Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Okay, so to answer a question from my cousin and so many people like her, why haven't they removed the tumor already?

I may not be able to answer it clearly, but it was a question I had to. When they explained it, it made sense, but when I try to explain it....not much sense is going on there. And, with that, here you go:

They haven't removed the tumor yet because they were trying to contain the cancer from spreading further. Also, the size of the tumor presented somewhat of a problem with removal so they were trying to shrink it first, which it has. Furthermore (this is how my doc put it), cancer is like a dandelion where when you blow on it the little white seedlings spread everywhere all of your grass and place little seedlets. Having the chemo first will kill off all of those little seedlets and prevent them from sprouting new dandelions. That is how he put it. I think he might have that metaphor patent pending so nobody better try and reuse it. You might have to pay him a royalty. Kind of like how 7-eleven owned the patent for the word "slushy." No joke. I learned that a long time ago.

I know....useless information.

Anyway, I go for another PET Scan tomorrow to determine when they want to perform the surgery. If things look good then they might not have to wait for the 8th treatment of chemo to do the surgery. Oh, I will still have to have many, many more treatments but at least they can get "Up Chuck" as my mom named it, out!

I spent the night in the hospital last night. My red blood cell count was low last week so they told me to go get some blood drawn on Memorial Day so they could verify the need for a transfusion. My blood measured just above the need for a transfusion so they decided to give me a shot instead that would help boost the count. I started to have chest (heart) pain so I called the Dr.'s office to see what I should do. They instructed me to go to the ER to have my blood checked again and to make sure I didn't have a blood clot or something like that. I went in and after several tests, they confirmed that there were no clots roaming around. The chest pain was a side effect of the shot they gave me. However, my red blood cell count had plummeted again and they were going to keep me overnight for a transfusion. Yea! This meant that hopefully my dizziness would subside. After 2 units of blood, I am back home and feeling pretty good. They said it did bring my counts back up but not all the way so I would probably still feel tired. True, but the dizziness has gone away.

Enough of me.

My son was having a rough day the other day. He needed a haircut so I asked him if I could cut it. He said, "Like mommy's?" I said, "Sure!"

After going as short as 1/2" he felt his head and said, "No mommy, is not done!" So I went down to 1/4". Still, no satisfaction. Finally, I took it all off he was happy. I included some pictures of his happy bald head. I, of course, think he looks adorable. I asked Drue if she wanted to join. She still doesn't want to. She and Ethan are the only ones who remain behind, but it won't be long before we shave Ethan too. Poor Drue. The only one in the family with a full head of hair. What's wrong with that picture?

Thank you again, for all your love, thoughts, prayers and support. I love you all very much!


(Can anyone tell me how I add your blog to my blog? I am still learning.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mom's Point of View

I decided it is my turn to give you an update from my point of view.
Paige, Sona, little E Mac and I went to Las Vegas for a day of R & R. Okay maybe not so much. We did shop until I was ready to drop. I think the pregnant one and the one with cancer did better than me. Ugh! We really did have a good time. It was just really nice to get away and leave the real world behind for a day. But reality set in again when we was walking back to my car and Paige said, "Mom, you have a flat." I proceeded to check out the tires on the stroller that was supporting me. Nope. No flat. She then said, "Mom, YOU have a flat." I knew for sure she was not talking about my belly but thought she was referring to my lack of energy while trying to navigate the slight incline into the parking garage. Nope. She was referring to the back rear tire on my car! Great! Here I am with a pregnant woman, one with cancer and a new baby, and me too old and too tired too even think about it! Lucky for us a very good Samaritan came along and noticed our dilemma and changed our tire for us. WHEW! That was really a close one. The only down side of having a flat tire in Vegas with a nice long drive home, is that when you put a donut spare on you can only drive 50 mph! That made the trip home even longer.....almost 4 hours! But what would a trip of any kind be without a little adventure?
So now for more on the chemo follow-up. It seems to get a little harder with each chemo for Paige. She gets such an awful headache each time. And this time she was much more nauseated and weak. Last weekend she hit a temperature of 102 when she is not supposed to go over 100.5 so that was just a little unnerving. But it was managed very nicely with the antibiotics and Tylenol. Since then she has been doing pretty darn good. On Tuesday she and Sona brought the kids over to my house and we took them down to the new Rec. Center swimming. We had a good time and the kids all had a blast. Paige took Drue and Jake down the BIG hydro tube a couple of times. I tell you, if you didn't know better you would never know she has this pesky disease.
I told her she should name her tumors "UP" and "Chuck". That just says it all! We are so happy that "Chuck" is shrinking!
Well tomorrow is chemo #4 so we'll post more later.
My personal thanks to all of Paige's neighbor's, ward members, and friends that have given so much of their time to help Paige and Josh and the family. I can never thank all of you enough. Also to our families for all of the help, the love, and the support you have shown and continue to show every day.
I love you all!

