Recovery Requires Teamwork

The last time I had anything to post on this site was about rising gas prices and oddly enough as I sit here this morning a Weather Channel spokesman is informing all of those on the east coast to fill their tanks today as the pump you normally use may be either inoperative or out of gas in the very near future as Hurricane SANDY approaches the northeast.  While SANDY predicts to be a storm of extraordinary proportions for those along the east coast there’ll be aircraft full of San Francisco Giants heading west out of Monroe County in Michigan today with thousands expected to be waiting for them at San Francisco International upon their improbable and heroic four game sweep of the Detroit Lions and winning the World Series last night.  Under the glow of the full moon, I walked outside last night to rejoice with the locals and the park across the street was absolutely filled with smoke from neighbors rejoicing with their own fireworks.  Though we’re not Giants fans per se, watching them claw their way through each of the playoff rounds leading up to the World Series was truly impressive.  TEAMWORK has always been a mindset of mine and I’ll use that to segway into Bonnie’s status … ¶ Our home has become an insulated safety blanket these past twenty-two months for our special lady and like the Peanuts character Linus, Bonnie has felt very safe and comfortable in our little place along the river, and understandably so.  Many of you who know her understand her “Type-A” personality where managing EVERYTHING is not only a want in life, it is also a requirement and the need for outsiders to help her need not apply, although surviving Stage 2 breast cancer has changed this. ¶ As the calendar gets ready to say goodbye to what we would normally refer to as “SOXTOBER” and before the scheduled Pacific rains being to envelope our day to day operations, she is finding the courage to reach out to her sisters who are also battling this disease.  Not that long ago Bonnie attended a Cancer support group in Sonoma known as “Mending Under the Moon” and she returned from this retreat with a relaxed look on her face, along with that smile I’ve known for thirty-two years, coupled with a real sense of “life” in her eyes.  This retreat was designed to allow her to access her core tools to empower her to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of cancer treatments and recovery and to experience the nurturing support and renewal with others dealing with similar challenges.  ¶ I met one of the women who attended Mending at the recent Catwalk for a Cure and we enjoyed each other’s company greatly before it was my turn to climb onto that stage and share my experiences with breast cancer with the four-hundred or so people who were there to support the cause ¶ Bonnie met with her breast cancer oncologist; Dr. Amy Shaw this past Friday as the recent changes in her medicines was providing a result she never expected.  Medicine is a funny thing.  As we [collectively] get older, and certainly in our house, the trip to the grocery store almost always includes a visit to the Pharmacy to pick up this or that to keep us all balanced.  Fortunately, the medicine cabinet in our youngest girls’ bedroom is void of any pharmaceuticals and we find joy in that fact every day.  For nearly a year now Bonnie has been taking Tamoxifen to assist her in the battle of any breast cancer recurrences, though after her Oophorectomy a few weeks ago her nightly regimen required a change to a nightly dose of Letrozole.  ¶ According to the University of Maryland’s Medical Center, and an international study of 5,187 postmenopausal women found that the drug Letrozole, when taken AFTER completing five years of Tamoxifen therapy, cuts breast cancer recurrences by almost half.  These results were so significant that the study was stopped early to get the news to women as quickly as possible.  Our problem right now is Letrozole itself, which required a trip back to Dr. Shaw (thank you for seeing her on such short notice) and upon seeing her [Bonnie] Dr. Shaw made the decision to place Bonnie back on disability – which means NO WORK AT ALL – until her medications are once again regulated.  Bonnie has been directed to visit with Dr. Shaw every two weeks over the course of the next six months and has been placed on full time disability status for that period of time unless she [Dr. Shaw] sees vast improvements in the regulation of her medicines and Bonnie’s overall physical and mental outlook. ¶ Yes – breast cancer takes a team of people that are willing to listen, acknowledge and understand this is not something you immediately return to work from, particularly after completing an Oophorectomy which removes the production of estrogen.  That team of people include those she works with during the forty-hour work week; those she receives support from (thanks again Dr. Shaw and her assistant Traci); the great folks at Sutter Medical; and those of you in her global network support staff that continue to reach out. ¶ Halloween is right around the corner … the night we met thirty-six years ago and with the MLB season officially over (WELL DONE GIANTS!) and while the NHL season slowly melts away, we’re thankful the gutters have been cleaned while we prepare for the rainy season and the remaining slate of NFL games on the schedule.  ¶ Bonnie is at home – she’s in good shape and TEAMWORK from all of you is and always will be one of the biggest reasons.




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