Saturday, April 29, 2017

More Doctors

Since I lasted posted I have visited an oncologist regarding the breast cancer diagnosis.  Not a fun few hours for sure, but we have a plan now and if all stays true to that I will start chemotherapy on May 10th.

One thing we are concerned about is "chemo brain" -- a side effect from the chemotherapy.  Short term memory can be hampered as well as other things such as lack of concentration and that 'foggy" feeling.  I know those things all too well now, I am hoping they don't get much worse.  But there isn't anything we can do about it so we are hoping for the best.

After 4 cycles of chemo (one week on, two weeks off - for a total of 12 weeks) then it is on to surgery.  After I recover from surgery we will be looking at radiation for 5-7 weeks (five days a week). 

It is going to be a long summer.

This week I still have a few tests to take to prepare for the start of chemo.

I also have an Alzheimer's speech I am giving in Warner Robins Georgia which is a couple of hours away.  It has been on the schedule for a long time and it is important that I do it.

Then, I have family coming in for my great niece's graduation from Emory University. So, all the things going on this week will help with me trying to keep my  mind off things -- if you can really do that.

Last night my husband and I attended a Billy Joel Concert in Atlanta.  I have never seen him in concert and it was a great show.  He sang for three hours straight and all great songs.  The show was held at the Suntrust Bank Baseball Field -- the new home of the Atlanta Braves.  We decided to stay the night in a hotel which was walking distance to the stadium so we didn't have to hassle with the parking and the commute at night.  That was perfect.  When we arrived at the hotel my daughter-in-law had brought by a little "goody bag" for us and in it my son left this note:
So cute and clever.  Made me feel good after a long morning with the oncologist.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Indulge Me

First of All --

Isn't he cute?  Ian's first baseball game in Atlanta. I know I'm prejudiced -- but he is a bundle of joy.

It's spring and the weather is beautiful in the south.  Lots of things are going on with festivals, graduations and outdoor sports. 

This post is going to be long and probably ramble a bit, but as I titled this, indulge me.  I have a few speaking engagements coming up for the Alzheimer's Association and I have been trying to make some changes in some of my presentations.  One of the things I talk a lot about is the difference in funding research for Alzheimer's disease and other diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  Alzheimer's is the only disease in the top ten diseases that cause death, that has no cure.  Yet, funding is proportionally lower for Alzheimer's disease that the rest.  I literally preach that we need to make Alzheimer's a CAUSE and perhaps people would look at it differently.  I know I am probably preaching to the choir here as most of you are my dear friends and give generously of your time and give financially to my "cause".

So, this week happened.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Perhaps it hasn't sunk in yet, but my reaction to it hasn't been as devastating as I thought it would be.  We are in the initial phases or meeting with surgeons and doctors, etc. But, with breast cancer I know there is a chance for survival.  Unlike with Alzheimer's.  And, it is because of all the research, all the dollars that have been given and people speaking out about breast cancer that has made this happen.  I know many people that have had breast cancer and survived -- the treatment might not be great but the end result is. Those that have gone before me are my inspiration.

Several years ago when I was speaking to a class at UGA I mentioned that at one point a doctor at Emory told me that he would hope that I would die from something other than Alzheimer's.  I have thought about that a lot.  When I said this to the students one student asked if I was faced with another devastating illness would I seek treatment.  I told her I didn't know the answer to that and would have to wait until that situation ever presented itself (if it did). Well, now here I am and yes, we will seek treatment because our chances are good and I can see a positive outcome. 

I'm hoping that in time our Alzheimer's cause will have the same outcome.  Please continue to speak up, give and encourage people to look at Alzheimer's as the DISEASE that it is and help us fight this dreaded disease.