and side from the lymph nodes being removed. I get off balance a little, never fallen though. I also don't hear well and mess up with my words when talking, that's nothing new. I talk to anyone who wants too during chemo, people can be so friendly. I met a man who starting talking to me at Home Depot. I wore a hat and he noticed I had no hair. Turns out he just lost his wife to cancer, I think he needed someone to talk to. He apologized for telling me news he felt was none of my business but I actually enjoyed talking to him. Alex turned 21 on Friday, oh my God, 21. He looks pretty good, getting big, facial hair coming in, interesting to think Alex will be shaving.
I want to thank my Lakemoor friends for the wonderful dinners they have been sending to me every Thursday. They are so good and with having chemo on Thursday its been great knowing I don't have to cook. I also want to thank my friends Alice and Margaret for the fresh flowers they send me every month. Every time I look at them I know even though you live out east, were close. I have awesome family who always make sure I'm ok and watch over Jack to give me a break. I have wonderful friends who not only drive me to chemo but hang for 3 hours so I'm not alone.Thanks to Deb who takes Jack to her home every week and plays with him. I enjoy that time to myself. Also, all the cards, letters, and prayers. I could keep going, I have so much to be thankful for. I wish everyone a wonderful, happy and healthy Christmas. I'll keep in touch. Cath

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I had Chemo on Thursday. My levels were OK but my RBC was really low, so instead of giving me a shot of Nuprigin and everyday go in to check it, they gave me a good dose that will last 3 weeks ($ 4000.00 shot). Unfortunately, it affects my bones and chest. I feel so exhausted and can't get out of bed because I have bricks on my chest. On Friday I spent the day in bed. Jack played really nice, he's getting into the action heroes. The Doctor told me he took my case to a seminar and I had more cancer then was originally thought. He still believes they got it all from the breast and lymph nodes. I don't have an appetite and my taste buds are messed up. I don't even have a craving for chocolate, what's that all about. I do enjoy a Wendy's Frosty, feels good on the throat. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, going to my brother John's.
I thank God everyday for giving me another day and I pray that he continues to give me the patience and strength to deal with the lows as graciously as possible. I have never waivered on why me. As the saying goes, it is what it is. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to talk to God, he's always there for you and loves to listen.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Low Cell Count

Last Thursday I had Chemo and my cell count and iron was real low so I had to go back on Tues to have them checked. It was very low almost none, so they gave me a shot. The shot doesn't hurt but the side effects hurt. The shot affects the bones because it gets in the marrow. I have a lower back ache, leg aches and it makes me feel like I'm gonna have a heart attach. All symptom's nothing to worry about. Well my counts were low on Tues., Wed., Thurs., and Fri. Needless to say it was a long week but the fact that I feel something from the treatment makes me feel like eventually it will kick it and my counts will rise. Next week if my count has gone up I will continue chemo. My Surgeon said my operation site looks good but said I need therapy to work on using my arm. I have been working on therapy myself, I don't have time to go somewhere else. Its rough but its working. I've been running into a lot of people who have have/had Cancer. Those who know me, know I'm not afraid to talk to strangers. I especially feel those who have/did have cancer want to talk.
They like to share and I find that therapeutic.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This one gets me every time...

Lucky Dog....

Anyone who has pets will really like this. You'll like it even if you don't and you may even decide you need one!

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.' Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite ! toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this fact , she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him! The t hought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what! was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body f elt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love.

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure. every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget....the people who make a differe nce in our lives are not the ones with the most! credentials, the most money, or the most awards .They are the ones that care for us.

If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God

A small request: All you are asked to do is keep this circulating.

Dear God, I pray for the cure of cancer. Amen

All you are asked to do is keep this circulating Even if it's to one more person.
In memory of anyone you know that has been struck down by cancer or is still fighting their battle.


I am receiving Chemo again. I had a treatment last Thursday and it really wiped me out this past weekend. I still have quite a bit of pain in my arm pit where they removed the nodes. The hardest part is sleeping. I also have no appetite at this time. I go back and forth with the appetite unfortunately when I do not have an appetite I am not losing any weight. Everyone said its good I have a cushion when I don't want to eat, I have a cushion, I have two cushions, actually at this point I'm working on a blanket. On the 30th I will see my surgeon for a check up and on Thursday I have Chemo. I'll keep you posted. After the last Drs visit I am pretty positive I will beat this, I'm just getting tired of the word Cancer and being tired. Can you believe its been only 6 months.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The results of the MRI's were better than we ever could have hoped for!

