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.