Friday, May 16, 2008

More News.

Doctor called me yesterday. My wife was sleeping. I got home from work around 1815hrs. The phone rang and it was her doctor, the Surgeon/Oncologist guy. He said they found more cancer in one of her Lymph Nodes. He said it's not that bad. They found it in the Sentinel Node and one other Auxiliary Node. He also said they found Invasive Cancer in the remaining breast tissue on her breast that they removed two weeks ago. Remaining because she already had a Lumpectomy done on that breast last fall. I forgot to ask him about the left breast tissue, they removed that one too. I guess if they found something there he would have told me about that.

The doctor said they got it all. The doctor said nothing has changed. She will start Chemotherapy in a few weeks. The doctor said it all looks good, for now.

I didn't know how to tell her. I just told her straight out. She was actually relieved. I didn't understand. Why would she be relieved to find out that she actually had an Invasive Cancer hiding like a sniper, camouflaged amongst the DCIS? She told me why. It makes sense when you think about it.

When they found cancer in her Sentinel Node after the biopsy they did a couple weeks before the double mastectomy, they said they didn't understand why it would be there. They said that DCIS does not do that. DCIS does not "travel". She was worried because it was an unknown. Now it's a known. It's a known and they got it all. Her most excellent Surgeon/Oncologist got it with his scalpel. Now, just to make sure, another doctor will nuke that bastard Cancer with Chemotherapy. The other doctor is a Medical Oncologist.

On Friday, 16MAY08 around 0915 hrs. I was standing on the loading dock at a grocery store called Pechin's in Conelsville. It's on 119 just south of town. Actually, I think it's in Durbin. The Nurse called me on my Trac phone. The Nurse is our primary contact with the Surgeon/Oncologist. She apologized for calling me at work. I told her not to worry about it. The guys from Pechin's were unloading about one thousand cases of stuff that was all stacked and shrink wrapped on pallets from the back of my forty-eight foot trailer. They have to check everything in while they unload. Basically, I just stand around for two hours while they do this.

The Nurse said that they were scheduling her an appointment with the Medical Oncologist. She also said they were scheduling her an appointment with a Pain Management Specialist. She said that Pain Management may also include some therapy to help her deal with all this. The Nurse said she is mailing two more prescriptions for the pain killers that my wife needs while she recovers from this surgery.

Hey Tommy. I'm good. I don't need therapy. You know how that goes. I just drive my big truck all around this Western and Central Pennsylvania. It's a great detail. Nobody bothers me. I'm my own boss. I get overtime and I'm home every night. I usually start at 0430, maybe 05. Two days a week it's 0830 hauling produce. I'm home between 1430 and 1800 hours, depending on the day. I don't even listen to the radio. I turn the stupid CB off. The CB is usually just full of guys who like to hear themselves talk and they talk about nothing at all related to road conditions. No man, I just think while I drive. It's all good on my end brother.

Hey Tommy. Man, I have got to tell you about this place where I run produce. It's called Whyte's Comet Market. It's right on the Allegheny River in Parker. On the west side of the river just ten miles from exit 42 off I80. It's the coolest store man. They got the nicest people working there. The fishing is great, or so I've been told. Maybe I'll find out for myself one day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


We took a ride down to Pittsburgh this morning. The doctor removed the drains. I could see a noticeable difference on her face. She looks so much better without those two foot long plastic tubes that look like air pump lines from a fish tank with little clear hand grenades hanging off the end sticking out of her body. Two on each side.

We went to Ritter's Diner around the corner to celebrate. She has not been anywhere in two weeks, other than the patio behind our house. She was so happy she almost cried. She is sleeping now. She needs to sleep.

