Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chris is getting a lumpectomy tomorrow! Please send all the healing vibes you can. Consider her fabulous fundraiser. Thank you

We are all touched by cancer one way or another.  I wrote about the Hartfords here and asked for your help and support as they negotiate this difficult journey together, as we lift them up and send love and blessings to them. And soft, warm, restorative... cash. Which they need to help them through  and to provide the concrete things that we all need in our daily lives, plus help with medical bills and such-like.

Chris Hartford thanks us for our gifts and gives an update on her progress.

(Visit her fabulous fundraiser here!)

Hello Everyone!
I realize it has been awhile since I’ve updated everyone on my process, and wanted to reach out to share where I’m at these days.

After my experience at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, I set out to find someone who could be of better assistance to me in regards to overseeing my whole care.  After some research, I found a body of practitioners called naturopathic oncologists.  I wish I would have know about this field 2 months ago!  There are only 9 in Washington, and they train alongside medical and radiation oncologists to serve the population of folks who want to integrate individual holistic care with conventional cancer care. A Dr. named Leanna Standish was referred to me by a friend who is cancer free from Stage III colon cancer.  I met with her last week and I breathed a sigh of relief, feeling a great weight off my shoulders from managing this on my own.  She is very experienced, skilled and gracious.  She immediately sat down and said, “Well, it looks like you’ve had a little brush with breast cancer!”  We talked at length about all of my options and agreed to take it one step at a time, do surgery, get reports back and talk again,  She was very reassuring about my health, good prognosis, and has little concern there would be any surprises with my cancer. I left her office with a prescription for walking and journaling everyday. That’s much harder than I thought!

So, from a timeline point of view, here’s what it looks like. Surgery on the 15th to do a lumpectomy. I’ll be doing it here in Bellingham with a skilled surgeon I trust. He’ll remove the lump with 1cm margins and what’s called my sentinel lymph node and test it to see if cancer has spread there.  They will know that result immediately. The surgery is at 8am, will last 2 hours and unless there is lymph node involvement, I will go home the same day. They will send test results out and I meet with the surgeon to interpret them a week later. That’s when we come up with an initial follow up treatment plan, that may include a 7 week course of radiation.  I think my recovery time should be quick, but I’m not to lift for 1 week. We’ll see how that goes in my house!

I wanted to thank everyone for your warm wishes, prayers, and generous donations to help with costs. I can’t share enough how much your contributions are helping our family. This diagnoses came at an unfortunate financial time and we have been month to month with expenses and rising medical bills. While it can be an awkward and uncomfortable position to be in, asking for help, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t know the extent that my friends, family and people I’ve never met are rising up to encourage and support our family.  Please accept my deep appreciation.  We will update everyone post surgery and hope to send good news your way.

Blessing on your Holiday Season,
Chris Hartford and Family