The lesion on Cathy's spine has been reduced by more than half of it's original size. The lesions in Cathy's cerebellum have shrunk to the point where if a doctor was looking at the current MRI's, they wouldn't even detect a problem. The only way to know there were cancerous lesions in the first place is due to the early MRI's!

All around fantastic news. Cathy and the whole family are in great spirits! She'll start up chemo again next week.

Thank you all for the prayers, kind words, concerns, etc...they are most definitely working!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I received the pathology report from the breast and 11 lymp nodes they removed. The breast was full of the disease as was the 11 lymp nodes. I feel pretty good other then where they removed the nodes under my left arm. I am pretty sore and have trouble getting comfortable but I manage. Tomorrow I will get the results of the MRI's I had on my spine and brain Fri. and Sun. They will restart the Chemo in 7 days. I will keep you posted. (sorry my computer was on the brink for about 2 weeks but were back)

Monday, October 6, 2008


Cathy is already out of surgery, and everything went very well. They removed a few lymph nodes and sent them to pathology to see how the chemo is working. Everything else looked just fine.

Thanks all for your thoughts and prayers! Hopefully the pathology tests and MRIs will bring good news in the days to come!

Cathy just went into surgery

I just called my dad and Cathy just went into surgery about 15 minutes ago. Nothing wrong on her end. The surgeon assigned to her surgery had to perform another one before Cathy's.

As soon as I hear from my dad after the surgery, I'll be sure to post. Just wanted to update those of you wondering how it's going today.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Surgery Tomorrow (Monday, October 6th)

Cathy is going in for her masectomy tomorrow (Monday, October 6th) around 11am. The surgery will start around noon and should last a few hours. She'll be in the hospital for recovery from 1-3 days, depending on how the surgery goes and how her body is reacting. She will not be having any reconstruction at this time, but she told the doctors, "If you don't like something you see in there, TAKE IT OUT!" She's stronger than ever, a real inspiration to me and all of us.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayer even more so tomorrow. And thank you as always for your concern.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I saw the Dr. today. I have a uti infection which my body is trying to fight and that's part why my levels don't exist. They see other things going on so they put me on an antibiotic so my body can resume fighting the cancer. My levels did go up slightly so I did get another shot of some kind of cell booster. My WBC went up 1.0, and I have 1 baby white cell, go baby. I do not have to return till after the surgery. I also have Mri's scheduled at Evanston for the brain and spine on Oct. 11th and 12th, it shouldn't be affected by the surgery because its a different part of my body. (As long as they don't use staples, I'm OK, or I could stick to the machine)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Update 9-18-08

Cathy asked me to update the Blog because she had a 4 year old with an ear infection last night :(

Cathy has been feeling extra fatigued, winded and breathless lately. She went to her doctor and they took a White Blood Cell count. A normal count is between 7.0 and 10.0. Cathy's was .6. So they gave her a shot that's supposed to boost that number, but it only went up to .8. She's going in again tomorrow (Friday) to receive another shot. They will take her count again on Monday. If it is still really low, she will be admitted to the hospital to receive a blood transfusion and whatever other tricks they have for boosting white blood cells. The doctors are somewhat concerned, because usually the counts go up after the shot. They think she may have an infection somewhere, but they are not sure.

However, Cathy's spirits are high, as always. I don't know how she does it. She actually said a stay in the hospital doesn't sound too bad right now (no 4-year old, 2 dogs, or Mark Baker to deal with :) ) She's back on a steroid to help fight the inflammation in her brain which was giving her a lot of headaches.

Her mastectomy is still scheduled for October 6th, but if her white blood cell counts don't go up, it may push that date back.

I'll actually be in Illinois the next two weekends! I'm really looking forward to seeing my family again and helping out however I can. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers!


I discovered how to enclose pictures. So bare with me.
First is my Mom and Dad who have been awesome in caring for me.
Second is Shaun and I. Third is after my diagnose and my first haircut with Jack. Fourth is about 1 month ago, Shaun and Jack, my youngest and oldest, at the zoo.