I don't know if I mentioned this before. Two weeks ago, on 01MAY08, when I had to leave Pittsburgh after taking her to the hospital for the double mastectomy. I stopped at Ritter's for breakfast and coffee to get me back home. When I was at Ritter's I had to utilize the facilities. I walked through the two way swinging door at the end of the counter to the rear of the diner and turned right to enter the Men's Room. The Men's Room at Ritter's consists of one stall located to the left as you enter. A sink stands to the right of the stall and two urinals are mounted to the wall to the right of that sink. The first urinal, the one closest to the sink, is much closer to the ground than the second urinal. The first urinal I suppose is placed at the proper height for small children, midgets and maybe the handicapped. The second urinal seems to be set for the average adult male, height. I'm talking height here.

So on that Thursday two weeks ago, as I stood in front of that second urinal I looked up the ceiling for no reason at all. On the ceiling directly above was one word scribbled in pencil. Keep in mind that the Men's Room at Ritter's is not littered with graffiti. That one word that I saw written on the ceiling above me was;


I saw it there again this morning. I saw the word HOPE looking back down at me.

Hey Tommy. I don't know man. I do know that it makes me feel better. I mean, HOPE. Who can argue with that?...........................No word on those biopsy results yet. We do know they found cancer in the Sentinel Node, that's why they removed all of the Lymph Nodes in that cluster. They said it would take about a week to get those results. They said that almost two weeks ago. I'm holding on to what I saw above me in that latrine at Ritter's Diner in Pittsburgh. I'm holding on to that real hard.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Five Mayonnaise.

I brought her home on Monday. She's been doing better with time. Today we have a Visiting Nurse here in our drafty old house. She's with her right now. The older baby girl is with them too. It's time for the dressings to be changed. Nurse says it all looks good. One week from today she will have the drains removed. The older baby girl will drive her to Pittsburgh for her 0845 scheduled appointment. I was transferred to day shift starting next week, I can't take her.

Day shift down on The Dock starts at 0600. For trailer drivers, like me, it starts at all different times. It depends on the run you get for that day. I will probably be heading to Pittsburgh at 0400 several days a week. That's fine with me. Day shift trailer drivers get Lots-O-Overtime.

So we have to empty the drains twice a day. Four tubes, each attached to a plastic squishy bottle that resembles a hand grenade in both shape and almost in size. Difference is this. You squeeze these balls.

(I know, I know. I could have said that better.)

Anyway, you squeeze them and they create a vacuum that helps the drains, well, drain. When you empty these things out you have to measure the amount fluid in each one and record same. They are designated "A" through "D". She will be very happy when they are gone.

I have to go for now. I will continue this later. 1225hrs. 06MAY08.

It's now Friday, 09MAY08. 1240hrs.

She's sleeping. I'm tired. I will sleep on the weekend. I start day shift on Monday. Have to alter my sleep patterns accordingly. It's all good. I'm going to to take a personal day on Wednesday, 14MAY08. I willl take her to Pittsburgh to have the drains removed. She asked me if I could do that. She worries about the girls.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A View?

It's Sunday morning coming down. I love that song. 0839 hours. 04MAY08. My wife just called. She said they might give her a private room. She said they might give her a room with a view. I asked her how that happened. She said she doesn't know. She said they came in to her semi-private room with no window about an hour ago. They just asked her if she'd like a nicer room.

She's in pain. A lot of pain. She says she feels "slaughtered". She's got stitches everywhere. Stitches in the front. Stitches in the back. Stitches on both sides. She was crying on the phone last night. She still does not want me to come and see her. I'm thinking maybe I'll go anyway.

Hey Tommy. I don't know nothin' about that. It's just good timin' I guess. I mean just last night she's sayin' how she walked around a little bit. She was sayin' how they got all these nice rooms on her floor, with windows and flat screen TV's. She was just sayin' how some of those rooms are empty and how her little room at the end of the hall is so small and it has no windows. All of the sudden maybe they're thinkin' about givin' her a nicer room. It's funny how that stuff happens, you know? Yeah, like I was sayin'. I don't know nothin' about that. Maybe prayers do get answered directly sometimes. Maybe you just got to say it the right way.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

This Post.

