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What The ‘F’ – please don’t assume I have said something wrong!!!

With all the issues and the last minute change in my June surgery, I am not sure everyone is up to speed. So first off it was done and it went well. The procedure itself was symmetry on the top side and scar revision on the DL (okay the abdomen to be exact). Though I must say I find it funny to say the scar was revised… usually a revision is done to make something better… the scar got bigger – it originally went from hip bone to hip bone. Now it literally wraps all the way around to almost where my butt cheeks start ( I am sure that is a picture you all needed but I did not know how else to describe it. I guess if you think past the initial thought process of a revision you may take it a step further to identify the fact that when things are revised sometimes there needs to be additions/corrections that require more of something… I am not complaining. I am happy with the surgery. Wasn’t a fan of sitting in the post operative room for literally 7+ hours waiting for a room at the Inn. What made this super annoying was that when I talked to my Dr. on the phone the night before surgery and the morning of surgery, he wanted me to walk… move… get up… because of the risk of blood clots which is why they prefer you arrive at least 24 hours prior to going under general anesthesia not 11, and for the first 4 while I was totally awake… totally lucid… they wouldn’t let Rich come back to see me and they fought with me about getting up. Finally common sense or the desire to shut me up won out and I was allowed up and Rich came back, so we could be bored and annoyed together. I also had a great time at a quarterly ‘Pink Ladies’ support group meeting for my surgeons office and I won multiple times though had to keep giving the items back since I was not a local. LOL. I finally ended up with a fun summer pink and cream straw purse and a night at a local hotel… which unfortunately will expire before I can go back.

Recovery in San Antonio was okay, easier than last round. Still had some pretty strict rules on lifting and activities that bounce/work my core. Which really you do just getting up and down from seated/reclining positions. I don’t do well with limitations so this whole thing has been pretty tough on me. I did take a bunch of walks at the mall…. Okay I shopped a bit too. My hubby was able to be with me the whole time since he is able to work remotely. So I as usual had an amazing care taker.

I still need to have another surgery it is what many of us in the BC world refer to as the Addaniptomy – Add-A-Nip-To-Me. LOL. I think there is also some additional symmetry work that will need to be done. In October I will send some revised naked breast photos (hope I don’t get arrested for internet porn). Pretty sure normal people wouldn’t be lining up to see this rack for arousal purposes – so probably safe here…. That way the Dr. will be able to determine if there needs to be changes in surgical time as well as my travel etc. This trip was quite a bit more costly as the American Cancer Society was not able to secure hotels for us this round so that expense had to come out of pocket and 10 days in a hotel is not cheap. On the bright side we have proof that things really ARE bigger in Texas…. I rented a compact car from National on a ‘name your price’ request through Priceline and the didn’t have a compact so we ended up with a Jeep Liberty. My final procedure (HOPEFULLY) will be in 2012 – UGG… CRAP… ICK… BOO… I’m just saying this as I am annoyed that I will be over 3 ½ years in dealing with all of this. On the bright side again … for the final procedure I will not need to travel to San Antonio because it is a tattooing procedure and there are some great tattoo artists in AZ that specialize in 3D nipple/areola tattooing. I am so ready to be done with all of this. Yes I am jealous of those that get all their ‘stuff’ done in a 12 to 18 months. Pray for me and with me that the final symmetry/revision work can all be done on my next visit to San Antonio.

Being home after surgery this round was a challenging… as the opportunity to rest, limit/minimize activity and sleep in my temporary bedroom (the family room) as was needed is hard to accomplish with 2 little ones (my 2 ½ and 4 ½ year old grandsons) in the house. I am just over 7 weeks post surgery and getting to the place where I think I can start lifting and doing more. I of course will clear any real activity with my surgeon as I don’t want to risk any damage to what has been done since I am running out of options should something go wrong.

The FRIENDS: I am actually in California for the first time in 10 months. Those that know me and my relationship with Jen and California should understand this is a REALLY long time between visits. As soon as I arrived I got to do some non-traditional shopping…. There was a sale on the HIMYM stage of old sets that they are no longer going to be using so I got some fun/useful and silly stuff for pretty much nothing. Yesterday I sorted, organized and packaged hair for storage and future use and today we helped her move and organize. What’s in this for me as part of my vacation…. It is not always a requirement for me to do nothing to be able to enjoy my vacation… In fact I think 4 of the last 6 years I have been here with Jen just before the season starts and have helped her get ready. Damn Cancer ruined a bit of that but happy I can get back into the swing of things.

Now for some general thoughts as I am still struggling with the impact, reach and magnitude of this disease, and the inability for many people to really grasp it.

I have the pleasure of being connected intimately with a group of women all survivors – various stages, ages etc…. half a dozen of these women are in stage 4 of this disease, some at diagnosis and some with recurrence and each of them is younger than I. This is crazy to me. When will we be able to eradicate this disease… for my pink sisters… for children (who should be just living life and not fighting for it) for fathers… mothers… husbands… sisters… young and old… for too many people who have been hurt by this disease and those that will be in the future.

I HATE cancer!!! Hate the pain, loss, damage and ongoing fear. But I can also honestly say it has brought some great clarity to me and opened my eyes to truths that though they may be hard to understand and accept are important.