An Inspiration To Me

This blog is actually going to be dedicated to someone I love, care for, and admire so much. My godchild and niece, Colleen Stanko. As many of you know she was diagnosed with, and had removed within 3 days of the diagnoses, an Ovarian Tumor that weighed in at over 12 Lbs. Yes, That's right 12 lbs. She also lost an ovary. Oh, did I mention shes only 16. Colleen has always been slender so we were amazed something so big could have gone undetected. Within days of being diagnosed she underwent surgery. This tumor was the size of a football, no kidding! Being rare, it's even rarer to be malignant. Her's was cancer. The Doctors believe they have all the cancer but as a precaution she is receiving Chemo. She lost her hair this week and barely batted an eye.I knew that as I had Colleen. I thouhgt I was ready. But it's still a shock to see youself bald. The first few days you can't stop rubbing your scalp. For thew next month I kept reaching for and then realizing "I don't need cream rinse or a towel on my head to hold my hair". Honestly, that took me awhile to remember. Colleen wasn't fazed. Her mindset, which is now mine, "IT IS WHAT IT IS". How true is that. We have no say. We are in God's hands first, Doctor's second. Colleen has been unbelivable since her diagnosis. She has never said "Why Me"? She is so young yet has never complained. She is amazing. As all of you have for me, pray to God that he continue to give Colleen the physical and emotional strength she has shown thus far in her battle to overcome this illness. I think of her constantly and I am amazed by her maturity and bravery. If anyone wants to e-mail me directly in regards to Colleen, feel free to do so.
The picture is Colleen sitting between Nick and Shaun.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I had my last chemo treatment yesterday, till after my surgery. The chemicals are definitely reeling in my body and have accumulated over the last 4(8) treatments. When I forget things the nurses call it chemo brain, I like the fact its not my fault and its just my brain, hahaha. I will not receive any more chemicals till after the surgery and they will start with oral chemo. The oral does upset my stomach, but oh well. My counts are really low so I do have blood level check next week. I am not just tired, I'm breathless. I also only sleep one -two hours a night. I keep thinking maybe there is something I should be doing but I can't get out of bed. I am suppose to just take it easy but its hard to just sit when I have a house to care for and a four year old. Listen to me, that really is not bad, it could be so worse. Uncle Bob, if you read this, thank you so much for the Holy Water. I can't tell you what it means to me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sept. 3

Today I was informed I would be having a mastectomy on my left breast with removal of lump nodes with no reconstruction at this time. The Doctor wants to get right back to the treatments. She feels my body will be working harder to heal if I do further surgery at this time. The treatments following will also flow to the brain and they want that part of the treatment not to be postponed or altered at this critical state. I will have the surgery on Oct. 6th and spend 1-3 days in the hospital depending how my body responds. I get anxious thinking I may be getting some of the poison out of my body, can't wait. The brain is worse but that's next.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sept. 2

Well, as of today we are holding off the surgery till after the next round of Chemo treatments, which starts tomorrow. That pretty much means to me the beginning of Oct. I am getting a little anxious with this poison in my body, I wish they would give me more infomation. I went on line a little today and invaded Brain Cancer sites, I did get discouraged a bit but I feel so good other then the loss of sleep and fatigue that its hard to believe I really am sick. I see the Oncologist tomorrow morning and will keep you posted what he has to say. Don't hold your breath.