I don't know what to call this post. I think I'll call it "This Post". That works for me. I don't know why a post needs a name. I guess it just does. I'm going to fill in the title box now.

There, now I feel better. The younger baby girl came with me to the grocery store today. We bought a six pack of IBC Black Cherry Soda. We like the Root Beer and the Cream Soda from IBC, we have never tried the Black Cherry. I was carrying the six pack of IBC Black Cherry into the house. I was holding it by the carry handle so conveniently located at the top of the cardboard IBC six pack container. The handle broke. The six pack of IBC Black Cherry Soda landed upside down. All six bottles of IBC Black Cherry Soda broke. All six of the twelve ounce bottles deposited their contents of IBC Black Cherry Soda on the patio. It was sad, watching the IBC Black Cherry Soda run across the concrete, mixing with the light rain that was falling at the time. I stood there with the cardboard handle still in hand. It was all so very Hitchcockian.


May Day; Revisited.

So the doctors called me on Thursday. The first doctor called at around two-thirty in the afternoon. He said the first part of the operation went well. No complications. He said the second surgeon was working on her. The reconstruction team was on the job. The second doctor called me on my cell phone, well it's a TRAC FONE just for emergencies. Anyway, the second doctor called me a little bit after five on Thursday afternoon. I was down at The Dock for my regular shift. We are not supposed to use cell phones unless on a scheduled break but this was different. The Foreman knew I was waiting for these calls. I was back in the racks when the call came in. The second doctor said his part all went well too. No complications. He said she'd be in recovery for about four hours and he gave me the phone number for the recovery room. I called the recovery room on my lunch break, they said she was already moved to a regular room and doing well. The nurses in the area where they moved her said she was sleeping. I figured that was good and I'd talk to her in the morning.

Friday morning I take the younger baby girl to school. The older baby girl is still sleeping and my wife called at around eight-thirty. She sounded good. She said she was hungry. We talked for a few minutes. I ran up to Radio Shack and got the stuff I needed to hook up the stereo to the computer so we can play streaming audio and all that good stuff through the stereo. I had to pull some wire through the basement because the stereo and the computer are in different rooms. I got it all done before I went to work. Now when she comes home from the hospital she can listen to her favorite radio station. KBXR 102.3 Columbia Missouri. She really likes Simon Rose, this British guy who's on the air at BXR from two through seven (CST) on weekdays. My wife has always been a sucker for a British or a Scottish accent. She likes that Craig Ferguson guy too.

I put in my time down The Dock and got home about fifteen minutes before midnight. We start at three on Fridays. No sooner had I walked in the door and the phone rang. It was my wife. She was upset. We talked for almost an hour. Her hospital room has no windows. Now I'm not a doctor but I would think that kind of lock down situation has got to mess with a person. It can't be good for your soul if you can't even look out the window. I'm not complaining, they are taking good care of her. I just think every hospital room should have a window. She said they were concerned about the bleeding. She has these drains in her, two on each side. She said the doctors were concerned, the blood seemed to be draining faster than normal. At one in the morning they came into her room to give her a transfusion. We had to end our phone call at that time.

This morning she says that the bleeding slowed way down. It's all under control. We have spoken several times today. At one point she told me they took her off the morphine IV drip thing. She said they were giving her pills now. The next time we talked she asked me to call her doctor and tell him that she needed stronger pain killers for when she comes home. I only heard the first part. I thought she was saying that she needed stronger pain killers right now. I didn't hear the part about when she comes home. She was basing this request on the prescription they gave her almost two weeks ago when she had the biopsy done on her Sentinel Lymph Node. She was saying that now, after the bilateral mastectomy, now it hurts a lot worse so she would like to have stronger pain killers.