Mary Lee

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This is Ethan....trying to fill his drawers. Lovely, eh?

I have decided the world would be better off without hair. I am discovering how easy my life is without it. I think you all need to try it at least once. Think of the cost you save on shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, getting your hair done once every 3-4 months, any hair products. Also, the shower time is cut in half! No shaving, shampooing. Just in and out! No hair to do in the morning. It is also not as hot! Truly, if any of you are on the fence about shaving your head, I say....go for it! I have been trying to convince my daughter now for weeks but she is still too scared to. Tsk! Tsk! There would be no passing of judgement when you run into that old highschool friend that still has their graduation haircut. You wouldn't have to nudge your husband or friend when someone walked by with "the Claw" on their head from 1989. Ahhhhh.......just think of the possibilities!

All is well here. I had a bit of a fever this weekend but I was put on antibiotics and tylenol. Since, I have been fine.

The good news? My tumor has shrunk 2 centimeters! Yep! I am now down to 3 centimeters. This calls for celebration.

I am going in for my fourth chemo this Friday. Josh and I fill our Thursday nights like it is New Years Eve. We pull out the junk food and throw on a movie. It is our last chance to have a good time before the blech.

This last picture is of the airplane cake I made for Josh on his birthday back in April. Oh no. Not little Josh. My husband. Yep. He loved it. If any of you out there are bakers or cake decorators, I would love some tips. This sad little thing didn't last for the candles to go out. It still tasted good though and that is all that matters!
I love all your comments and I love hearing from you.

Thanks for all you do!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I just realized that in my last blog, when I said, "This one hasn't been a good one," it made it sound like my 3rd child. You all must be sarcastically thinking what a great mom I am. Let me clarify that I meant my 3rd chemo. My 3rd child has actually been really really good. He sleeps most the night and my other children, as always, are wonderful.
Thanks again!

Monday, May 12, 2008

3rd round

These are the little ones! I love 'em!
Well, this one hasn't really been a fun one....then again, which ones are? I guess it is payback for never getting morning sickness with any of my pregnancies. I have never known such nausea. The food, babysitting and support from ward members keeps me on track. Josh keeps trying to force feed me.....not happening. I do love fruit though. Mmmmmm. It is the only thing that really sounds good to me after a fun pumping chemo day!
Here is more of my journal:

From there, everything kind of happened in a whirl wind. Over the course of the next week and half I would undergo 2 surgeries, the birth of my baby, and my first chemo treatment. How exciting eh?
The tumor measures about 5 centimeters. The following surgery on Monday was to test my lymph nodes. The removed 2 and one tested positive so they removed 10 more and about half tested positive. Not too bad. They kept me overnight in the hospital. They thought the anesthetics would induce labor, which they started to but then it stopped. My doc decided to keep me in there anyway and induce me the next morning. At 12:56 p.m. on April 1 I had a beautiful baby boy. Ethan Mac weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz. and was 18 and a half inches long. Not bad for 2 weeks early!
On thursday I had a PET Scan which showed that there was no distant metastisis but that the cancer had spread a little to underneath my arm.
With tumor size and PET Scan this classifies the cancer as a Stage III. Not too bad, in my opinion.