Monday, August 25, 2008

August 27, 2008

Yesterday I went to the oncologist to check my levels. I was extremely low on my white blood cells, good levels for me would be between 7.9 and 10.5. I was 1.2. They gave me a shot (of what I don't know)to help with it and pain medicine to help with the bone pain it could cause that night. I went today and my count was up to 2.9 but my platelets were so low they put me on Cumidin to prevent blood clots in my port. I tell ya to prevent one thing you need to have something else. My back pain only lasted the morning, thank you lord. I also saw the surgeon for the mastectomy and she needs me to be off the Chemo for three weeks, have the surgery, two days in hospital, and then another three weeks off the Chemo. This is without the reconstructive surgery. My oncologist informed me, the Chemo I am on should not interfere with the healing and I can take after the surgery(the oral, which makes me nausea but I'll just have to deal with it and be grateful I am back on the treatments, which is awesome). The reconstructive surgery is suppose to be very painful and I'm not sure if I should get it done at the same time and bite the bullet or wait and go at a later date. Any suggestions or comments would be grateful. So as of today, I am waiting to hear from the surgeon on when? I have chemo next Wed, and the following week, so if they don't schedule me next week it will be at least three weeks. Please any input on the surgery or reconstructive surgery, I'd be interested. Thank you everyone for everything. I have such an awesome family and friends. Mom has bugging me to post myself with my blond wig. It's my fun wig, its Meg Ryan in back and sides, and Rod Stewart on top.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Cathy had surgery this morning to have a direct port called an intraventricular fluid access device put in. They had trouble accessing a vein yesterday to administer her chemo, so they decided to do this surgery to help. Now they won't have to prick and poke her veins as much. This device is implanted under her skin and has direct access to her heart. Now, whenever they administer chemo or if in the future she needs blood drawn/given, it will go through this device. It was outpatient surgery, something that a lot of cancer patients have done, and she's feeling good. Cathy, Jack, and my dad are all heading up to Wisconsin to go camping for the weekend.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Aug. 8, 2008

I've been getting a little slack that I don't post often enough. Sorry. Some days just blend into others and I figure no one cares about that. I had Chemo yesterday. They gave me my Cyclophosphamide intravenously, it took about 1hour but I don't care I was having trouble remembering to take the pills 3 x's daily. Someone also asked what other meds I'm on. I have Methotrxate and 5-fluorouracil on Fridays (that adds about 2-1/2 hours on my visits.) My poor cousin Carrie took me to my last visit and we were there 4 hours. As of yesterday he put me on Dexamethasone 2-4 times a day for swelling in my brain(that's a pill.) I've been experiencing pain from my neck down my arm. I also get this headache in my eye. Its really weird. I did break down and ask what my prognosis looked like and she said we have lots of options. I don't know if all of you know but I did ask my Dr.when I was only 30 days into treatment and he said if the treatments don't work 10 months. That was a downer. My Oncologist was mad, claims he doesn't study cancer hes a GP, shouldn't have told me that. Am I rambling????? Remember, the father is never closer to the Vine than when he is pruning it. Thanks again for all the prayers, As I am growing tired I so do depend on them.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Aug.3 08

There is really nothing new. I am on the same treatments. I do seem to get a burst of energy one day and spend the next exausted. I will be getting all my treatments through IV's as the pills were making me too nauscious. I had a headache that lasted 3 days so I was put on another steriod and had a MRI. The MRI didn't show anything different. I have to call the surgeon to check on the breast and what I need to decide regarding a masectomy. I haven't been as witty as I usually am but I really am still holding positive. I posted a picture of me wearing a favorite wig. Its red with brown and blond highlights. There also is a picture of me with my cousins, which I consider my sisters. I don't know what I would do without them./div>

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Continuing the Chemo

Sorry I haven't kept the blog up to date. I had another triple dose of chemo on Friday (7-10-08) and its kinda knocked me out a little. I will go to the clinic for triple does of Chemo on Fridays and every day in between I'll just take Chemo at home 3x a day. This will be for two weeks then off one week. The Chemo has made me talk a little goofy, like, saying what I don't mean but what I happen to be looking at. I also don't hear or see quite as good. (nothing to be concerned about) I also am getting sick on this dose. No pain though and other then the minor symthoms I feel good. Oh, and they took my driving privledges away again. Oh well, I was getting used to being chauffered anyway, maybe I should start sitting in the back seat. I don't think sooo. I do wear the wig when I go out somewhere nice but usually just wear my GI Jane hat. I'll get some pictures of me with the wig on the next blog I need Tara's help.
Just something I wish to share.
I was on the couch for 3 days with a pain behind my right eye among other pains in the stomach, neck etc... I do get migraines so I just chalked this up to a migraine.
My Mom sat next to me and gave me my Grandmas rosary. I haven't prayed the rosary in years so she gave me the book. While I was just laying there I decide to do the rosary. When I was done I got up, went to get a drink of water, went back to the couch and guess what the pain was gone. To this day it has not come back. I prayed that the pain in my eye would go away and I would deal with the other pains and it was gone. Just something I wanted to share. The power of prayer.
Again, I can't that you all enough for the meals, flowers, thoughts and prayers.
Love ya all- Cath

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New MRI results

GOOD NEWS! Cathy received the results of the latest bunch of MRI's that were done and...

