Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Be It Ever So Humble...

Hey All, Mike here...

First, I apologize for the delay in new postings. Needless to say, the days following Marla's surgery were filled with concern and worry... BUT, I'm happy to say that there's been a whole lot of healing going on too.

We'd like to thank the good folks at St. Josephs for taking such good care of Marla -- the doctors and nursing staff were professional, attentive and worked hard to make sure Marla was as comfortable as she could be after undergoing such an extensive procedure. There were a few complications (hemoglobin level dropped rather low warranting a late Friday night transfusion), and I almost knocked a little Jesus off the wall (oops!)

By Saturday (less than 48 hours after surgery), Marla's pain had gone from a 10 with an IV painkiller drip, to a 2 with only a few Tylenol. By Sunday, she was up and taking walks, eating regular food (well, hospital food -- apparently she really liked the oatmeal), and ready to come home.

And she did!

Since coming home, Marla has been healing nicely and draining (don't ask) as she should be. Her spirits are great and I am SO proud of her! And with Marla home, I'm happy to say that I got my first night's sleep in 23 days. What can I say? I sleep better knowing she's there...and past the surgery.

So, we've made it through the surgery. That part is done. We can now move forward with renewed and absolute certainty that Marla will recover to live, love and laugh for years and years and years (and years) to come! I said it in the last paragraph and I'll say it again. I am so proud of Marla. And I thank God she is home.

We also got some news from our Oncologist late yesterday afternoon... GOOD news. But, rather than listen to me go on and on, I am proud to re-introduce back to the blog, the one, the only... MARLA!!!! (take it away, sweetie!)

Thank you... thank you... I am truly honored and blessed to be here. I have a lot of people to thank. First to my amazingly loving brilliant inspiring husband (can you tell I am nuts about this guy?!) for being right by my side every step of the way as we continue to navigate this journey together. Our beautiful son who is handling this all so well and at the same time continuing to enjoy the magic of his childhood (a big thanks to Grandma Sherry for the Wii it could not have come at a more perfect time.) To Miriam (my MIL) and Joel (my BIL) who flew in from the east coast to be here to help us all. And a great big thanks to Ron (my Dad) who has been there for us with support and love every step of the way.

To my pre-surgery support team aka my very own ringside cheerleaders who kept Mike company so he didn't have to be alone during this very long day and showered us with their love before I went into surgery and who I surprisingly had time to visit with throughout the course of the day: Dad, Sherry, Karen, Miriam (MIL), Frani, Sam, Dick, Beck, Aaron, Mike, Cres, all four of my beautiful nieces, Uncle Bobby, Aunt Deb and the esteemed EFIII. I felt the love and light from all of you and still do. Karen for the exceptional piece of advice you gave me as I was being taken into surgery and the exceptional piece of advice you gave me when I was in recovery -- I remember them both and hold them in my heart.

I am trying to beat the play off music and know I am pushing my time limit...

To all of you who have sent your love and prayers I must tell you keep on sending them -- they are being felt and relished.

Who would have ever thought a skinny red headed Jewish kid from the OC would be blessed by a Balinese High Priestess! Certainly not me and I am truly truly touched.

So here is the good news.

1) The cancer is out of my body! (cue: polite applause)
2) They got a clean margin! (cue: bigger applause)
3) Out of the 14 lymph nodes they removed -- only 1 has evidence of cancer and the cancer in that 1 lymph node is teeeeeeeny tiny. (o.3mm) (cue: thunderous applause)

So what does this all mean:

While I am technically cancer free (cue: CHEERING!) -- I will need to have chemotherapy. The type and the dosage are currently being discussed. But later in the week Mike and I will go to chemo school so we will know all about it. Not joking about this it is actually what it is called.

It also means that I will be part of hormone therapy (we knew this because my cancer is ER/PR positive.) Again the specific type and length TBA.

Quite possibly I will need post chemotherapy radiation. Because even though the brilliant surgeon Dr. Quilici got all of the cancer out of me there was some cancer very close to the chest wall.

Additionally I may take part in a clinical trial.
So there is a lot more to come in this adventure.

That being said, the news received was fantastic.
Sure we would have liked to hear that out of the 14 nodes taken none had cancer but come on folks 1 out of 14 -- that is pretty frickin' awesome.