The rest is history. I had Port put in on Friday April 11 and they wheeled me down to the oncologist for my first poison injection. I now undergo chemo every 2 weeks until they decide that the tumor is small enough to remove.
That is another story in itself and I don't want to bore anyone, but hopefully this answers some questions I seem to keep getting.
Again, I appreciate all the love and support.....I cannot say it enough. Thank you!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I just wanted to let you all know that I read each and everyone of your comments. They are so uplifting to me and make me giggle. Thank you for all the support of shaved heads and donations to locks of love. I think it is awesome.
This is the 2nd day after my 3rd chemo treatment. I have to honestly say that this one has been the least pleasant.
I don't think I have mentioned her on this blog yet but I met a lady, Karen Esplin at my first treatment who is a wonderful inspiration to me. We have set all our chemo's to coincide. It makes it fun to have her there. She is uplifting and spiritual which brings a good spirit not only to me but to everyone in that room.
Here is another portion of my journal:
This is dated on March 25:

I made the Doctor apointment with Karen Tormey on Tuesday, March25. I explained everything to the doc and expected her to agree that is was just a clogged milk duct. She did. But she wanted to bring her ultrasound machine in to confirm. A few minutes later she came in with the machine. She finally concluded that it was a little abnormal and she needed to perform a few more tasks to come to a conclusion.
She wanted to see if she could extract some milk through a needle to confirm this belief of a clogged milk duct. She informed me that she was first going to use a “smaller” needle and then if that didn’t work, she would use a larger one. The “smaller” needle was not small. I hate needles. I can tolerate them when I am pregnant with all the blood tests and everything but I usually just don’t watch. This supposedly smaller needle was, now I might be exaggerating but I swear to be true, about 1 ½” to 2” in just the needle length.
I felt the pinch and winced. Nothing came out. Crap! Now I had to see the larger needle.
This time she said she would numb me a bit so I didn’t feel the pain. By this time the anxiety started to set. This time she came back in with he nurse, a tray, some equipment and anesthetics.She proceeded to take 3 or 4 (I cant really remember) specimen from the larger lump and 1 from the smaller one.
She informed me that results would be back from pathology in about 4 days. She told me it could be one of two things. Either a lactating adenoma, a benign tumor which pregnant women occasionally get and eventually disappears or it could be cancer. But I knew that it was going to be the first mentioned. How could it not be.
I picked up my son from the waiting room and went on my way.
I honestly didn’t think anything of it.
The following Thursday started off pretty normal.
At 11:30 a.m. I got the phone call. It was Dr. Tormey. She asked how I was recovering from the needles. I told her a little bruised and tender but that was okay. She immediately got to the point.
“I got the results back from your biopsy…”
“Really?” I said. “That was quick.”
She than told me that they tested positive for cancer.
“You’re kidding….” Yeah. Like a doctor is going to call you and tell you have breast cancer and then say, “Just kidding!”
“How? I am only 28?!” I could feel the panic and anxiety start to set in. What do I do? How far a long am I?
I asked her what happens next. She told me that she would set up a meeting with an oncologist and asked if I had a preference. She told me of two and I just told her to pick one. I didn’t have any idea. She chose for me a Dr. Robert Lemon. She also told me that she had called my OBGYN and informed him. They would collectively decide what plan of action to take including the birth of my unborn child. She calmly told me to call my husband and mom and whatever support group I needed. Then we hung up.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Okay. So in the beginning I had hair. This is my headshot I paid good money for last fall from a professional photographer so I could have something more updated and professional looking when I auditioned for my shows....mostly at Tuacahn, the only professionally run Equity theatre company in St. George. Well, I auditioned this year but didn't get in. Obviously that is all moot now. But what do I do with these headshots? Do you think someone could photoshop out my hair? Would that make it more realistic? So, here is my first journal entry. I will try to edit them to be short. I don't want to bore anyone:

This is dated on march 28, 2008.

I am not a writer. I feel compelled to journal my thoughts but I hate writing on paper. So, I am not writer in 2 senses. I don’t literally like to write….it hurts my finger; and, I am not a writer. I don’t paint these beautiful pictures for the readers to imagine up. I am not colorful with my words. This is simply going to be my thoughts, feeling and emotions conveyed on this computer I am typing on.