1) No new spots were revealed
2) The larger spots seemed to be a bit smaller
3) The smaller spots weren't bigger

I'm sure she'll be posting soon, but good news needs to be shared IMMEDIATELY.

I hope you all had a happy and safe 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

UPDATE 6-24-07

Well First, I know everyone wants to know how the benefit went. Unfortunately, it rained at the beginning and I think it scared alot of riders, also a couple bike clubs cancelled. I was at the beginning, registration, and wouldn't be able to stop talking about how generous everyone was that did show. I missed most of the show at the end. The Children from RocVale showed and loved the band "Easy Louise". I heard they were dancing and having a ball. Of course, Alex doesn't dance, he would rather sit and hug the pretty girls. Overall, the profit for bikes came to around $ 4500.00
not counting the 34 bike helmets that were donated. I can't thank everyone that helped me enough.
Second, I have 4 more days of Chemo left. Then I have 14 days off. I will still have the chemicals in my system even though I won't be given them. The last few days I have been feeling not quite myself, but ok none the less. This Friday I get blood work done to check my counts. Next Monday and Wed. I go to Evanston to see Dr. Nina and have 4 MRI's done. On the 8th I get the results. Thanks again for the wonderful meals and all the prayers. Cath

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Well... On Friday I started Chemo. At the Doctor's, I received 2 IVs of Chemo Medicine and 1 of medicine for side effects. At home I take 3 tablets of Chemo a day for 14 days. I will not go back to the clinic for more IV Chemo till this Friday. After the 14 days I will take 14 days off, then repeat. The Dr. is keeping me on the prednisone and Keppra (seizure med), along with my synthroid and other meds. I had to start writing times and check marks as I was getting confused. I do have my head shaved which is really comfortable. I have not worn my wig yet as the radiation is still causing my head to be sore some. I have an army green hat I wear and Mark calls me Beetle Bailey if not Chemo sabe.... I cut Jacks hair today and he asked that I don't cut it as short as mine, haha. He prays every night that Mommy's headaches go away. My Cousins took him for two days and he had a ball. Never asking for me once, a little sad but at the same time shows how much fun he had. By the end of the month I should have another MRI to see where we stand on the chemo and radiation, also more info on the mastectomy. Oh and good news, I do have some feeling back in the numbness on my right side. (feels like pins and needles)
Other then being tired, I feel good. Thanks again for your good thoughts and prayers. Cath

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I got back the results from the PET scan, all good, no other cancer other than what they knew about. (breast, spine, brain) I will begin Chemo on Friday. I will start on 3 different chemo meds and another to help with side effects from the medication. They don't think they will need a port as I have very good veins. The only bad thing is they predict most patients to get sick around 7-10 days after 1st dose, 9 days after 1st dose is my benefit rally for Alex. I am determined not to get sick.
I also got my head shaved, oh boy. I can't stop rubbing my hands over my head. I wear an army green Tony Hawk hat and feel like GI Jane. I feel so open, I think I use to hide behind my hair. I always wore it long and with it around my face. Now all you see is face a fat round one because of the meds. I have the pudgy cheeks every mother wants to pinch.
Thanks again for all the prayers.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


I don't even know where to begin... I am just in shock over all the concern and support that I have received. I have been sent so many well wishes that I feel like the luckiest person on Earth, other than the illness of course, haha. Well, I have begun to loose my hair, FAST, and yes I do have an awesome wig. I actually also have a real cool hat I may just wear and save the wig for my fun nights out. Wait fun nights out, whats that??? I have been busy putting the ending touches on the Bikers for Bikes benefit for June 22. I am determined to make it a success. Alex misses me and has asked for me alot, even refusing to participate in the Special Olympics because I didn't show... I haven't seen him since I was diagnosed. I finished the Radiation treatments and had a pet scan Thursday pm, no results yet. On Monday, they want to discuss the chemo. treatments. My Oncologist wants to talk about the treatments with the radiolgist and Dr. Nina at Evanston before making a descision. My head still baffles him, as many others, haha. Over all I feel good, other then the headaches and fatigue. The fatigue is worse, cause I have so much to do, I don't like sitting. I am a woman who hates to feel like something else is controling her. I want to thank my family and friends, old and new,for the amazing support they have given me, it means so much! Cath

Friday, May 30, 2008

Please take time to do this...

