Tag Archives: Idaho

Update 08/12/2009


In a land far, far away…or at least that’s how all good stories should start, right?  It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated.  There’s plenty to tell.  So grab a cup of coffee or maybe an iced tea or a Diet Coke, sit back and get ready to read away.



June 13th was an amazing day for me!  I got to return to Boise for the first time so I could watch my friends graduate from the Master’s program we had all enrolled in a year and a half earlier.  I had been looking forward to this for months and even caught myself smiling as my plane was landing.  I was thrilled when they invited me to join in the class picture; little did I know I would be stunned later (in a good way, of course). 

            I had talked with the program director several weeks before graduation and let her know how proud I was of the cohort and all of their hard work.  I had spoken with several cohort friends and knew just how much time and energy they were putting into their work.  Not only that, many of them took time out of their days to stay in contact with me and my treatment progress.  THESE 25 PEOPLE ARE TRULY AMAZING.  I wanted to hand them roses as they came across the stage to receive their diplomas. 

            What happened next had me cracking up.  We stopped on the way to Boise State to pick up the flowers, I even counted them to make sure there were enough.  S there I sat in the audience waiting patiently for my friends to take their place in line.  I unwrapped the flowers only to realize that the 30 flowers on TOP equated to 10 flowers on BOTTOM.  The stems ran together!  I looked at my Idaho mom sitting next to me in horror and said “Quick! Peel!!”  As fast as any 4 hands could work together we began to separate all of the flowers so I would indeed have 30.  All the while I was cracking up and struggling to stay focused.  Flowers in hand, I made my way to the stage.  Ever the jokester, I decided to ask the guys in class if they would “accept this rose” in my best Bachelorette fashion.  Nobody got my joke.  I suppose while I had been watching TV, they had been putting sweat and tears into their projects.  With the flowers handed out I started to head back to my seat.  My work was done and I smiled as I looked at my friends. 

“Don’t go too far, Heather”. 

I turned to see it was Terah, the cohort leader.  I froze and instantly felt my eyes fill with tears.  From that point on, I know she spoke but I could never tell you what words came from her mouth.  I looked down the stage to where my friends were now standing and cheering, clapping.  What were they doing?  THEY were the once most deserved of the ovation.  They had worked so hard!  Once I was adequately numb I started to head back to my seat.  Halfway down the aisle I was quickly summoned to take a seat with the graduating cohort and exit the ceremony as one of them.  I am so blessed to have friends like this.  I have never had an experience like this.  The cohort’s explanation?  I need to get out more.


The wrench

I’ve never been so confused.  I don’t even know where to start.  I went up to the John Wayne Cancer Institute yesterday and met with a couple of doctors.  Doctor-In-Training came in first and was careful not to say too much, just took a bunch of notes and asked some questions.  Then he left to go get Dr. F.  who apparently is the doc DIT was training with. 

Dr. F. took everything we’ve known so far and blew it all wide open.  His recommendations are for IL-2 treatments first and surgery later.  Exactly the OPPOSITE of what has been recommended in Idaho.  This is essentially the “Plan C” I talked about a on 8/1/2008.  He feels the best course of treatment is repeated cycles of inpatient Interleuken therapy.  This would mean being hospitalized for a week at a time.  I could leave the hospital to recover and then just as I’m getting back to normal it should be time to start another cycle.    Then if the tumors respond they will continue with the cycles until the tumors stop shrinking and do surgery at that point.  Who knows how long or how many treatments or cycles this could end up taking. 

I don’t remember too much about the appointment after that.  I’ve changed my flight back to Idaho (the original flight is probably landing right about now..) and we’re meeting with medical oncologists in Santa Monica today to get into more detail about these treatments.    


I think we have a schedule put together. 

Monday, Aug. 25th. 7:30am. Dr. ENT will remove the rest of the tumor on my scalp as well as the spot on face.  Both sites will need to remain open until pathology results are received indicating margins are clear. 

Wednesday, Aug. 27th. 7.30am.  Second procedure scheduled just in case there is a need for additional removal.  If the pathology comes back and there is no reason for this then it will be skipped.

Friday, Aug. 29th, 1.pm.  Surgery scheduled for removal of chest tumor.  Also at this time both head and face surgical sites will be closed, as well as reconstruction of these areas.

Mom will fly to Idaho on Sunday, Aug.24th and she will be staying until Sept. 6.  Dad flies in on the 6th and will be staying through the 13th.  Hopefully, this will be enough time for all sites to heal and have suture removals, etc. 

I’ve been having an interesting weekend here in California.  I had a long talk with Grandma Thursday evening about what has been going on.  This is the first time I’ve really told her anything.  She seemed to take it well.  I’ll write more tomorrow, but I wanted to get at least something posted today.