Archive | April 2014

Pausing to breath …


Dawne - Family of SistersIt has been a several weeks since we last updated here. Today is a landmark. Not monumental by any means, but yet feels like it. I am writing this piece on my own for the first time. William has been so good about putting my thoughts and words down while I dealt with the low energy that comes with chemotherapy.

The side effects of chemotherapy are easing up, although I am still struggling. Chemo has killed or seriously messed up my finger nails. There is a good chance that I will lose all of my nails. I am on round two of antibiotics taken to treat really painful infections under my nails. Hair growth is slow, but it is starting its comeback.

Oh, and about my hair — Prickly and driving me a little nuts!

Dawne & Mechthild on the WaterIt’s weird; I am weaker now than while taking the chemo drug. Don’t get me wrong I was pretty weak while doing chemo, so you can imagine just how scary and frustrating it is to be worse off now some 4 weeks after my last chemo treatment. I am working at eating well and getting stronger; I need to be ready for surgery.

Surgery is April 30th. It is an outpatient procedure. I’m in the door around 7:30 am for prep. Surgery is around 12 noon. They expect to let me go home around 5 or later. I will be laying low for at least a week; but I’m hoping to feel better soon thereafter. I’m really ready to get back to my old normal.

As the weeks progress since my diagnosis you would think I would have so many little projects accomplished. I feel lazy and lately with my fingers so painful the thank you notes I need to write are just piling up. Please know I appreciate all the gifts, cards and phone calls. Everyone has just been so wonderful.

There is a real landmark coming up.

Dawne & High School FriendsWe should know by May 6th the outcome of the pathology tests which will be done using tissue and lymph nodes taken during surgery. It goes without saying, we are hopeful. Truly great news is expected. Think Poker. In many ways this is the game-of-life with very real “odds”. I’m told that I have around and 80% chance of complete response to the two Antibody Drugs coupled with this one chemo drug.

The ultrasound scan a couple of weeks ago did not find any tumors present. I’m down from 4 tumors with a total mass of around 5 cm! Extended pathology tests will be looking for individual cancer cells. Somehow the needle in the haystack analogy seems proper. It’s hard not to be a little anxious waiting for these results; so much so, that my upcoming breast surgery feels almost routine to me. I’m more focused on the lab technician’s work more so than the cancer surgeon and the plastic surgeon.

Yes, I know that surgery is a big deal. Thinking recovery afterward is going to be tough too. I know this I’m more than ready for it to happen. It will bring me one step closer to December this year when I will have my last drug infusion appointment and I can close this crazy and unexpected chapter of my life. I am confident. I am grateful.

Until we meet again. Love you!


Dawne L. Lee

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No foolin’


Alleluia! Tumors are undetectable via ultrasound. The Cancer Doctor had to re-read her notes and take a second look today – noted with emphasis. Good chance Dawne has attained “pathological complete response” to her combo chemo/antibody treatments. All four tumors appear to be gone. The final-final diagnosis waits for surrounding tissue removal along with 2 or 3 lymph nodes during “cancer surgery” which is targeted for end of April.  The surgery scheduler is to call in the next couple of days to set dates. No more chemotherapy, only antibody infusions through the end of this year and 5 to 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments which occur 4 – 5 weeks after surgery. Happy beyond explanation about today’s reports from the Cancer Doctor.  We will be even happier to hear Dawne say that her chemo-induced Peripheral Neuropathy is gone too, although based on our experiences with my own peripheral neuropathy and the cancer doctor’s independent diagnosis it will take a year or two before we know for sure. Wicked trade-off … but stop it … the tumors are freakin’ undetectable. Happy – happy – happy!!!!!!! Now to work the mojo and rebuild what chemo wrecked on its way to kicking cancers butt.