I received this email today, it takes literally 1 minute, if that, to do. Thought it would be a good thing to post on this blog.

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on 'donating a mammogram' for free (pink window in the middle).

This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PET scan next Thursday

Cathy will be going in for a PET scan next Thursday (originally scheduled for today, but was pushed back). This should reveal more information about the origins of her cancer and help further a treatment plan. She has been going diligently to her radiation treatments and has been feeling pretty good. She'll feel a little sick and worn out after the treatments, but her spirits are still great.

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day and summer will hopefully be right around the corner!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cathy's new haircut

Cathy asked that I post some pics of her with long hair, and now her cute bob cut! This is in preparation for when she loses her hair due to the radiation. Due to the fact they are applying radiation directly to her head for the spots on her brain as well as going down through the back of her head to her spinal cord (to avoid her throat) for the spot on her spine, she will lose her hair.

But I think the new 'do looks fantastic! And if she does lose her hair, Cathy's gonna be one heck of a bald knock-out! A big thanks to Tina, a bible study friend of Cathy's, who cut her hair (and thank you to the others who offered as well).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Follow-up to Radiation: Day 1

Sue Allen had a few follow-up questions that I'm very sorry I've never covered in this blog! Figured that all of you are wondering the same things, so I'd respond here. And please, feel free to email me or ask questions on this blog, Cathy and I both come on here every day.

-Cathy will be going for radiation treatments Monday-Friday for a month. She will have weekends off and Memorial Day off. Her treatments are taking place at Good Shepard Hospital in Barrington.

-Cathy's mom and dad are staying with Cathy semi-permanently now. They might go back on weekend's (they are going home this weekend to paint their place, and it's Memorial Day, so Cathy has 3 days off of treatment). Cathy's dad will probably go back and forth from IL to WI a little more often just to keep up with their place. Luckily they have a spare bedroom and they have come to stay very often in the past, so this is pretty much normal.

-My dad has been taking Cathy to most of her appointments, but now that they have answers and treatments have been set up, Cathy's mom and dad will be taking her to radiation. Now it's just a half hour appointment every day Monday-Friday.

-Little Jack has been at home for the most part, being watched by Cathy's mom and dad or his brothers. Our neighbor across the street Michelle has been really great about having him come over at times as well (Jack was there when Cathy was first admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago)

-Both Nick and Matt live at home still, so they've been a huge help and will continue to be. Nick actually told me yesterday he's going to quit his 2nd job at TJMaxx to be able to help more. AND he's trying to quit smoking! I'm sure Cathy's delighted about that.

We are so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends. My dad and I were just talking this morning, and he wanted me to reiterate how much he appreciates everything everyone is doing. From the thoughts and prayers, to the food, to the visits/calls/emails/posts...thank you SO much. It really does mean to the world to us.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Radiation: Day 1

Cathy had her first day of radiation. Her appointment was at 7:45am, and she didn't leave until the early afternoon. They had to fit her for something she wears on her head to concentrate the radiation at the right areas of her brain. That was a long and uncomfortable process (a lot of heat and pressure was applied), but of course, Cathy was strong and made it through. Then she had to have X-Rays taken to pinpoint the specific areas to concentrate. AND THEN she was finally ready to receive radiation. In addition to concentrating on the lesions on her brain, she's also receiving radiation on the spot on her spine. They are not focusing on the breast cancer just yet, as they are probably eventually going to perform a mastectomy once radiation and chemotherapy has run it's course.

This process will continue for an entire month. She will have weekends off, as well as Memorial Day. The doctors said she might lose some of her hair and experience nausea and fatigue. She may also develop a lump in her throat as a reaction to the radiation, so they are holding off on chemotherapy for the time being because it would add to that lump as well and affect Cathy's breathing.

Later this week or early next week, Cathy is also going to have a PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography). For more info on this, please follow this link:
To sum it up, this scan lights up any spots of cancer in the entire body so the doctors can pinpoint the source of cancer and treat that area aggressively.

