A Big Day

As you all know, today was a big day.  My oncology appointment was scheduled for 11:00 a.m.  I started the morning with an upset stomach but focused on getting Gracie to school.  After I dropped her off, I had to pick up the dry cleaning.  Not really (for the stay-at-home mom and the guy that works from home), but it filled up some time.  Then I headed to the gym for a 30 minute cardio workout.  I gave myself just enough time to get home and shower before my parents arrived at 10:30 a.m.  So we piled into the car and headed towards the Northside Hospital area.  Ed was driving (silent), my dad in the passenger seat (silent), while my mom and I were in the back covering the details of the American Idol results show the night before.

So we arrived, checked in, and were eventually called back.  I was weighed in (lovely), but no blood work today.  We were quickly moved to a room where the oncologist joined us shortly thereafter.    I was prepared to tell her to “get to the point” but what I am quickly finding out is that our oncologist is pretty direct.  That works for me.  She walked in and immediately said  “I have good news” which quickly resulted in a loud sigh of relief.  You may have wondered how much oxygen was left in the room.  She then walked through the results of the CT scan, bone scan, and echo cardiogram.  In summary, the bone scan was clean, the echo cardiogram was solid, the CT scan showed a few “minor” things – but nothing cancerous and nothing to worry about.  Phew!

From there we talked about a specific treatment plan.  There are a ton of details, but the abbreviated version is:  Monday, April 4th the port will be placed in my chest.  Wednesday, April 6th we start treatment.  We are not wasting any time.  I have to do chemo treatments every three weeks, for a total of 6 treatments.  Then we have about a 3 – 4 weeks of “recovery” time and then we will do surgery.  So my math – which is not all that good these days – puts us around September/October 2011 for surgery and reconstruction.

The oncologist also walked us through all the side effects of chemotherapy.  It sounds like it varies per patient, but in general the worst side effects are fatigue, nausea, and hair loss.  It basically sounds like the 3-4 days after the chemo treatment are going to stink.  They will give me medication to manage the nausea.  Fatigue will be real for a few days after treatment.  The hair loss will happen about 3 weeks after the first treatment.  So, by the end of April I will be bald.  Early on, I was really upset about the hair loss.  But after hearing the news today, I am so thankful it is contained, and am now focused on getting well and beating this…whatever it is going to take.  So, I think I may get a really short haircut fairly soon.  What I don’t want to happen is pulling out a handful of long hair.  That sounds awful to me.  I was opposed to a wig originally, thinking scarves were more my speed, but after several conversations with friends, I am now open to looking.  It doesn’t mean I will do it, but I am open.  So, I am starting to think about wig and scarf shopping in the next couple of weeks.  Doesn’t that sound awful?  Uugghh.

So with all that said, today we are celebrating this small victory.  It’s all relative, but we really did hear some good news today.  So thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you for your positive thoughts and prayers!  Please continue to send them my way!  This is the beginning of a long road…






  1. Mary Johnson says:

    WHOO-HOO!!!!!!! I am so relieved for you (all of you)!!!! We are celebrating this victory with you! !!!!!! Love your positive attitude (and sense of humor :))through all of this Meredith! You WILL beat this! Still continuing the prayers and we will be with you every step of this journey. I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel!!!!!

    Mary (and Cliff and Amelia)

  2. Amanda Coleman says:

    WONDERFUL NEWS! What an answered prayer! I will keep praying for you as you begin chemo. Thanks for the update!

    Amanda Coleman

  3. Mary Johnson says:

    PS. Of COURSE your treatments/surgery will be over in time for Tech football season 🙂

  4. YIPEE….

    PS…you have a perfect and darling face for scaves if you choose to go that route… you will look great!


  5. Jason Aldrich says:

    Great news!!! Now you can focus the fight.

  6. Christel Augusta says:

    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. We are sending you sunshine from California!

  7. Pepper Rockefeller says:


    Just back in town and heard your news from Allison. Wasn’t sure that you knew that I had a journey that mirrors yours back in 2005. Began the same time of year. And had the surgery and reconstruction. This past January 2011, I passed the 5-year “cancer-free” mark. I just KNOW it will be a successful journey for you!!!!! If you ever need help with anything, even within the next 5 minutes, I’m home LOTS! And I am a fairly good listener. By the way, ballcaps are another option with LOTS of eye makeup, even fake eyelashes:-) That was my choice. Thinking of the three of you!

  8. Lynne Shockely says:

    Hi Meredith, I talked with your mom at church yesterday . My mom told her that I was a 2 time champ of the “C” word. I was 32 with my diagnoses ( Hodgkins Lymphoma and cancer of the esphagus). I was doing all the healthy things , exercise, diet. My world changed in 2002. Everything happend so fast, my doctor told me when I got my port, you don’t have time to feel sorry and question, we have work to do! I turned 42 March 21st and I live my life to the fullest. I lost my hair , taste and the drugs were awful. I am so thankful the side effects were not bad at all. I could handle the fatigue with resting when I felt I needed to. I got massages and facials, I really pampered myself, inspite of. I wore scarves and made sure my make-up was together :o) at all times. Remember that you are not alone, those that have been through and overcome are with you all the way. If you ever want to talk, your mom has my number. Call anytime or email. I want you to keep this verse with you, Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I have been in remission since 2004, Keep a positive attitude , everything else is already taken care of.

  9. Beth Couch says:

    I just talked with Amy Merrill. This really sucks, and I just hate it. OK, that being said and off my chest, please know that I will be thinking of you every day over the next months and sending you prayers, love, good thoughts, energy, and lots of sunshine (no gray, cloudy days!). Your postings are wonderful and set a standard to emulate for hard times and day-to-day life…willingness to share and be upfront about fears and hard days… but your natural enthusiasm, energy, confidence, and positive attitude all show through so strongly.

    Jon and I have been living in Richmond, VA, for 3 years now and just love it. We retired to the North Georgia mountains, built a house, then decided it was too remote and acknowledged that we’re really urban people. Looked at a number of smaller cities and picked Richmond. Great city and state with all the history and natural beauty…also opens up the whole East Coast for us. Debbie Armstrong and her family live here; so since we’ve been best friends for years, it’s great being close to them again.

    Take good care my friend, and I will be following your progress and stay in touch.

    Love to you and your family,

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