Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Breast Cancer and Tiina

Many of you do not know that just before Midsummer (20th of June) that my loving wife, Tiina, had taken it upon herself to have a mammogram performed. Well the mammogram and ultrasound revealed a growth approximately 3 cm = 1,18" in size. A biopsy was done immediately but she had to wait until the 3rd of July to really find out what the diagnoses was. She had been notified by phone on the 28th of June that it was bad and that it needed to be researched more. On the 3rd she found out what hospital she would be treated in. The nurse gave her a run down over the phone but her actual appointment wasn't until the 9th of July. So we both went in for the consultation and additional tests. A blood test and lung x-rays were taken and both turned out clear and negative. The doctor explained that the surgery would take place on the 17th of this month and explained what the procedure would be, etc. Tiina asked if it would be possible to have reconstructive surgery done at the same time since the total amount to be removed would amount to smaller than a tennis ball. The doctor called in the plastic surgeon who examined Tiina. She said it wouldn't be a problem to do that but the surgery date would have to be moved from the 17th to the 24th of this month. We left for our cottage as soon as our son Alexi was finished playing soccer with his team in the Helsinki Cup. We had an enjoyable time at the cottage. Both of us are quite calm, positive and optimistic that this will be overcome.

Tiina and I went to the hospital yesterday for the injection of a radioactive dye into the tumor in order to locate the sentinel lymph nodes that will be taken out and examined for cancer. Well the first round didn't reveal anything so she had to be injected again. This time it was under the skin. Luckily one, only one was to be found! So this will be the one they remove for testing. I guess as many as 10 can be found which means they would all have to be removed. If none are found then all the lymph nodes in the breast and under the arm as well as the fatty tissue from under the arm are removed. Tiina explained to me that before the dye was used the lymph nodes were automatically removed during the surgery. By removing the nodes this can cause swelling in the arm as well as numbness.

We got to meet the doctor who will be performing the actual surgery to remove the tumor. She had been on her summer holiday during our first visit. She is very nice and from what everyone tells us, the very best that they have. This is also a comforting thought. She drew lines on Tiina to indicate where the incisions would be made and how much would be removed. It appears that the size will be reduced from a D cup to a B cup. When the doctor had finished her drawing Tiina looked like a 3 year old got hold of a marker and had his way! These markings had to remain on her until today's surgery. The doctor was very pleased with the location of the tumor and with the texture of it. She said it should all go well. Another comforting thought.

So now Tiina has been in hospital since 8 am this morning. The time is now 4.13 pm. The doctor couldn't say for certain but thought the surgery would begin around 11 am. She said if all goes well it should take about four hours or even less.

I wasn't awake when she left this morning with her mother. She did come in to kiss and hug me and to say that she was leaving. I, of course, could not go back to sleep. It is a very eerie feeling. Heaven forbid something to go wrong but if it did that would have been the last time I would see her! Enough of that! No news is good news. So far I haven't heard anything yet. We had asked the nurse or doctor to call if something drastic had to be done. To let Tiina rest we decided that she would contact me first from the hospital.

So to all of you friends of Tiina you can check here for any results. As soon as I get them they will be posted here! I thank you all for your concerns, prayers and wishes. They truly mean a lot to us.

Tuesday 24.07.2007 22.15
Well my mother-in-law had called several times to the hospital to find out how Tiina was. She hadn't come back to her room by 8 PM so she called again at 10 pm. The surgery ended at 6.30 PM and if I understood right it went well. Too what extent that is I am not sure. She is being kept in recovery over night due to lack of personnel because of summer holidays. I will know more tomorrow and hopefully get to visit with her.
Wed. 25.07.2007 08.37Well my mother-in-law called this morning with good news. Tiina's operation had gone well and she had been moved to her own room just after Midnight. She had already eaten something this morning and had received pain killers and is now resting. She said we would be able to visit her just after Noon sometime.
Wed. 25.07.2007 14.44
I just talked to Tiina via phone. She is doing well. Unfortunately all the lymph nodes in her breast and underarm had to be removed. We were hoping that it wouldn't have to be so. The doctor found one that was quite hard and decided to do away with them. The tumor has been sent to the Cancer Research Center in Helsinki and the results should be back for Tiina's first follow-up on Aug. 1st. The surgery lasted from 2 pm - 6.30 pm. She was transferred to her room around 11 pm last night. She is on antibiotics and painkillers. She can sit up and go to the bathroom on her own now. She still feels a little dizzy when she does so but said it is getting better. We will go to visit her after the meal time so that would be after 4 pm.

Thurs. 26.07.2007 11.00Tiina called this morning and said that she will have to remain in hospital until Friday. She still gets dizzy and nauseous when she stands. They want her to move around more as well. She only started walking about around 8 pm last evening. The draining tubes should be removed today so that will make it easier for her to get around. She won't be able to drive for two weeks and will have at least four weeks sick holiday. Other than that she is progressing just fine!

Saturday 28.07.2007 10.47 Okay! So now Tiina is finally at home and doing well. She was released from hospital yesterday at 1 pm. She came home and rested a bit while watching TV catching up on all of her favorite shows that had been recorded on the digibox, especially All in the Family ;-) With a little guidence from her I made supper for everyone. Usually I am good at just throwing pre-marinated chicken thigh/legs in the oven and making macaroni and cheese or goulash that I have made since I was about 11. This time I fried up some small pork steaks with onion and cream and made macaroni and corn for the crew. Tiina ate it well enough, even though she doesn't eat much meat. She slept the night really good. I had the window open so it was much cooler downstairs than up. Her stitches are healing fine. Today we will try to go for a walk to the grocery store. She can't lift or carry anything but the walking and fresh air will do her good. Hopefully it won't rain before then or whilst we are walk about. Now that she is home I won't be updating here so often as she will be back on board with her Internet lists and groups (you all). I will make seperate entries for major things that come along concerning her future treatments. For those that just want to know leave me an email or comment and I will get back to you. I thank you all for stopping in and reading up about Tiina. I also thank those of you that have left nice comments about me to Tiina as well ;-) God bless you all!


bob kujala said...

Thanks for the detailed update Matti, We love you and our prayers go out to you and your family..Dad

Anonymous said...

Holding you and your family in our thoughts and prayers through your recovery, Tiina!

Best wishes from the USA!
Sharen in Tampa, FL, USA

Anonymous said...

Best Wishes Tiina and all your family as you make the adjustments that treatments make in your life.

Diana in Nova Scotia
one of the Broomettes

Jemayá said...

Glad all went well. Take good care of her now that she is home again ;). Love to you all!

Meeri said...

I just found your blog. I got a hint from rec.crafts.textiles.quilting. Give a big Hug to Tiina!!

Dr. Quilter said...


this is Marissa from RCTQ - have been gone for a while and saw a message about your surgery today in the ng! I had not idea... Hope everything is doing great - drop me a line if you feel like it!