So I call the doctor and get his service. I tell the service that I just need a minute of the doctor's time. He calls back in like ten minutes and wants to know if the nurses are taking care of my wife and giving her the pain killers. I said yes, the nurses are taking real good care of her and that she just wanted some stronger medication and, oh boy. Did I screw that all up.

So the doctor starts telling me that my wife has to talk to the nurses and that he cant' be going to her room to give her a pill and,...... AAAAAHHHHH!......THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID..... I wanted to scream but I didn't. So he says he's going to her room to see her and see what he could do. I call her right back and let her know that he's coming down to her room to check things out. I guess he did that. I guess it's all good now.

I have to be honest here. I don't really care if some nurse thought I was complaining. I don't care if the doctor thinks I'm complaining. All I care about is my wife and what's best for her. I would be there if I could. We live pretty far from Pittsburgh and I have to work. We have kids and dogs and birds who all need to be taken care of. I don't need to be losing hours at my job and losing money from my paycheck at this point in time when my wife is not able to work because she has cancer and just had her breasts removed and will need chemotherapy and who knows what else by the time this is all said and done. If those people at the hospital in Pittsburgh can't understand that, if they can't understand that it's a little bit hard to be the concerned spouse and advocate for my wife while she goes through all of this on her own because I have to be here to hold the fort down and work so we can pay our bills. If those people can't cut us just a little bit of slack here then shame on them.

Hey Tommy. I have to run bro. I have to put some stuff in the dryer and go to the store to get some IBC Black Cherry Soda............Yeah buddy I know. Right about now I'm talkin' too much.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day. Today. D-Day. The Day.

Finished up work down at The Dock at 0030 hours. After a shave and a shower, some eggs and lots of coffee, we left for Pittsburgh at 0340. We arrived at 0510. They checked her in. I stayed with her until they threw me out.

I went around the corner to Ritter's Diner and stuffed myself on corn beef hash, eggs over easy, home fries, sausage and rye toast. More coffee and coffee to go. A Rocket Fuel Breakfast.

Left Ritter's at 0725. Drove back up South Aiken and hung a left at Fifth. Washington Boulevard (Rt. 8) back to the Highland Park Bridge then north on 28 with the classic rock blasting over the radio through the two good speakers in my old Jeep.

Heart. "Crazy On You". The long play album version with that great acoustic intro took me past The Mills. The Wilson sisters. Damn. Is there guy my age out there who didn't have teenage dreams about the Wilson Sisters? And Stevie Nicks too.

Route 85. South Mahoning Township, Indiana County. Is that house teal? It looks like a swimming pool. Maybe it's me. I'm tired. Those hills sure are pretty. Rolling, like waves. When the dandelions turn to seed it will look like white caps on those waves.

Journey. "Wheel In The Sky". And it keeps on turning. Loud obnoxious morning drive adds and sports updates that I care nothing about. I need music to keep my brain from spinning out of control. The Seek Button. Three clicks and Steely Dan. That's better.

Got home and slept for a couple hours. Called the hospital for an update at 1300 hours. I had to give them my P.I.N. for patient information. She's still in surgery.

1410 hours. Her surgeon just called me. He's done with his part and the plastic surgeon's team is now on the job doing their reconstruction thing. The doctor who just called, the main doctor, oncologist/surgeon said everything went well. No surprises. She's been on the operating table for well over six hours now. The doctor said it will be a couple more hours before it's done. The doctor said that the biopsy results of the remaining lymph nodes that he removed this morning will take about a week to come back. He said he didn't see anything obvious.

I need more coffee. I need a hell of a lot more coffee. I'm going to go drink as much coffee as I can between now and 1510 hours when I pick the younger baby girl up at the bus stop. The older baby girl is at work. She will be home before I leave for work. The doctor will call me at work or on my cell phone.

I will go back to Pittsburgh tomorrow morning to bring her some things that she will need for her stay at the hospital. She will be knocked out until tomorrow anyway. I'll take the girls down to see her over the weekend. She should be able to come back home on Monday.