About a month ago I notice a small lump in my right breast. I didn’t think anything of it. You see, when you are pregnant and even as far a long as I am, you attribute everything to the pregnancy. Every ache, pain, fatigue, etc.. I attributed the lump to a clogged milk duct, although, I had never had one before with any of my other pregnancies or nursing lapses. As the weeks went on, I got more and more tired. Again, third pregnancy, I am older….what else could it be? But, then I noticed something. I noticed that, quite plainly, something just wasn’t right. I was starting to worry. Worry that my baby was going to be healthy and safe. I stopped gaining weight. My uterus wasn’t growing and the fatigue became extremely overwhelming. Now, I don’t know if any of those has to do with my diagnosis, but these were just feelings I was experiencing. My OBGYN decided to do an ultrasound to make sure the baby was okay. Happily, everything was… why did I still feel this fear that something wasn’t right.
About two weeks after I felt the initial lump, I was sitting down for the evening, after the kids had been put to bed, and noticed that the lump was slightly larger. This concerned me so I mentioned it this time to my husband. I felt it and agreed that is was still probably a clogged milk duct. I reminded myself to ask my doc about it next time I went in. Did I remember? Nope!

That's all I have for now. Thanks everyone!

My first blog!

Okay, so I am really new at this blog thing. My family is trying to keep it updated for everyone but I also agreed that I would do my best to keep it updated as well. Let me first and foremost thank everyone for all the calls, emails, cards, love, prayers, and support. It has been awesome. I have truly gained a stronger testimony because of it.
I go in for my 3rd treatment today....blech! But, the good side is that I get to keep up on my emails, knitting and journaling.
My whole life I have been blessed with my mother's hair and my dad's hairline. My mom has really fine flat hair. It doesn't hold curl or really do anything for that matter. My dad had a serious case of male pattern baldness by the time he was 30. No, I wasn't bald, but that left me with an extremely high forehead and hair that was about as desiccated as a toupee.
When I was a teenager, I would joke around with my best friend Casey. We would put a bandana or a scarf on my head and pull it back just to the ridge of my hair line. Because that line was so high it looked like I was bald. I would turn to Casey and say, "Look Casey, I am a cancer patient."
I know. Pretty insensitive. I was a teeneager, eh? We all did and said stupid things back then. At least mine wasn't directed to anyone specific....right?
Well, I find it ironic and almost comical that over 10 years later and the joke has been backfired. I actually laugh at the satire. Who wouldn't? Hopefully you laugh too as you read that story. If you don't....stop being such a cynic!
I have been journaling this whole process. I know I have been getting a lot of questions on how I got to this point. I will share some of my journal entries. It is just a lot easier for me. They tell of the whole legend. From when I spotted the nasty little lump (which I am considering naming so I am open to suggestions) and its sidekick (another littler lump to the side of the larger one.....also open for names?) to where I am at in my treatments today. Please be patient. I will do my best. I am not sure if there is a universal law to blogging. Any expert bloggers out there will have to give me a manual on blogger etiquette.
Thank you again!
I love you all! Mwah!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Paige Update

This is my "post-chemo #2" update. Paige had chemo again on April 25th. She was much better going into it this time because she hadn't just had surgery. All in all it went about as smooth as a session of chemo can go. It lasted close to 4 hours this time. Then the next 4 - 5 days were not so fun again. Pain, nausea, cold, lack of appetite, sores in mouth, tender scalp, dry skin, and oh falling out. Other than that, all is well.
Seriously, Paige and Josh are real troopers! Even as misreable as Paige gets for these days, she is always optimistic and trys to be up-beat. Don't get me wrong, she has her down times but they seem to be few and far between. I am so proud of them both and the love they show to one another all of the time. Drue and mini Josh are big helpers too........ah.....hmmmmm! They like to hold little Ethen Mac and feed him and mother him and kiss on him alot! They really are great little kids!
On the Sunday after her chemo, because her hair was beginning to vacate the premis, Dave and I went over to take pictures while Paige shaved Josh's head then he shaved hers. What a beautiful act of love they shared. I must say, Josh looks really good with his head shaved and it is finally starting to get tan. And Paige looks absolutely beautiful! Not many woman can look as great as she does with no hair! She wears a hat or scarves when she goes out and even at home to keep her head warm. She wears her wig occasionally but says it bothers her so she prefers hats and scarves until she gets more used to it. But any way you look at her I think you would agree that she really looks beautiful!
On Monday, Sona, Paige and I are going to Las Vegas and do a little shopping and have lunch. We are looking forward to this little change of events. In the meantime, Paige has been going to the Gym and to her Hip Hop class to keep some normalcy in her life.
She truly is one in a million....billion....trillion....well, you get the point.
Thank you again for all of the love and for all of your prayers and concern. Please keep it all coming, you can't imagine how much it helps all of us as a family!
My love to you all........Mary Lee