The Stacey Report

Well, fine. Be that way.

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 26, 2006

So I walk Miss Evamarie in the stroller over to Stacey and Michael’s house to pay a visit… and Stacey had gone to work. I guess she was just soooo bored sitting around at home…

I think it was probably more like, “Hmm, I feel ok this morning. Shoot — guess I have to go to work.”

So Eva chatted with Unky Michael, and I watered the peas (Stacey, I watered the peas, don’t water them again or they’ll float away!) and we went on our merry way. (Oh, hey, guess I should go water my own peas, huh?)

Another hip radiation treatment this afternoon, not sure whether the iv bone glue was a one-time deal or ongoing, but we’ll get the scoop tonight.


Shifting treatment schedules, and some good news

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 25, 2006

It was a loooooong day of hospital stuff today, starting at 8:00 for… I’m not sure what happened at 8:00. I’ll check. But then there were more tests and consultations, then an hour of IV “bone glue” to fix the hip, and another hour of IV hormone treatments (that’s the good news, I’ll explain in a minute). Then a race to MGH for the hip radiation treatment. Then home to crash, quite understandably. Michael said that she headed for the bed as soon as they got home and slept through dinner.

OK, the good news. Stacey’s cancer tested positive for hormone receptors, which means that she can start on hormone therapy right away with an expectation of good results. Here’s a basic explanation of hormone therapy and how it works.

In other news, Stacey’s oncologist has decided to push back the chemo by a couple of weeks, so as not to interfere with the radiation and bone glue dealie.

Is Stacey getting the best treatment available?

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 25, 2006

You bet your bippie!

Aside from a very responsive, involved medical team at Newton Wellesley Hospital, Stacey has access to numerous other hospitals in the area through the Partners HealthCare plan. This is a doctor-led system where hospitals share information about current trends in, oh, let’s say, Oncology. The hospitals can also send patients back and forth between member hospitals if there is a treatment that can only be accomplished at one location. Here is a website about Partners HealthCare.

As if that weren’t enough, Stacey’s oncologist is married to the head of Partners HealthCare, who also happens to be an oncologist. Sweet!

So far, Stacey has had nothing but good thingd to say about her medical team (except whoever messed up the scheduling for her MRI that day). Rest assured, if anything goes flooby, we will hear all about it, and your humble Communications Director might have to march down there and tell ’em what’s what. I think I can take ’em.

What can I do?

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 25, 2006

To quote the woman herself…

“Just don’t get all mushy! Blecch!”

Nothing has changed, Stacey is Stacey. She is very glad that we are all here for her and especially for her family… but steer clear of the Hallmark aisle!

More practical opportunities to help will be posted soon.

How is Stacey doing?

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 25, 2006

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Stacey is very calm and low-key about all this. When she is not making the rounds of various meetings, consultations, and treatments, she is spending time with her children, working, watching “Lost” on Tivo, and ordering her sister around the garden.

So far, she is feeling well (except for the dang hip). Although the chemo will be no picnic, she has heard from friends and co-workers who muddled through it fairly well, so she is feeling positive and expecting a minimum of sick time and a maximum of effectiveness from it.


Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 25, 2006

As you probably know, Stacey is not a religious person at all. However, as many people have asked whether they can put her name on prayer lists, etc., so I asked her about this. She appreciates the thought and would be glad to be put on any list, in any language, for any religion… or non-religion, for that matter. She also hopes that prayer, meditation, chanting, singing, whatever it is you do, will help you and give you peace and strength (which in turn, will give her more resources to lean on, which helps her… and round and round we go.)

If you would like Stacey to know about any spiritual activity on her behalf, please feel free to post the information in a comment to this post.

Busy, Busy, Busy…

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 25, 2006

On Sunday morning, Stacey got up extra early, drove in to the hospital for a scheduled MRI of her upper and lower spine… and was told by the MRI team that they couldn’t do that kind of scan at that time of day. Sorry! (Grrrr.)

On Monday, at the Breast Center, she told the nurse who is arranging all her treatment about this. The nurse made some calls, ripped some new ones, and it seems that everyone is now with the program. The MRI has been rescheduled (not sure when that will be happening.)

She also started radiation treatment of her hip, which is a good thing. She had been having a lot of pain and difficulty walking, and a bone scan showed that she had fractured her hip. Apparently, the cancer had weakened the bone there, in the same way that osteoporosis will, and no one is sure exactly how the fracture happened. But this is very treatable with radiation (five treatments, one each day this week) and a medication that Stacey’s doctor called “bone glue.” It probably has a less technical name as well, but the point is that it will repair the fracture very quickly and relieve the pain.

Originally, the chemotherapy was to start today, but the Radiation Guy (he probably has a less technical name, too) said that the oncologist might want to put that off until next week because of the hip treatment. No word from the oncologist on this, but Stacey is at the hospital today for whatever adventures they have planned for her, so we’ll hear more later today.

Prognosis: health and wellbeing. Everybody good with that?

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 21, 2006

One of the trickiest questions about this disease is that of prognosis. IBC has no cure, per se, but there are many agressive and effective ways of controlling the cancer and treating its effects. Stacey’s oncologist explained the statistics as a bell curve, recreated here to the highest scientific standards. Most people live two years after the diagnosis. On the other hand, this oncologist has one patient who was diagnosed sixteen years ago and is planning a trip to China this year. As you can see in the chart, Stacey’s expectation is to bust out of the five year window (oncology studies only track patients for five years) and never look back at IBC eating her dust. She asks that we all work on the same assumption.

Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on April 21, 2006

Stacey’s oncologist has diagnosed her cancer as IBC, Inflammatory Breast Cancer. This is a fast, agressive cancer that requires fast, agressive treatment. A CAT scan, MRI, and blood work have confirmed that the cancer has spread from the breast to some of the bones in her back, her liver, and probably one femur.

There is no definititive cure for IBC, because even after it is eradicated with chemotherapy and other treatments, it is a type of cancer that tends to recur. So the treatment plan will be focused on control and management (just as with diabetes or heart disease or any other non-curable condition). The plan right now is for a round of chemo (eight treatments over sixteen weeks) followed by hormone therapy to control any remaining cancer, with staging as she goes along.