February 16, 2020

Retooling The Project

Things are starting to come together. 

Back in 2001 when I started my own black folder it was out of necessity because it was after 9-11 and and I was flying a lot for work back then. 

In 2012 when I thought of The Black Folder Project as something for others to experience it was before it's time. 

When I got breast cancer in 2019 and daily could have died, it was like a fire was lit.  I just kept thinking...are people kidding themselves?  Tomorrow is not promised, face it, enjoy each day but get your affairs in order. 

Today I picked-up the book A Beginner's Guide to the End and realize it's an idea whose time has come. Folks are finally ready to be practical about death and stop pretending it's not going to happen. 

Moving forward with turning the shop into a place for those who are ready to clean up their affairs and not leave their family a mess when they leave. Moving forward...

January 29, 2020

January 2020 - Radiation

Radiology Marking Session

Meet with Dr. Amin again and he again was amazing. Walked in and was happy that I had had a complete response to chemo and no positive lymph nodes.  He was as happy as if a family member had gotten that result.  It was genuine and interesting because that happens to be Riverside's logo: "To care for others as we would care for those we love."  He was a living example of that.

He told me that because of my results from chemo and surgery that I would only have to have treatment for 4 weeks and not 6 weeks...so only 21 days.  I CAN DO THIS!

His nurse was EXCELLENT. Friendly, happy, smiling just so pleasant that it reversed my "can't find parking for 10 minutes" horrible experience.

January 7, 2020

December 2019 Post Op Surgery Appt

Post Op Appointment

I had an appointment with the surgeon as a post follow up to surgery. When Dr. Times walked in the room he said: "I understand that you already have the good news."  I told him that I had because the oncologist had told me that all the cancer was gone prior to surgery and that only scar tissue remained. The surgeon also confirmed that no lymph nodes were involved.

This was all great news. The best!

I thanked him and told him he was awesome.  He asked me to let the oncologist know the he thought she was awesome because her regiment of drugs had successfully killed the cancer. I told him that I will and I will! I'm so grateful to both of them...so grateful!

He examined me and we talked about the scar and soreness that I still felt in my arm and chest. He said it will eventually go away. I asked him about the documentation that I needed to return to work and they provided it.

December 2019 Oncology Appointment - Pathologic Complete Response

Appt With The Doctor

Finally I had an appointment with the doctor. My last several appointments have been with the nurse. Doctor Tian is great!  So glad she is my doctor. She did not have the pathology results yet from the surgery so we talked about next steps if there was remaining cancer found during surgery. I would have to take pills for a couple of months.  If there was no remaining cancer found I would not need to take the pills.

The Port Removal

I asked her why I needed to leave the port in and when I could get it out and she said because she needed to see the pathology report and because if my cancer is coming back it is coming back in two years. She "recommends" leaving it in for 2 years!  I told her that is NOT preferable but we will take it one steps at a time depending on the results.  Until removal I'll have to get the port flushed every 6 weeks...good grief!

Friday, December 13th Day of Surgery

My Day of Surgery Is Finally Here

This is the day I have been trying to get to for 7 months! 


The night before you have to take a shower with Dial Antibacterial Soap, not eat anything after 12 and sleep on clean sheets. The next morning you have to take another shower with the Dial soap...and then you  are ready.

Pre-Op Procedures

Pre-op was PAINFUL! The first nurse had a hard time finding a vein for the IV. Painful!  She couldn't figure it out and decided to wait until I came back from the Women's Unit.

Before the lumpectomy they wheeled me half-way across the hospital (in a wheel chair - in a hospital gown) to the Women's Unit to:

1. Have them do a "Sentinel Node Mapping" by putting 4 needles in my nipple of dye that would travel to the 2-3 lymph nodes the surgeon needed to remove in order to check to make sure the cancer had not spread beyond the breast. It was PAINFUL! 

2. Have them do a "ultrasound-guided wire localization" by putting 2 wires (metal looking wires)  in my breast tissue to put a frame around the mass that the surgeon had to remove. The nipple needles were painful but the wires were TORTURE!  They were using an ultrasound to figure out where to put the needles and couldn't quite see where it should go so it was a lot of back and forth. The doctor doing it kept apologizing. He was a nice man doing a painful procedure.

It was helpful that I knew the ladies from the Women's Unit.  They were the same ones who did my mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy back in May. I was happy too see them and again they had done this hundreds of times so knew it was painful.  One of them gave me her hand to squeeze to blunt the pain for those two procedures (as she does this and I'm squeezing her hand I think about creating something to sell to the hospitals like a stress ball) ...then they tell me...