Cathy's again in good spirits despite it all. She does have a bit of a headache today, but she made sure to reiterate that I needed to post to update everyone on what's going on.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The latest...

Cathy visited her general practioner today. She was told she no longer is allowed to drive due to the potential for seizures. She's pretty bummed about that obviously, but made her last drive for a while memorable. Turns out she was pulled over for speeding on the way home! That cop shouldn't have messed with her, because she definitely gave him a piece of her mind. Despite the 'tude, the cop let her go with a warning. Just a small glimpse into the fight Cathy has in her! (Cathy, I hope you don't mind I shared that was just so fitting and hilarious!)

Cathy will go and see her oncologist tomorrow to set up treatments, with the first probably starting on Wednesday. They'll definitely be doing radiation and probably some chemotherapy as well. Doctors continue to be hopeful about this aggressive form of cancer also reacting to treatments aggressively.

Everyone's really starting to pitch in at home. Cathy had an awesome weekend with her oldest son Shaun in Chicago. Really helped her get her mind off of things for a bit. Nick and Matt have been doing a lot of the household chores. Cathy said she could really get used to that!

Spirits remain high and that's in part thanks to all of you sending your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I want to thank everyone for being so supporting. All this news about Cancer came as such a shock to my family and I that I don't think its really set in yet. It is aggressive but I heard that may be easier to treat, I hope so. On Tuesday, I meet with the Oncologist about setting up my treatments. After the treatments are successful, I will get a masectomy and possible removel of the lesion in my spine. I am strong in my faith and know God is with me everyday. Whether I'm having a good day or bad day, my faith will never lessen. Again, thank you all for your prayers.

Tara, thank you so much for putting this site together. I've heard alot of people have used it for your updates, good idea. P.S. I miss you.

Love to you all, Cathy

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Consultation Results

I was taught a valuable lesson at a young age: deliver news/criticism like a sandwich. Say something good, then the bad, and follow that up with the good. I'm applying it to what Cathy learned today...

Good news: M.S. was ruled out today.

Bad news: The lesions on Cathy's brain and spine are metastatic cancer. She will have consultations with neurosurgeons to decide how to proceed on the thumb-print sized lesion on her spine, and that will affect further treatment (removal or radiation/chemo). That lesion was causing the numbness in her torso. The lesions on her brain cannot be removed, so those will be treated with radiation and/or chemotherapy. Surgery cannot be performed on the breast cancer until the radiation and/or chemotherapy runs it's course (surgery stops all other treatments). So right now, it looks like radiation and/or chemotherapy will be the way to go.

Good news: The doctor is optimistic about how Cathy's body will respond to treatments. Due to the quick-moving nature of the cancer, often times that type of cancer will also respond quickly to treatment. Plus, the doctors have not dragged their feet from day one, so the illness was caught quickly. And there are all sorts of treatments out there to battle this disease.

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers. Please continue to do what you're doing...I'm sure it's a major reason there was good news today. Let's focus on the good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Consultation tomorrow (Thursday, May 15th)

Cathy is going to have a consultation tomorrow (Thursday, May 15th) at 1pm at Evanston hospital. That should reveal the results of the tests that were conducted over the weekend. Then, finally and hopefully we will have a course of action. Please, now more than ever, keep Cathy in your prayers and hope for an optimistic prognosis.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tests today and tomorrow

Cathy is having a 3 hour MRI done today at Northwestern and another lengthy MRI done tomorrow to look closer at the spine and brain lesions. I hope they can play some good tunes for Cathy while she's in the MRI tube, but nothing too good otherwise she won't be able to keep still!

We should hopefully have some results Monday or Tuesday. Thank you again for all of your support, you have no idea how much it means to Cathy and the rest of us.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Here's what we know...

Cathy does have invasive and metastatic breast cancer.

Some preliminary tests have been done on the lesions Cathy has on her brain and spine. More tests are going to be performed Friday, May 9th and Saturday, May 10th. We should have some results on Monday, May 12th (at least they give her Mother's Day off!).

The results of these tests will determine where we go from here. The treatment program will depend greatly on the results of these tests. Pretty much, it's a hurry up and wait situation right now.

Luckily, Cathy is no longer admitted in the hospital and was able to go home. She's in outstanding spirits all things considered, and was even vacuuming when I called her earlier today!

Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. And thank you all for being there.