Monday, October 15, 2007

Friends & Family Update Letter = First Post

Hello all - many of you have already seen the letter below, but it seemed apropos of a first post since it really tells the story pretty succinctly. Other than that, all I have to say right now is that the title of this blog was inspired by the American Film Institute by way of Mr. Todd Hughes (the man, the mind, the office clutter) Larry and I are co-authors and one of us will post all the new news that is fitting. We invite you to comment, but mostly this is a good place to look if you haven't heard from us in a while

so, here goes - This is the letter I sent to friends and family on October 11, 2007, once I finally knew my surgery date . . . and so it begins.

Dear friends and family -

Well - the verdict is in:

Double Mastectomy on Tuesday October 16 - check in at 12N Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank

I'll probably be in the hospital for 1 or 2 nights, recovering at home anywhere from 2 - 6 weeks, maybe driving in a month, working from home sometime before that, doing a little light yoga and bungy-jumping by week 8.

Officially I have been diagnosed with a combination of invasive ductal and tubular-lobular carcinoma. The good news is that we think it has been found early, it's very small and has favorable markers for treatment. The bad news is that it's all about location, location LOCATIONS - there are multiple locations - it is a multi-focal disease - meaning there is not a lot of study and literature on it. "I'm special" as my oncologist put it (take that, Chrissie Hynde!). It also means that there are many places from which these little devils may launch and create more havoc. Therefore, a more aggressive treatment may be indicated than would normally be done for either ductal or lobular cancer with favorable markers. sigh.

I've seen 3 oncologists and 3 surgeons, a radiation specialist and a plastic surgeon. I've done my homework and feel comfortable with my doctors and St. Joe's, which is also close to home. So, it's been a long time getting to this point since the original suspect mammo of july 26th, but well worth taking the time to question and learn - tell your friends and neighbors. As many of you know, I was originally slated for a lumpectomy of a single lesion on the left, until an MRI which I requested presented all the different spots. Who knew my multi-tasking would lead to multi-focal. Was it the stress?

After Tuesday, email my dear husband Larry, cc'd above or call him at 818-243-0839. In the next few days, we will also set-up some phone trees and a blog or other web-based notification system, so we won't have to e-blast all the time and junk up your in-boxes. I know, I've been saying that for a while, but the diagnostic process has taken up much of my priorities - in fact, Larry has compared this ordeal to a ride at Raging Waters - you know - waiting in long, an excruciatingly long, slow line in the hot sun - then you get to the top and whooooosh!

Anyway - now it's time to do that and we will. We will also post a few numbers of friends you can call besides Larry as he may need help in handling them.

So - that's my story and I'm sticking to it - "fortunately, unfortunately" - as one of my favorite artist/authors, Remy Charlip might put it - in fact his book of that title would make a great template for this cancer story, for all cancer stories.

Thank you all for your love, positive thoughts, shoulders to cry on, walls to bang, prayers, chants, cards, letters and just for being here.

All my love,


cheryl revkin said...

Hi--I can't believe you're emailing and possibly going home tomorrow! All signs (esp the early lymph node report) are pointing towards a perfect recovery. Seems like you're surfacing so well from "the plunge" (as Larry put it) into all of this. Much Love!!!!


Hi AnnaMarie-Lisa called last night to tell us the good news that no lymph nodes have been affected after Larry called her. I've passed on the good news to the Savoca's & Monetta's which is the least we can do and will continue. I can't believe you are already on the computer and contacting everyone so quickly. You are already on speed dial after surgery. You are an incredible and wonderful lady. So the hospital is getting tired of you and wants to throw you out already?? The hospitals just loves the company, don't they. I've looked at some of the blogs (1st time I'm blogging) and it's great to read everyone's comments. So you think that people like you, yeh. They have good taste in people. Keep the comments coming. This could turn into a book. Who knows, maybe down the road... Hugs and kisses from Joslyn and Darryl, too. Love ya,

Unknown said...

Anna Marie,
Well, this seems like a rather extreme action to take just to get some morphine. And yes, I'm sure you're funny on drugs, just as you've always had a absurdist view of the world that inevitably made me laugh. We look forward to seeing you as soon as you can have visitors and expect to be properly entertained with AMP's Daily Report of hospitals.
Peter and Marcy

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