The FEAR : to those out there who have not YET been touched by this disease on some level… It is difficult once you have been diagnosed with cancer to feel safe… certain of a future… to not be afraid… every ache, pain, weird feeling or illness that come along makes a cancer survivor think… Is It Back? Especially those of us, like myself who were diagnosed at higher stages, and with aggressive forms of the disease types/subtypes known to have a high incidence of recurrence and for which there is no adjuvant therapy available to hopefully ward off or minimize risk and maximize long term survivorship potential. So I can say… Today I am good – as 3 months ago my tumor counts were in the acceptable range… Next Thursday I go have my quarterly blood work done and then see the oncologist on Friday (ironically Friday the 19th of August 2011 will be 3 years to the day from when I was told of the cancer and my world turned upside down)… I am nervous… very nervous… I always am when it is that time again. This round I too am going to ask for a PET Scan… some doctors do them annually after treatment… my doctor does not (or maybe this is an insurance thing) but this is one of the best tools to see if cancer has returned. Triple Negative Breast Cancer being very aggressive, with a high Incidence of recurrence and its preferred recurrence host location of Brain, Bone and Visceral Organs (all of which are pretty severe sites). So I want a PET scan… my last PET was in March 2009. So it’s been 2 ½ years. It’s time. So pray for peace for the next 2 weeks for me, I always have trouble sleeping, my mind races… Pray for clear blood results. Pray I get the PET and it too shows NOTHING. Pray I continue to heal from my surgery 7 weeks ago and that I am allowed and able to do something… Pray for my spirit in all of this. Pray I am still blessed with opportunities to speak into the lives of other cancer patients and share important insight and information with women in general through my work with Susan G. Komen. I am really wanting to become more involved, do more, help more, learn more and hoping that an opportunity may come available as the opening of the new MD Anderson Cancer Center becomes a reality. Right Place, Right Time.

VELCRO ROCKS… There is nothing like this FAMILY. But this year was different because Saturday the 23rd the day before vacation started many were celebrating the wedding of Kim and Gary. Sunday 24th were mourned and celebrated Aunt Betty who had a very rough battle with Cancer and left us within 6 months of diagnosis. We rejoiced at new babies already born and one on the way. So many mixed emotions and as we talked about Aunt Betty I could only cry – fear? I was going to sky dive but opted not to because I didn’t want to spend 5 hours in a car for 10 minutes of flight freedom. Probably next year, maybe parasailing… maybe both. We had a great week staying with Pam and Mark Widmer so welcoming to Rich, Riley and I. Happy JD was able to come this year everyone LOVED having him back. Fun to bring Riley on her Birthday present week with us…

The FUN: Multi Class HS Reunion. Amazing time with some very close old friends and a great time connecting or reconnecting with many others. We went to a pre-event party at Kristi’s, then the 9 of us headed over to Terrenea Resort, we were too late to get in – only the first 250 people were given access so we followed Don like his Harem, grabbed Dennis and Marcia and found a place that we could all sit back, and enjoy we ended up at Nelson’s with a bunch of other graduates that also missed the 250 or bust event and then lost of the guests ended up coming to our party afterwards. hahahaha.

Still to come Michael and I are going to watch the taping of The Doctors on Thursday, then Saturday or Sunday we are all heading up to Valencia area to spend time with Hazel and Robin. Monday Megan is coming down from Santa Barbara to scoop me up and take me for the next leg of my trip. Then I leave from Santa Barbara on Wednesday the 17th… I have already told what is to follow.

I had a nice long talk with Pam Fryman… she is such a sweet, precious being and has always been so warm and loving to me and truly interested in what is going on, she even asked WHY I have not been back in so long, wants to know how I am (really with the details)… and tells me to come back ANY TIME. I am welcome to sit and watch the monitors with her or sit in the bar and have ‘a drink’. I feel truly cared about by this woman and many of the cast and crew. What a lucky lady Jen is…. But then again I think they are pretty lucky to have her. Oh and she is up for an EMMY for Make-Up on the show. GO JEN!!!!!!!

The FORECAST: Loving the So Cal weather right now. Church on the Beach on Sunday AM. What an amazing way to worship looking at the beautiful, powerful and magnificent creation of ocean. I miss Southern California a great deal. I miss the place and the people. I was so lucky to have been able to grow up on The Palos Verdes Peninsula, and I am so lucky now to be able to visit. Sunny skies, light breeze and the ability to be outside all day every day… at least for now.

FAITH in the FATHER:

STRONG ENOUGH: Matthew West

You must, You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through

Well forgive me
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

(Chorus)
I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up
I’m not stong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe, maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I’m finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that’s when I start looking up
And reaching out

Chorus

Cause I’m broken
Down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and You are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

BLESSINGS: Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

(Chorus)
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

Chorus

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Chorus

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Just a word of advice to those willing to listen. Think twice before undergoing as needle with anything in it… If you desire explanation I will provide…

So there you have it. The Friends, The Fear, The Family, The Fun, The Forecast, Faith and my Father… Still hoping for Sunny weather, no showers and to be dancing with NED in 2 weeks and forever.

Patti

One Response to “What The ‘F’ – please don’t assume I have said something wrong!!!”

  1. My dear sweet friend! I am praying for you continuously!! I miss you and can’t wait for you to return so we can get together. Thank you for sharing all of this it has been a honor and priviledge to be in your life, to share being sister’s in Christ, and although I wish it was for a different reason because Cancer SUCKS, I am so very glad you are my Pink sister too!
    Have a blast in Cal.
    Love you
    Mary

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