Saturday, October 20, 2007

AMP is still home

AMP's first evening went smoothly, pleasantly, and uneventfully. We are surrounded by beautiful flowers, community love and support, and the salivating promises of food dishes and exotic treats to come. We will need some company/coverage over the first week that AMP is home. We will need help during the following time periods:

Tuesday 10/23
Morning – covered
Wednesday 10/24
Morning - covered
Afternoon - covered
Evening - covered
Thursday 10/25
Evening - covered
Friday 10/26
Morning - covered
Evening - covered

Just because certain time periods are covered doesn't mean we wouldn't welcome a visit and aditional help. Sometimes too many cooks are an enhancement

Friday, October 19, 2007

AMP is home

AMP is home and is comfortably sitting in the living room eating chicken lentil soup prepared by Val, started by Tim, dear old friends. Everything feels good and hopeful. AMP looks like she just came back from a weekend at a spa. So if you wish to visit, I recommend visiting soon or else she might have to visit her at work.

Departure is imminent

As I blog, AMP is changing into her civies and we will be leaving the hospital shortly. AMP is doing wonderfully. Outside of the mishap with doctor-accountant, the only other problem we encountered was trying to order and upgrade cellphones and try to get the online alleged deals that were advertised. So please call email to say hello and let us know when you are planning to visit.

Will she or won't she

It has been three days since AMP was admitted and I imagine you are wondering when she will be going home. She has the option of leaving today, leaving tomorrow morning, or staying through tomorrow evening when they will be serving Santa Maria Tri Tip for dinner. What do you think AMP will do? Whoever guesses correctly will win a bundle of pastries from Joan's and all other pastries that haven't been eaten.
btw - am hoping I get out in time to be home to see my friend Paul Jacque's band on tv tonight on a decent screen and ok sound system - this one in the hospital truly sucks. His band "Honkystomp" is vying to be THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN BAND on Fox TV tonight at 8.

Here I am hoping to get out of the hospital early to watch Fox TV - what has my life come to??!!


ok - this place gets better all the time! Actually, they are treating me very well here at St. Joe's. There was really just one doctor (accountant)from the medical group (HMO) who came in the day after my evening surgery, reiterated that I had been slated for discharge that morning and then ordered my Vicodin cut in half. Since then my own surgeon (or his clones, rather ;-} ) have been in and have been very caring and concerned. It became more a matter of finding which meds would help rather than hurt the process. Now , just making sure the pain and nausea are really down and a few other issues that I'd save for a time when more scatological humor would in be order. Later -

Having a good time now

Nick took this a day or two ago - as you can tell it's a real laff/riot up here at St. Joe's! Larry and Nina just showed up, so the fun continues . . . more later -thanks for all the wonderful posts and comments- it keeps me smiling!
- love amp

To Depart or not to depart

Hopefully today is departure day. The pain has really been painful and pain management is critical. We won't know whether AMP will be ready to leave till later this morning/afternoon. In the meantime calls to 213-272-3391, emails, and blogments are welcome.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Enjoying Burbank for yet another day

Hello all - Well, there was I - begging for an extra ovenight, and now it seems they just won't let me leave. I've been helping all the nurses check my vitals and fixing their web and email issues, so I just might have to break out.

Actually - things are getting better. Had a lot of pain yesterday and the meds made me ill, so the surgeon thought I should hang out one more day. So - a few more laps around the 7th floor and I should be good to go tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Planning for the immediate future

To the best of our knowledge AMP will be discharged from the hospital tomorrow morning, ready or not. At this moment both the HMO and AMP are on the same page. Hospitals are not happy places, eventhough this one is across the street from the Disney studio. Recovering is no easy process, even for individuals as capable as AMP. Managing the pain is a challenge,made much worse by arbitrary medical decisions like cutting the vicodin in half. Tension followed as we waited for the doctor from Lakeside who Larry has aptly called doctor-accountant to respond to a page from nursing. Three hour later no response. We had to push the nursing staff to their chagrin to page other physicians to override the doctor-accountant. AMP was understandably pissed as was I.

We will be contacting all you wonderful friends to enlist your aid over the next few days, weeks, how about years. We thought a random system where we will place your names in a basket and blindly pick names as we need help. Alternatively we thought of asking you for your strengths so that we can maximize your effectiveness and our benefit. We will keep you posted.

