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The Sunday Salon is a Facebook group that has become an
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It is also a place to share our thoughts about things of a bookish nature.
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SUNDAY POST The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
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~ It’s a chance to share news~
A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE!

Breast Cancer

March has been hard for me for the last 19 years starting with the auto accident that left my right side mostly paralyzed on March 14, 2001. Then losing my son to suicide on March 15, 2015. Then this year on March 13 I was dealt another blow with a diagnosis of Breast Cancer.

Late in February, I found a lump in my left breast. After meeting with my Personal Care Physician, I had a mammogram on March 10 and then an ultrasound biopsy on the lump and lymph nodes under my left arm on March 11. On March 13, late in the day, my PCP called to confirm the cancer and that it had spread to the lymph nodes. Daughter #2 has just got home from work, so we had a good cry ending with her declaring “We got this mom!”

Soon thereafter my husband arrived home from work, a little more shock and tears and again, “Lori, we got this.”

A phone call to Daughter #1, my rock, “Mom, I will be there with you the whole way. We got this!”

A little later, Son #2 arrived with just what I needed, a dose of Baby Charlotte. A few more tears and paraphrasing my son here. “Mom, this is what we do, we get knocked down, we get back up and fight. We have done it before; we will do it again. We Got This! No decision for you to make, I am taking that off your hands. We are fighting this together.

Then a call to my daughter in law whose mother recently won her battle with lung cancer and who is also raising her daughter, Natalie, on her own after losing my son. Another strong woman to have in my corner. “Lori, whatever you need, I am here for you. We got this!”

After these calls and visits, I had to stop and take a few deep breaths. “We got this!” Not “You Got This”. This was just the beginning of my support team.

On March 20 I had a bone scan and CT scan to be sure the cancer hadn’t spread farther. Again, my PCP didn’t make me wait through the weekend and called about 5 p.m. to tell me it hadn’t spread and that he had set up an appointment for me with an oncologist for March 25.

This is where the Coronavirus started to throw a monkey wrench into my support. I was told I had to come alone to my appointment. So, me, being me, told them I would have to wait until I could have someone with me, this was just too monumental for me to handle on my own. Enter my husband who called them back, and finally got them to allow Daughter #1 who works in healthcare and was following all protocols to come to the appointment with me. And it’s good she did because there was so much information, she saw my eyes glaze over. She took great notes and asked all the right questions. She explained my fears about after losing my father, and brother-in-law to cancer, and a good friend and co-worker and other friends to breast cancer several years ago. She also pointed out that I knew many that had battled and won. Together the three of us made a plan and I was scheduled to meet with a surgeon the next day and also received a training session regarding chemo. Again, good thing she was there because it was a lot more information.

Now it was time to loop my extended family in. The family who had already supported me through so much, my mother-in-law, my sister, my brother, my sisters and brothers – in-law, and some dear friends. Again, they wrapped their virtual arms around me and told me they are there for whatever I needed. “We got this” “Prayers on the way” “Love You”

Thankfully my husband was allowed to come with me to see the surgeon where she explained putting in the port for chemo but also why we were doing chemo first before surgery. With the lymph nodes in my good arm involved it is important to shrink the tumors as much as possible to prevent having to take too much from there during surgery to protect my mobility. Also, generally, my type of cancer responds well to chemo first. The oncologist may have covered that the day before, but my brain did not absorb it. She was patient and open and really listened to me. She really put me at ease, giving me a longer possible prognosis than I truly expected.

So, on Monday, May 30, very early in the morning, I had surgery to insert my port. During the procedure I had a dream featuring my son Kris, “Focus, Mom, I am here. We Got This.” I woke up crying and when I told the nurse and anesthesiologist, they told me I wasn’t losing it, they have heard things like that a lot.

