The Stacey Report

December 23, 2007: God Bless the Weinsteins

Posted in Stacey Updates by dbancroft on December 23, 2007

Kerry and Judi Weinstein of Acupuncture Family Practice (978443-6789) are the bomb. I brought Stacey in for a treatment this morning, got my own treatment at the same time. Acupuncture is especially good for systemic things like boosting your mood and outlook and immune system. Stacey’s been going since her diagnosis, even when she was cancer-free, and I’m sure that has something to do with her speedy recoveries: the plastic surgeon, on checking her out before she left the hospital, said that she definitely “heals faster than the average Joe”.

The other thing in Stacey’s favor is that she’s just really healthy. She and her family have a beautiful diet, as organic as can be afforded, and although she (like most of us) doesn’t have a formal exercise regimen, she’s constantly on the move, especially from spring to fall when she’s out working in the garden.  Our society is really not able to see her as being healthy because of her figure, but she’s showing her true colors through this whole thing.

For example, this morning after acupuncture we went to do some errands, to Dunkin’ Donuts and Whole Foods and the grocery store. We even jumped two deaf women.

(Uh… that didn’t come out right.  We jump-started a car belonging to two deaf women.)

So, there was more to do after the grocery store but Stacey wisely said “Home, Jeeves” so we did. Go home, that is.

 And that is all. Oh, by they way, the new boob looks great. You really wouldn’t notice the difference if you weren’t engaged in a formal comparison study, and Stacey offered the information that the new one is oddly perky. Reduction on the other side is still undecided, but I say, if the insurance will pay for it, why the heck not?

Unless something cuh-razy happens, I’ll be posting updates after the holidays: have some happy ones!

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December 22, 2007: OK, Lazybones, Enough Recuperating!

Posted in Stacey Updates, Uncategorized by dbancroft on December 22, 2007

We got Christmas shopping to do!

No, actually, Stacey dealt with all of that before she went into the hospital, and anything left undone I shall do for her (whether she wants me to or not).

So, Stacey is home, discharged at about 3:00 yesterday (it was s’posed to be 10:30, but who’s counting?) She’s feeling well (all things considered) and sleeping and bathing and all that good stuff.

By the by, they didn’t do the Oeufectomy (Oeuf = egg en Francais. Why they use the French word for egg I do not know unless it’s because it’s just really fun to say Oeufectomy.) The Oeufectomy (Oeufectomy Oeufectomy Oeufectomy!) they’ll do in about a month, no idea whether they’ll do the follow-up to the breast reconstruction at the same time although that would be pretty good because being in the hospital Suuuuuuuucks! Although Stacey does want to tell everyone that the nurses were, in general, wicked awesome and totally nice to her.

Stacey says she feels best when she’s up and around, and she’s sleeping pretty well despite the fact that she’s got an incision going from one hip to the other (makes it tough to get comfortable; no matter how she lies, she’s lying on a scar. She says it’s still waaaay beter than trying to sleep in the dang hospital.)

A nurse from the Natick VNA came out today, just to check things out; she’ll probably be back later in the week. All is well, but Stacey feels better having someone who knows what she’s doing check out the scar and the drains and other eewy stuff.

Also, bye bye Pain Buster! It was empty, and she didn’t need it anymore, and it didn’t hurt to pull it out, but woah. I’m impressed. Because if I had to pull 6-8 inches of tubing out of me I would just never stop vomiting. Also fun and disgusting are the drains: apparently most of the fluid that’s leaking out is the stuff they use to flush things out during the surgery, but there’s also lymphatic fluid and blood and other repulsivity. Useful, though, for torturing teenagers: Lyle has been surprisingly helpful lately and all Stacey has to say is “Lyle, go get me a glass of water please or I’ll show you my draaaaaaaaaains! Ooooooooooh!

December 20, 2007: All is Still Well

Posted in Uncategorized by dbancroft on December 20, 2007

There was, however, an interesting bump in the road yesterday.

Sometime in the late morning, Stacey’s nurse became concerned about the amount of swelling around her incisions. So, what better way to make sure they heal properly thaaaaaaaan… open them up again! I don’t think it was as simple, or as far-reaching, as all that, but they did cart her back downstairs, prep, knock her out, and re-surgify her for a seven minute exploratory that found that she is very swollen. No broken vessels, no gangrenous pooling, no emerging alien invaders, just all swole up. So, back up to the room FOUR hours later: rest up, sweetie! (kthx.)

After that all went well: lots of checking and poking and prodding, but everything is cool. Stacey just called to say that nothing more exciting than that has happened, except that she’s received “a buttload of flowers”.

And also, she’ll be coming home tomorrow. “Oh, no!” I hear you cry, “that’s much too soon, how dare they throw her out so early…” Your concern is admirable and, yes, the health insurance companies are, in general, a bunch of… well, that’s neither here nor there. The point is that Stacey wants to come home, so she can take a shower (only sponge baths and no hairwashes at the hospital) and get some sleep! Oy yoy yoy, with the blood pressure cuffs and the meds and the walking in and out for no apparent reason and the switching the light on with no warning and the waking you up so you can take a sleeping pill (ok, that didn’t happen, but it’s a nice example, n’est ce pas?) Nobody gets any sleep in the hospital, ever, and that’s what she really needs.

