Updates on Kathy's battle with breast cancer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


As the month of October draws to a close, breast cancer awareness month has given us lots of hot pink on football fields, including receiver gloves, socks, and huge pairs of hot pink cleats.  Football season is a favorite time of year at our house, especially for Scott, who has never worn hot pink.....yet.  So, in this blog, I’ll first give an update on our mountain climb (fighting this breast cancer for those just joining in), and then delve into some football moments.  So, you can skip ahead, or sign out when you're ready. 

I am SOOOO excited to say that I only have one more chemo treatment!  Four doses of adriamycin cytoxan given every 3 weeks, CHECK; 12 doses of Taxol given weekly, 11 of 12, CHECK.   This coming Monday, two days before Halloween, will be my final dose of chemo!!!  These past almost 6 months will soon be behind us.  It has been a memorable journey, I’ve learned an incredible amount of things, and I am thankful for the opportunity.  I am also really excited to leave it behind and move on through the rest of this breast cancer adventure! 

So, the last two weeks have been much better than the 4 weeks preceding them.   The reduced dose was just what was needed to get me through this last bit.  My blood counts have been the best I’ve had since starting chemo.  I still need to be careful of germs, but can come out of isolation, which I had sort of put my self into for a few weeks when my counts were so low.  I have this theory, that is probably not medically correct, but I at least justify that outside germs and crowds are much safer than inside germs and crowds, since the germs can dissipate into the atmosphere.  More about that below (I went to a college football game!).  Frequent hand washing, I am told, is one of the most important things necessary to avoid germs and illness.   The fatigue is less debilitating.  I still have rest times (reclining, but not sleeping, just enjoying computer work on a lap top and reading—which I’ve loved!), but I’m up and doing things for equal or more amounts of time.  The neuropathy (tingling and numbness of fingers & toes due to nerves affected by Taxol) is still present, but has only increased slightly.  My fingernails and toenails feel bruised.  They could fall off, but hopefully since I’m so close to the end, they can hold on.   My hair continues growing.  I will post some pictures of the process. 
Oct.15th Hair

September 25th 

On Friday we met with the Surgeon, Dr. Robert Goulet, who is NOT an actor and singer, at least to my knowledge.  I’m scheduled for surgery as planned, Monday, Nov. 19th.  They will do a lumpectomy (remove the now shrunken tumor, the tissue in the area before it shrunk, plus a bit more to get clear margins), and remove auxiliary lymph nodes in two areas in my left arm pit.  Sounds like the lymph node area is the most involved part of the surgery due to nerves in that area, and that portion of the surgery is also the more difficult part to recover from.  I’ll have some type of drain attached in that area for 7-10 days (which sounds gross, but I guess it’s small and not noticeable).  The actual surgery takes about two hours, but they will do a couple of preparatory procedures earlier that morning (ultrasound to place a guided needle and installing a pain blocker for recovery).  They will keep me over night, and then I’ll be home by noon the following day.  My mom is coming in town the Wednesday before surgery, so we can have some pre-surgery time together.  She will stay for 3 weeks.  My baby Sister Krista will join us from DC for Thanksgiving, as well as Garrett from Mississippi.

Three to Four weeks after surgery, I’ll begin radiation, which is 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  Unlike chemo, which took 4-5 hours every time, radiation is less than 30 minutes.  By early February, I’ll be finished with everything.  From that point, I’ll take a hormone blocker drug (since my cancer feeds off 2 hormones) for 5-10 years and have checkups every 6 months (at least that’s my understanding at this point). 

Snuggled up with the blanket my friend Kami made for chemo days.   I should have sat up--the wig is doing a beehive thing against the pillow.
Sorry that took so long.  I want to thank everyone for their support and kindness through all of this.  My church family has spoiled us with dinners every Monday and Wednesday, which have pretty much fed us for the entire week.  I’ve received so many kind and encouraging texts, FB (facebook) messages, emails, notes, fun hat/wig pictures, fun random things in the mail, wonderful advice, and lots of prayers in my family’s behalf.  Garrett was my chemo partner on Monday.  He posted a picture on his FB page yesterday, and it was soon filled with such loving and encouraging comments and over a hundred "likes."  I have felt such a huge out-pouring of love and support through this entire journey.  It has made a huge difference.  I have never felt alone, and have never been alone.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support.  It has been amazing and so uplifting!  I know we’re not finished, but it is wonderful to have what I hear is the most difficult part behind us.  Yeah team!!!  Thank you!!!

So, on to football!  Garrett and Scott purchased tickets months ago for the BYU/Notre Dame Game held last weekend.  They only purchased 2 tickets, because we doubted I’d be able to attend at the last of my chemo days.  Days before, Scott was offered 2 more tickets.  With Garrett in town, that provided an opportunity to spend 5 hours in the car with family!  I didn’t want to miss out, plus the game would be outside germs that would “dissipate into the atmosphere,” making it a safer place than a smaller indoor crowd.  So, Courtney and I joined them for the game.   It was so fun being part of that memory.  We met up with the Baers, at the tail end of their tailgating, who were in from Utah, saw a few other surprise friends in the stadium, and met up with Aubrey at the end of the game.  It was a really exciting game.  BYU led 14-7 at half time, but the final score ended with Notre Dame on top, 17-14.  I was sooo tired after the game and curled up in the back seat resting all of the way home.

Manti Te'o, Notre Dame’s only Mormon team member, was fun to watch, and he had a great game.  He has an amazing story.  Click on his name for an article written this week in an Oklahoma Newspaper.  Since BYU lost, I hope Notre Dame can continue the season undefeated.    

Courtney & Garrett in front of the famous "Touch down Jesus" mural.
My Utah neighbor, Lori.

Cosmo and a sold out crowd of dissipating germs.                      

Score board at half time.  Sadly, BYU did not score again, and Notre Dame added 10 more.

Aubrey & Garrett share birthdays, 2 years apart.  We've known
her since birth.  Her Mom and I worked together at BYU
 and we've stayed close friends ever since.

If you can’t get enough of football, here’s another story I enjoyed:  Same Jersey.  I’m thankful to wear the same jersey as all of you.  We are all on God’s team, brothers and sisters in this wonderful world, with a Heavenly Father that loves us and watches over us.  He wants us to look out for each other, so we are all together one day at the REAL Super Bowl in heaven.   


  1. Kathy, Rich, Todd and I were there at the game on Saturday. I sure wish I would have known you were there so I could have given you a huge hug! I love your blog, I love you, and I keep your name on the temple whenever I go. You are my hero! God bless you dear friend. Much Love, Ann Herlin

  2. It would have been so fun to see you, Ann! We'll have to coordinate the next time we're heading to a BYU game, or even headed to Provo in case you're in town there! Much love to you and the family!!


  3. Kathy - I dropped off of facebook so I kept missing these posts. I caught up and want you to know that you have been thought of and in each of our prayers every day. To hear that your chemo is coming to an end is so wonderful. We love you and will continue to pray with you! We will also check your blog more frequently. Lots of love for you and your family. Mark and Rachel

  4. I love this post and was thrilled to see the picture of Garrett and Aubrey! I love your germ theory! I'm filing that away for future reference! So happy you were able to get out there and enjoy your team and your family! Garrett is so cute to post sweet things about his mom! You are amazing! Loving the peach fuzz growth progress photos! Keep them coming! I love you! Tammy