The hospital stay as Mike mentioned earlier in what has to be the longest single post in blog in history was pleasant and made truly special by the outpouring of love and support -- The visits: All the folks mentioned above who stayed through surgery to see me safe and somewhat awake in my hospital room and came back at various times during the next few days, Steve W. (who I remember at the foot of my bed Thursday evening post surgery), Nelly, My darling Sully boy, Joel (BIL), Nicole G., Joyce & Nicole P., Yulia, Joelle, Jackson, Dr. Gerard, Dr. Koopersmith, Dr. Mena, Dr. Berkowitz, Dr. McVay, Dr. Chen, Rabbi Jim -- thank you all.

To my sleepover buddies who made me feel secure and handled every single need no matter how big or small so that Mike could be home with Sully to give the little guy that sense of security and consistency that he needed. Beck who I was quite talkative with Thursday evening and who not only entertained me but had a sing-along with one of the nurses and Juls who I think I uttered 8 words to during the course of our sleepover Friday night. Not quite like the slumber parties of our past but ladies from the bottom of our hearts (Mike and I) thank you for being able to be there for both of us.

And again to my beloved husband.
A ray of sunshine as he entered my room each time -- always asking what could he do to make me comfortable and to help me. What a lucky lady I am to have found such a truly special soul.

It is great to be home and back in touch with all of you.
We will keep you posted as we continue to learn about what is ahead of us.
In the meantime thank you for the phone calls, emails, visits, trinkets and goodies.
And for continuing to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We are blessed to know you and you are making my healing that much easier.

Ancora Imparo
M & M


Juls said...

I was wondering when the lonely blog was getting a little TLC. Oh, I'm SO stinking excited at the test results. That's beyond fabulous, fantastic AND awesome. Yeah, chemo will still suck but hopefully since the tests were so positive perhaps it won't be so invasive as we all know it can be. I'm no doctor and I don't play one on TV either but that's my uninformed hope. Off to pass along the news to my blog. I have inquiring minds that want to know the update.

I love you all SO much and you know I'm every single minute if you need.

Aaron said...

Marla & Mike,

Wow, what a great update! 1 out of 14 is fabulous. Not to minimize the seriousness of the road ahead, but its great news. Marla, your spirit, strength, optimism and resolve are coming through loud and clear!

Thanks for keeping us all posted, and I know that this is just the first of many answered prayers.

Aaron W

Anonymous said...

After that long vacuum of silence...what a GLORIOUS report!! We think of you many times each day, and all continue to hope, pray, worry, curse, cry, laugh and try hard to remember that "This is the day that the Lord hath made...Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

With more love and concern than we can ever express.

Marilyn, Fred and Betty

Anonymous said...

Great news! Wish I was there to give you all a HUGE HUG! Much love, Vincent

Nick Nack said...

Thanks for the update and the continual courage, strength and humor you both give all of us! Sending you BIG, BIG love and umpteen hugs of support!
xo Nicole

Anonymous said...

Great News!!!!
We're so happy that it was just in the one node!! We've been holding our breath up here.
So glad recovery is going smoother now and that you guys had so much support at the hospital.

Thanks for the update.


Steve & Terrah

joyce said...

Did you hear the entire Grant family cheering for the Zacks when we read the latest blog...all the way from Northridge we were shouting.."Give a yell, give a yell, give a big substantial yell, cause when we yell we yell like hell and this is what we yell...alemein alemein, alemendiego, lox and bagels, ishka pishka, hit em in the kishka, hokus pokus try and chokus...YAY ZACKS....heir zogs zooo...THANK YOU!!!!" Thank you for the incredible, uplifting news, for keeping all those who love you in the loop thru this wonderful blog and for including us in saying "GOOD BYE CANCER!!!" The next part of this journey will be conquered with the same spirit and energy that has gotten you to this place...and we continue to love and support you all, endlessly and sincerely!!!

PS Marla, I am not sure if the words were correct but I hope that old camp cheer put a smile on your face!

joyce said...

Just back to send more hugs, kisses and everlasting support!!! We check the blog several times a day!!!! Always want you to know that a day does not pass without thoughts of you and positive energy being sent your way!!!