So, a 10:30 discharge, theoretically, and she’s all set to stop and have an acupuncture treatment on the way home. Then we’ll be there to wait on her hand and foot. Until she starts throwing things at us. Which should take all of five minutes. I just hope she chucks the new Janet Evanovich mystery at me, because I haven’t read that one yet!

Update tomorrow.

December 18, 2007: All is Well

Posted in Uncategorized by dbancroft on December 18, 2007

So Stacey got started a bit late this morning, apparently — our Dad called this afternoon to say that they thought she’d be out of surgery at 8-ish. (He was at Newton Wellesley for a physical therapy appointment, took a detour to check on Stacey.)

I got a call from Michael at about 7:00 — Stacey was out of surgery and in recovery, everything went just fine.  They’d be taking her to her room, uh, sometime.

 I just now got another call from Michael: as of 9:30 pm, she is still in recovery,  sleeping off and on. They’ll take her to her room, uh, sometime. However, we do have a room number, which is 652B.

So anyone wishing to send a lavish gift (or a lovely card) to Stacey at the ‘spital should address it to:

Stacey, Room 652B
c/o
Newton-Wellesley Hospital
2014 Washington Street
Newton, MA 02462

Updates as we get ’em.

December 17, 2007: You want to do surgery WHEN?

Posted in Stacey Updates by dbancroft on December 17, 2007

Well, actually, tomorrow.  Thanks to TFDB’s vigorous advocacy, everything fell together: all tests were run, all specialists lined up and given orders, butts kicked, names taken, all that good gravy.

So let’s bring us up to date, shall we?

The first test that was run was the pet scan, which is really the best indicator for these things (thank you TFDB for ordering the best test right up front).  The scan was of all the relevant body parts, and found four very small nodules in her left breast (the troublesome one). 

Then, a bunch of follow-up tests (paraphrase: “let’s run every test in the whole world so we can find out as much about this as we can.”):

I. The MRI
Notable Notes: this test took SIX needle sticks, made by three different people. As you may recall, Stacey’s veins are “deep, wiggly, and hard to get.” Delightful mental image though this may be, it makes injections decidedly unpleasant. 
Results: MRI confirmed 4 nasties.

II. The Mammogram
SQUAAAAAAASH…. 4 nasties.

III. The CT Scan
Notable Notes: a CT scan starts with a luscious tumbler of barium sulfate solution on the rocks.  Post-quaff,  they start stickin’ needles. (“Uh, yesterday it took three people six tries…” “I’ll call the IV nurse.”)
Results: A CT scan is a whole-bod deal, and showed no areas of concern except the 4 nasties.

IV. The Biopsy (of the 4 nasties) and the Placing of the “Seed”. 
So, this is kinda cool in the abstract — when the Breast Center does a biopsy, they put a teeeeny little ball bearing dealie in the area they checked; they call it a seed. That’s so in later scans, the techs know where to look for trouble. And yes, then you have a ball bearing in your boob forever. Unless you’re Stacey. And then you only have it in there until tomorrow. (See? Life gives you lemons, you make Lemoncello.)

V. The ANOTHER Mammogram
Just for grins.

Then, a meeting with the plastic surgeon, because they’ve decided to do a reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy. “Well I should hope so,” our mother said, “otherwise she’d list!” (I checked with Stacey, you have permission to laugh at that one: Stacey sure did.)

For the reconstruction, they’ll be doing a tram flap. “Cool!” yer thinkin’, “Boob job and a free tummy tuck!” Well, no, you’re as wrong about that as I was: not quite that simple. For flap reconstruction they do take a hunk of tummy to construct a new breast (which, depending on your tummy, could be a good or a bad thing).  But they also take one of your abdominal muscles out, and that’s just creepy. I asked Stacey how a person continues to, like, remain vertical without all the tummy muscles. She told me what the plastic surgeon had said, that if she was a high powered athlete (ok, Stacey laughed there, use your judgement) he wouldn’t recommend it, but most people do just fine.

And then, everybody was going to be ready on Tuesday, so here we go.

Stacey has to go in for pre-op stuff at the butt crack of dawn (o’course) and they told her that it’d be about a 7 hour deal. True to form, when I asked whether she wanted me to be there, she said “Why? So you can sit around in the hospital while I’m unconscious and don’t even know you’re there?” Well, okie dokie, man — I’m asking Michael to call me when she’s out of surgery with an update, and then planning to go in on Thursday morning to see how things be.

I’ll be posting a mailing address at the hospital as soon as I know it: I bet if you sent it to Newton Wellesley Hospital and mark it for “Patient: Stacey” it’d get to her ok. I’m making an executive decision on flowers, to send or not to send: Send. There are always fresh flowers in her kitchen, believe it or don’t, so I think she’d dig ’em. I know she’ll be in the hospital at least 3 days (gee, plenty of time to recover!) so there’s time for cards or whatever you’d like to send.

On this note, if anyone would like to send anything that won’t get there through the mail in time, and it’s a thing I can get here and just bring in, please let me know. We’ll figure it out.

OK, kids. Stay tuned.