Saturday, September 25, 2010

One reality at a time..

It's been a little over 2 weeks since Penny's surgery and she is doing really well.  She was able to shower on her own this week and she was also able to put on a t-shirt for the first time which she was pretty proud of.  Until now she has had to wear a sweatshirt that zipped up in the front.  Arm mobility is still limited and this week she has been dealing with muscle spasms in her chest.  She says it reminds her of a braxton hicks from pregnancy except in her chest.  I'll take her word for the braxton hicks thing and stick with calling it a charlie horse.   Hopefully they won't last long.

This week we met with the plastic surgeon and the oncologist.  The plastic surgeon will begin the process of expanding her chest wall next week.  The expansion process should take 4-6 weeks and be followed by another surgery several months from now (after chemo) to replace the expanders with implants.

Chemo will start in 3 weeks and will take place once every 3 weeks for a total of 6 treatments.  My math without a calculator says that's about 4 and a half months.   She will be on another drug (Herceptin) for over a year that will also require an infusion once every 3 weeks.  Evidently there is a drug currently in clinical trials that the oncologist says she can get her hands on that would reduce the chance of anything spreading to the brain.  When asked about the odds of losing her hair the Dr. said with confidence "100%". 

The oncologist feels she should have radiation which is not what we wanted to hear.  If we understood her...she was saying without radiation there is a 25% chance of recurrence (surprise...seemed high to us) and radiation would drop that by 1/3rd or to 17%.  Seems like the logical thing to do however radiation will damage the skin and have a negative effect on the reconstruction results.  We plan to meet with a radiation oncologist to get a better feel for her options but for now it appears she'll have another difficult decision ahead.

If I'm being honest this has been a difficult week.  It's like you are in a dream but getting hit with one reality at a time.  Each meeting with a doctor brings a realization of what lies ahead...none of which are very pleasant.  This week was just a busy week for reality I guess.  We visited some friends last night who lost their daughter to H1N1 last year which definitely helped put things back into perspective for us.  Back to being positive...

"The task ahead of us is nothing compared to the force of God behind us."



Todd Knauss said...

Our thoughts and prayers for streangth guidance are always for you all. We can not even imagine what it must be like. With our deepest love, Todd and Melissa

Coach Maria said...

Reading this is like reading my sister's story all over. She is also positive, she has faith, she is working thru it, living thru it. Her family is with her, and everything else you mention here... so you are so so so close to our hearts right now.
Our love and our prayers and our positive thoughts and best wishes are with you, your family. They are with my sister as well.

Maria Quintas

Andrea said...

Penny, Ryan and family,

Here are a couple of verses I have held on to during some difficult times. I hope they bring some comfort and joy.

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'"
Lamentations 3:21-24

We're all with you in your journey; supporting from a distance, but close in prayer...


Michele said...

Penny & Ryan
I think of you all so very much. You are all in so many people's everyday thoughts and prayers. I'm amazed at Penny's strength and spirit as she is going through this troubled time. Penny I can truly say - I admire you so much. And to know that you were able to walk in the RACE FOR A CURE today is amazing! Keep believing and keep the faith! Love you! Michele

Meg said...

Thinking of you each day and giving thanks for the milestones you accomplish with each challenge. Penny your determination and spunk are just what is needed to get you through this along with your solid faith. I pray that myself, as well as other friends are able to model that and when your steps falter, you are able to rely on us to carry you are never alone on this those blue moments that you hide from others...take comfort in the love that surrounds are very special!!!!!!!! You dancin queen... ;)

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