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larry_b(Zone5/CO)June 22, 2006

Hi all,

Some of you may notice that I haven't been participating on the garden web as much as I had before. This wasn't because of the mass exodus of several months ago. I still like the garden web. I wasn't even going to mention this because even though I am pretty free with information about myself I also have a private side that I like to keep just that, private. But last November my wife and my lives changed forever. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I'm not the kind of person who publicly broadcasts my problems unless it is pertinent to the conversation. I'm not the kind of person who asks for a blanket "Please pray for my wife" although we have received several prayers from several people and have graciously accepted them. The reason I am bringing it up now is to remind all of the women reading this post that breast cancer is real and it happens to people you know. I don't want to scare anyone but it can happen to you. One out of eight women will developed breast cancer in her lifetime. The majority of these women are over 50 and 60 years old, but we have met several women who were in their thirties who have/ were fighting this disease. So don't think just because you are young that you are immune. Do monthly self-examinations and get a mammogram when it is the appropriate time.

My wife's story is one that I hope none of you repeat for yourselves. She had an examination from her doctor six months before her diagnosis. The doctor said not to worry about the lump that she had found. It was just a fibrous mass. My wife believed her and didn't tell me anything about it. If she had I would've had her go for tests immediately. Instead the tumor grew to 4 cm and was starting to show by the time it was decided that this thing had to be looked at further.

Chemotherapy was started immediately and lasted for five months. The tumor shrank from 4 cm to 1 cm. There was a rest period for her to gain her strength from the chemo. There were actually multiple tumors in her breast so a mastectomy was her best chance of survival. She had a modified radical mastectomy almost two weeks ago. A modified radical means removal of the breast and lymph nodes if any cancer was detected there. Two of her lymph nodes had tested positive so the whole cluster had to be removed.

Surgery went very well and my wife is now recovering. She is doing very well considering what she has gone through. The cancer is gone and now it is time to get back to our lives again.


PS - I don't really want to discuss the gory details of the procedures online. If any of you would like to discuss some of the specifics I would be more than happy to do so. Please send me a private message though.

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lunamoon(5 MA)

Larry~ Thank you for sharing you and your wife's story with us. It serves as a reminder to all of us that cancer really can and does strike anyone. My father was diagnosed with cancer this winter and underwent surgery in March. Thankfully, he is now cancer free. Your story really strikes home.

Best wishes to you and your wife.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 11:21PM
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Hi Larry. I have thought so much about you and your wife and glad to hear things are going well. It is hard to figure out what to say to people who are battling cancer. It is such a big scarry thing that no one wants to have touch their life.

So I will just say I am so happy that you and your wife can get back to your lives!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 11:26PM
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fishies(Ottawa z4a or 5)

I'm sorry to hear what you and your wife have been going through. You both seem incredibly brave and strong. Thoughts and prayers and good wishes for both of you.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 8:59AM
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tisha_(z7 OKC)

(((Larry & Wife)))

Thank you for sharing your story.

About 5 years ago (when I was around 23 or 24) I went in for my annual girlie check-up and everything was fine. Two months later I noticed a lump. I wasn't even doing a self exam or anything. I just happened to feel it by accident.

Anyway, I had to have all the tests and a fine needle biopsy. Everything came out fine. I actually have two lumps. Both are Fibroadenomas (sp?) and don't give me much bother...other than it's kinda gross feeling. Blech. Anyway, I was lucky.

I'm glad to hear that your wife's surgery went well and that she's doing ok now. :-)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 9:24AM
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Thank you all for the kind words and support. It means a lot to me and I will relay them to my wife. Like I said, I wasn't even going to make a public announcement of my wife's cancer, but when something like this happens to you and your loved one there is the desire to find some meaning to all of it if that makes any sense. I finally decided that it would be irresponsible of me to not say something about our ordeal. I don't want to sound clich but if just one of you reads this and decides to do a self exam this month, or if one of you has found a lump, had decided to dismiss it, reads this and goes in to see her doctor, then this post will have done its job. I want to see some good to come out of this.

That's not to say that some good hasn't already come out of this. I have seen it before and it is amazing how good can come out of bad. I have seen it in my life. I have had adversity in my life. I have had to point the nose of the boat into the wind and weather the storm more than once. Somehow I think I was being prepared for this storm. When my wife came home and told me that they had found cancer I felt about as powerless as I have ever felt in my entire life. This was a beast that I couldn't fight. But soon after I realize that there were things that I could do. I could be the most supportive husband that I could possibly be. I could help with decisionmaking when my wife had trouble making decisions. This was especially important during chemo. I could be her buffer from the rest of the world. Nobody talked to her unless they went through me. Of course this excluded friends and family and anyone who was willing to give good news and support. There were some people who wanted to talk to her just for their own interests though. I always took care of those people. And even with my disabilities I was able to take up some of the slack with chores and grocery shopping.

The other good thing that came out of this was the demonstration that there are good people out there who want to be generous and help. Along with that, I became a big believer of karma. My wife is just a sweetheart and is nice to everyone. I would like to think that I have some of that myself. Anyway, you wouldn't believe the generosity demonstrated by the people in her work place. People from her job offered her weekly rides to chemotherapy. This lasted for five months. Her friends really came through for her and took up some of the slack when her work friends couldn't make an appointment. Even several of my friends wanted to help. They also gave her rides to doctor's appointments. During this time period I also needed rides to my doctor's appointments. The world didn't stop for me. Most of my doctors are too far for me to drive to. So these friends of mine were generous enough to do that for me too.

I talked about the world not stopping. When a thing like cancer happens, there is a feeling for the need to have the world to stop, just to give one a breather. That doesn't happen. Within the next two weeks of the diagnosis the car needed repairing, my father had a heart attack and my wife's brother also had a major health crisis. A month after the start of chemo my sister would find a lump in her breast. Fortunately it was just a water cist. The world keeps turning no matter what.

So, this chapter of our lives is over. That is to some extent. The chance of my wife living more than 10 years are excellent. We do however need to be vigilant. Examinations need to be done on a regular basis. There is always the possibility of this thing coming back. But for now we celebrate!

Thank you all for listening.

Take care,


    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 4:18PM
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karen715(z5 IL)

I'm so sorry to hear about your wife's ordeal. Best wishes for a full and complete recovery, and many, many more years of happiness and togetherness for you both.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 6:36PM
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