The very next day I started chemo. I was so nervous; they did let Daughter #1 to stay with me in a private room. It went very well, the nurse explained everything in detail. Then on the way home, nausea set in, the world went a little off the axis, we made it to my driveway, and I was so dizzy I didn’t think I would be able to get out of the car. Daughter #1 called the clinic and it was determined an empty stomach was to blame. Daughter #2 rushed to the pharmacy to get my nausea prescriptions filled while Daughter #1 finally got me in the house. Soon meds were on board and I fell asleep and woke up feeling much better. We kept the meds going through the next day, got some bland food in me and soon I was feeling more like myself. I did have to go back into the clinic for a follow-up shot and was checked out and we came up with a meal plan for my next appointment. I did have a little heartburn; I am still learning what I can eat and a little neuropathy in my bad leg in the days that followed but no throwing up or other side effects I was worried about.

This past week I had my second Chemo treatment and it went much better. Daughter #1 was not allowed in, but she sat in her car in the parking lot and we texted and read books. A little queasy stomach the next day and the biggest side effect I have worried about, my hair has started to fall out.

A bald head doesn’t bother me, but my bald head has scars and a dent from my accident in 2001 and I am afraid it is going to look pretty scary for the grandkids. I was hoping to do this gradually with a short haircut first and then giving in to my husband’s great plan, him shaving my head, but with hair salons closed we may be going directly to my husband’s plan. 😊 I am not doing the wig thing though, the girls are already looking at scarves, hats, and wraps and have plenty of ideas so I am sure I will have some stylish options. The first ones will be arriving this week.

So, I have not been able to Safe at Home during this pandemic but because all elective medical procedures were placed on hold my treatment was able to be fast-tracked for which I am very thankful. I have witnessed the evolution of questions over the past weeks I was asked every time I entered a facility.

Have you left the state of Wisconsin?

Have you been in contact with any that has or may have COVID-19?

Are you feeling sick today? Shortness of breath? Cough? Fever?

Soon they added taking temperatures at the door and no visitors allowed.

And as of my last visit, face masks required.

My schedule right now is 2 more times every other week, April 28 and May 12. Then the drugs change, and I go every week for 12 more weeks. After that, we reevaluate and plot the next steps regarding surgery or radiation.

I feel as I have been blessed that my body is tolerating the treatment well so far. I have been able to continue to work on my book tours and writing reviews and blog posts. I am a little behind on my reading because I fatigue easier and my late-night reading binges are ending earlier. This work pushes me to get up and keep going each day. Due to my early morning chemo treatments, I may be doing my promotions a little later in the day, but I do hope to take a laptop with me and work from the clinic. I just need to tweak a few things to get that set-up.

Since sharing this message with my Great Escapes Book Tour bloggers on Friday, my support group has expanded even more. Just like when I lost Kris, this group of extraordinary people I have only met online, have reached out to me again and are giving me strength and I am so appreciative.

I know there will be rough days ahead. Mental, physical, and financial but right at this very moment. We Got This! I am ready to fight and beat this!

If you are a prayer, prayers or good thoughts are always appreciated.

Thank you so much.

~Lori


Weekly Rewind – April 13 – 18, 2020

Monday – My Reading Itinerary Monday! – Week #16 – 2020

Tuesday – This Magick Marmot (An Abracadabra Mystery) by Sharon Pape #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @sbpape @lyricalpress

Plus – Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart – #CharacterGuestPost – Great Escapes Book Tour @quirkymysteries

Wednesday – Cozy Wednesday featuring A Stroke of Malice (A Lady Darby Mystery) by Anna Lee Huber #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Thursday – Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery) by Judith Gonda #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @JudithGonda

Friday – To Fetch a Scoundrel, Four Fun “Tails” of Scandal and Murder (Mutt Mysteries) by Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, Teresa Inge

Plus – #FlashbackFriday – Death and Daisies: A Magic Garden Mystery by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks

Saturday – All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery by Elena Taylor – #AuthorGuestPost / #Giveaway @Elena_TaylorAut

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