The morning after

AMP continues to do well and look well. She is eating, walking, and even had a taste of a cannoli. She is still in pain, a little naseous, still on morphine and still making the dopey jokes. However i do recommend that you ask her to tell her joke about Nina and the chinese boyfiend.

I would like to share an image of healing that came to AMP while she was getting a massage the morning before her surgery. She imagined two breasts that softly fused into one breast that became a third eye. This image dissolved leaving only the eyelash that became the scar of the mastectomy.

back to pragmatics - AMP should be home tomorrow.

The never-ending night

AMP is awake despite massive doses of morphine. I am curled up in a chiropractic twist on a recliner that can never fully recline. I am there to be supportive of AMP who is in a great mood, save for her desire to sleep as I periodically nod off. The nursing staff was kind. AMP's pain for the most part was adequately treated with morphine. Now its morning I left the hospital to try to sleep a little, leaving AMP still awake, but hopefully on the verge. The sleepness restless nights takes nothing from my joy at the outcome of the surgery. I am sure that AMP would love visitors. To minimize the flood, please call her cell phone 213-272-3389. Thanks for all your suppport.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

AMP says hello

AMP is out of recovery as opposed and doing greattttt! The jellow is delicious, my family is delicious, I am happy about the nodes. I am doped up, and not sodopey I can't make dopey jokes. Life is a plastic cup of jello.

The good news continues

I just spoke with the plastic surgeon. All these doctors think I am a Piersimoni. If the news wasn't so good I would be upset. The plastic surgeon said that the tissue expanders surgery went well. When I asked him what that meant, he said it was a good surgery. This means there were no problems during the procedure. He seemed pleased and so I stopped my questioning. I got the impression that further questioning would have pointless. He did say that AMP will be sent home tomorrow. I was surprised. Door to door this means that AMP will have been in hospital less than 24 hours. Wow!

The Good News

I am totally pleased to announce that the double mastectomy has been completed and the surgeon says it went well. At this stage there is no cancer in the lymph nodes which is the best news that we have received in along time. AMP is still in surgery, the second proccedure which should last at least another hour. The plastic surgeon is installing tissue expanders. We might have a bionic amp in our lives, sounds formidable.

the waiting

AMP was taken to surgery around 4pm. She was calm, more calm than I have ever seen her (and this was before they started the IV) She looked young and beautiful. It was difficult for me to say goodbye. And now the wait.

Greetings from Beautiful Downtown Burbank

I mean - really - can you believe NBC is moving? Turncoats.

Anyway - It's a lovely day and I'm all decked out in my hospital finest waiting for the fun to start. My dear husband is with me until he can't be any longer and we're finding blogging a lot more rewarding than watching commercials for junk food on an empty stomach (ok - mine is empty).

Mostly just wanted to send a note of appreciation for all the lovely calls, emails, cards and posts - I feel truly surrounded by love and light and goodness of family, friends, colleagues and community and I know it will get me through this -

just wish they'd get on with it already . . .


The Afternoon of

We have arrived and checked in to St Joseph's, quite a contrast to the Bacara, a 5 star resort outside of Santa Barbara that we spent one extravagant night at over the weekend, but not that dissimilar to Nordstroms, if you measure a place by the piano music in the lobby. (Something for you visitors to look forward to) We are waiting. I confess that this is the first time that I've ever blogged which leads me to the belief that blogging and waiting are two passionately connected activites. Now to the important stuff - We are still waiting...AMP is looking special in her hospital gown and I am blogging and waiting. Will keep you posted

Morning of

Well, doing my best to keep busy and not eat or drink anything, even water until 4pm. I did try to muscle my way into a "penthouse" suite on the 7th floor in the new building at St. Joe's, but was told - no -surprise - that it "depends on availability." Here I was thinking I'd be entitled to the jacuzzi room with a big-screen, High-Def TV and the new Wolfgang Puck line of hospital cuisine. Looks like it'll be Netflix and my laptop.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Night Before Surgery

Everything that can be done has been done. There is nothing left to do, but sleep and awaken. Given the difficulty of tomorrow the house is remarkably calm. AMP is wonderful, masterful, and special and courageous. AMP is love. We are surrounded by a sea of love.

My favortie movie

nobody seemed to know I posted this, but either way, whether this is really my favorite movie is debatable in my own mind , but I wanted to do one that was on the AFI list and a big one . . . so this is what I wrote a while back when we first created AFI's favorite movie blog - and oh, yes - I borrowed the image - so sue me.

make sure you look for a "brooks' author

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,

My Blog Is Here

Stay tuned!