Sunday, March 13, 2005


The biopsy results were still not complete for Tanya’s doctor appointment last Thursday, so we still don’t know if the type of cancer will be determined. If enough tissue is available after the biopsy tests, Tanya’s doctor will send them to the Mayo clinic for more evaluation.

Tanya has started conformed radiation treatments. It’s possible that there can be some serious side effects, due to where the cancer was found and the fact that she has already had radiation in some areas that will be radiated this time. Tanya should get some cough relief in about two weeks, but the coughing may get worse before it gets better, since coughing is a side effect of radiation, too.

The doctors don’t consider this cancer to be curable right now, but they do expect Tanya to respond well to treatments. Since there are still so many treatment options available, she is not a good candidate for trials, which are mainly for patients with few options left.

If the cancer turns out to be lung cancer, Tanya will probably have weekly low dose chemotherapy for 6 to 8 months, starting before she finishes the radiation treatments. If it turns out to be breast cancer, more treatment options are available, and Tanya will be able to wait about 7 weeks before starting chemotherapy.

The doctors expect that Tanya will go into remission for months to years before the cancer appears again, and they will treat each occurrence as it is detected. New drugs and therapies are always coming down the pike. So we’re hoping for the best and doing all we can to make that happen.

Tanya still has a great attitude, and Steve and Tanya pulled together another successful Relay for Life Friday night.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Radiation to start right away

Tanya will be starting treatment right away because the cancer is very serious. We still don't know a whole lot. The complete biopsy results are not available yet, so we don't know whether the type of cancer will be determined. The type doesn't matter for the radiation treatment, but it does for chemotherapy. On Thursday Tanya will visit another doctor about chemotherapy.

Tanya says that right now she feels fine except for the cough.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Tanya has an appointment with her radiation oncologist tomorrow (Tuesday).

Friday, March 04, 2005

Tanya says to not be sad!

Tanya is in good spirits and is saying that there's plenty of time to feel bad later, so don't be sad.

The remainder of the test results won't be available till next week. Then the doctors might know what type of cancer it is, but they may never know. There are a lot of unknowns. Different doctors have different opinions about what they're seeing in the scans, so Tanya will be having another to see if anything can be clarified.

It's not uncommon for breast cancer to metastasize to a lung and look a lot like lung cancer. Or it could be lung cancer. And the doctors haven't completely ruled out that one spot is from the pneumonia. Tanya said that the doctors would only use surgery to remove a tumor if they think they can remove it completely. Otherwise they would not use surgery. (Surgery is not an option for these tumors.)

I think Steve said that it would take a couple weeks of radiation before Tanya would be able to notice a difference in her coughing and breathing. And I think he said that chemotherapy might be for two months. However, Tanya can't have regular radiation because the same area was radiated for her breast cancer treatment. Fortunately, her doctor for radiation is one of the very few who uses the new, targeted radiation, so we'll have to see what he says after she goes to visit him.

Tanya said that she knows that this may be an ongoing occurrence for her, and she's met people who have been through it many times. She's not sad, and Steve's okay. She said that being unhappy won't help anything, so don't be sad!


It is cancer, but the doctors don't know what type it is yet.

Biopsy Results Will Be Today

As I type this, Steve and Tanya are getting ready to go see her doctor for the results of her recent biopsy. The doctor called her in for an appointment a week early, so the results must have been conclusive. Let's hope the predictions were wrong. Keep your fingers crossed! When I hear the results, I'll post them here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

How Can You Help?

Good people like Tanya should not have to go through this--no one should. Two of my friends and co-workers, Rose and Valli, were fighting breast cancer at the same time as Tanya. I heard this weekend that a rock climbing friend, Fred Padgett, has lung cancer. Another climbing friend, Mick Strole, has been battling cancer for years. Another climbing friend, Bill Stinson, recently lost his battle with cancer.

I'm more determined than ever to do my best to make the upcoming relay a success. I will donate at least $25 for the next four people who sign up for Tanya's relay team, Tanya's Trixsters, and commit to raising $100 by March 11. You'll already be a quarter of the way to that goal when you join the team! I look forward to having a great time with you at the relay, too.

If you can't join the team, please click on one of the relay links in the side bar and make a donation in honor of those you know and love who have dealt with cancer or are battling it now. And thank you for your concern about Tanya and helping in the race to cure cancer!

New Biopsy

Tanya has had a cough since November and she has been treated for a sinus infection and pneumonia, but the cough was only getting worse (to the point where she often coughs up her dinner). Her doctor sent her for some scans and they found two nodules in her right lung (same side as the breast cancer). One of the nodules is pressing against her bronchial tube, and that is what is causing the coughing and why she gets winded just walking around at work. She is basically operating on one lung.

From the looks of the tumors on the scans, the doctor gave a 95% or more chance that they are cancer. There is a very small chance that they are from valley fever or TB. The suspicion is either breast cancer or lung cancer.

Since one tumor is pressing against her bronchial tube, today's biopsy was from that tumor as an outpatient. The doctors are going to treat both tumors the same if it turns out to be cancer, because the other tumor is in a location where there is a 50% chance that her lung would collapse during a needle biopsy. If the second tumor does not respond to the treatment, then they will have to figure out something else. Steve said this time her treatments would probably be radiation and chemo.

Tanya's mom and sister and Steve were at the hospital with Tanya today. She said the procedure itself was pretty quick and not too bad. She seems to be in good spirits now and not too uncomfortable. The doctor said it would be about a week before they'd have the results, and Tanya has an appointment with him on the 10th--the day before the relay.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Steve and Tanya at their 15 year anniversary and vow renewal ceremony in Las Vegas, November 2004

(See the sidebar links for more photos from the ceremony.)

Posted by Hello


In 2002, after finding a lump, Tanya went to her doctor, and test results showed that she had breast cancer. She found out on July 3rd. Shortly after that, Tanya had her first surgery, and she began her chemotherapy treatments on 9/11/2002. In 2003 she began radiation treatments, and in June, 2003, she had her final surgery. The whole process was really hard on her, but she kept a great attitude throughout, and her family, especially her husband, Steve, was by her side, supporting her.

Tanya had some great doctors; great friends, like Caroline and Valli, who helped her through the breast cancer treatment experience; and great support, even from complete strangers, including a support group at Arrowhead and a breast cancer survivor who came to our house to help Tanya. (Steve is my brother, and Steve and Tanya are my housemates.) Tanya also attended the Look Good, Feel Better seminar, put on by the American Cancer Society.

Tanya became a volunteer for the American Cancer Society while finishing up her degree at ASU West. Tanya organized the campus's first Relay for Life, which was in March 2004 and was a great success. Tanya was hired by the ACS and loves her job--helping in the fight to find a cure for cancer. Steve is continuing his studies at ASU West, volunteering for the ACS, and is helping Tanya organize the March 11, 2005 Relay for Life.