Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Here we go....

Today was our visit with my Onc. to discuss treatment and a start date. I have to admit I did not go into this visit fully convinced that going through chemo again was the right choice for me. Chris and I wrote down all our questions and prayed for wisdom and discernment.

I was in a place where I really needed to hear SOMETHING to make me feel ok with this choice. Before we even started asking our questions, Dr. A answered just about all of them. He said he had really been thinking about what was best for me and we came up with a different game plan, which we are all comfortable with.

Typically I would receive 3 different drugs administered by IV through my port once every three weeks. With my past history of not handling the toxicity of the drugs well, he decided to have me take smaller doses of chemo once a week instead of one huge hit every three weeks. I will still receive the same amount of chemo just in smaller doses. Treatment will go once a week for three weeks then one week off...which happens to be the week of Christmas!

I told him I was terrified to do chemo again since I had such a bad experience 14 years ago. We talked about the changes in medications and the support from my Oncology team I will have. We went over what to do in different situations if I get really sick and he had answers that we were very comfortable with.

Overall, I needed reassurance and he definitely gave me that today. Still not what I want to do, but I feel more hopeful, less fearful and comfortable knowing there is a plan...regardless of whether things go smoothly or not.
With all that said, I begin Monday for my first week. Your thoughts and prayers as I enter this treatment are truly appreciated.

I am so thankful that God eased our worries today and answered our prayers asking for wisdom and discernment for Dr. A and us.

Thanks for hanging in there with me! elayne

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The week behind me and the week ahead...

It has been about a week since my last post. Sometimes it feels like a few days ago and sometimes like months have passed.

Last week took an unexpected turn after meeting with my surgeon to discuss my latest xray and have my stitches removed. He said the results from the xray looked very good! There were two areas where there was still some fluid from the pleural effusion when I left the hospital. One of these areas is gone and the other significantly smaller. His opinion was it is time to stop the IV antibiotics and begin Chemo.

After not hearing from anyone I went to my IV appointment the next day. I walked in and my nurse said "I have good news for you"! I replied"you have spoken to my surgeon haven't you"?  All the doctors are in agreement. IV therapy was stopped and I was sent home with 3 antibiotics to take at home, which I am currently doing.
I am surprised at how slow healing from this is going, but I am reminded "you were very sick". I have trouble breathing walking up a flight of stairs or vacuuming. But...I know  I have to build my strength and stamina back up for what the next weeks will hold.
I have been able to walk up to 2 miles so far, rode my spin bike 2 miles and have tried doing arm/upper body exercises and stretches. Those hurt the most!

What does the week ahead have in store for me? Good question. With the Thanksgiving holiday last week I have not been able to speak to my Onc. about the next steps. What I do know is he wanted treatment to begin this week. So, I believe I will have answers and begin chemo this week.

I am still struggling with this. If you meet anyone that has been through chemo before, they usually say "I would never do it again". I felt that way too. But here I am faced with "let it spread, or try to fight it...again"! There may be a day I have just had enough, but I guess it's not now. My hope and prayer is that "God is not finished with me yet".

Your thoughts and prayers as my family heads into this difficult time are appreciated more than you can know. Please pray for peace, discernment, safety, comfort and God's healing hands upon me once again.
Please watch the video as it better expresses how I feel. And Thank you for "Loving me though it"~elayne

Saturday, November 17, 2012

15 Days Later....

On November 2nd,we began another chapter in this fight against metastatic breast cancer. After spending 11 days in the hospital, two surgery's and very weakened lungs, I am now home and trying to recover.Just a few weeks ago I was teaching my Fitness group and running through the woods after class with a friend. Now..I can hardly walk to the car at the doctors office...Wow,that changed fast!
The process is slow, very slow. Each day I spend a few hours getting antibiotics pumped into my system to fight the pneumonia, as well as taking an oral one at home. I had no idea how taxing this process would be on my body. I sleep...alot!
However, today has been my first day in 15 days that I have been able to do some small tasks like cleaning up, laundry, etc. You don't know how much you miss the daily grind until you can no longer participate. So, we will call today a good day!
I still have 11 more of these treatments, scans, x-rays and stitches out. Then the decision of when to begin chemo will be made. Having pleural effusions/ partially collapsed lungs and pneumonia is not how my Doctors will start chemo...and we are fine with that.
I did have a port put in, but I will be honest after going though chemo once before I am struggling very much with this decision. Other than letting it spread I am not sure I have many other choices.
I wish I could change my diet/lifestyle/ stress levels to kick this thing back into NED (No evidence of disease). But as most of you know I have done all that. Which I truly believe has helped me over these past 14 years fighting cancer. Truth be known, it has been 16 years since I found a lump at age 32 and went to the doctor. It was dismissed as a build up of tissue...a simple needle biopsy was all they needed to do. Two years later, I was already stage three.
I am trying hard to listen to everyone who is saying "one day at a time". If getting over this part was the recovery that would be much easier to swallow. I know the next part will be even harder. But I have too much to fight for so I try to wrap my brain around the next steps and ask God for his healing, comfort, peace and protection.

Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you whenever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Post by Matt Minich, Elayne's son
Just me and mom at the hospital waiting to be released! Got about 30 minutes left on a potassium drip then one more drip of some antibiotics and we get to go home!! woot.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Going home :)

"Hello friends and family~ I am still sitting here in the hospital with my bunk mate Kevin, hopefully for the last night! All 3 of my doctors have approved me to go home tomorrow! It is a matter of paperwork/insurance now.
I am being released, however I have to go to the hospital everyday for 2 weeks to receive antibiotic iv treatments for pneumonia.  This will begin as soon as I get home and it may take a couple of hours for the treatment.
My docs here do not want me to begin chemo until this is taken care of first. They are contacting my Onc. to share their concerns. Most likely I will begin after these 2 weeks are over.
You all don't know how your prayers and love have carried me thru these past 10 days....thank you! ♥ Elayne"
Yesterday we watched the Cowboys beat the Eagles, ate cookies with Liam and he said my name for the very first time! No-Nah, is how he says it...that was a great moment!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


This is Kevin on Mom's profile. The surgeon came in this morning and said she can go home as long as the infectious disease doctor agrees. Mom has a bit of a fever and is short on breath. Over all she is doing better. The next big test is her xrays tomorrow morning. This will determine whether or not she will be released tomorrow. They still see some fluid on her lung and say it could possibly get infected and increase in volume or be absorbed by the body and go away. SO after the infectious disease doctor analyzes the lungs tomorrow we will know if she can be released. Please pray that all is well and she can come back home to the comforts of her home tomorrow.

Oh! And the doctor thought Liam was her son! This proves that exercise and a good diet does keep you looking young... ;)

Thank you.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tube is Out!

Tube is out!!!!! Doctor came in and asked Dad if he wanted to pull the tube out this morning.He said yes and actually had the privilege of removing it with the help of a couple rubber gloves. Procedure was done in the room, not in surgery.

She still has pneumonia and her lungs are both still partially collapsed. 

So she will be monitored in her room for the rest of today, tomorrow, and should be released on Monday!Infectious disease doc will make the call on when she will go home.
Let's keep praying that the fluid doesn't come back. :) Kevin Minich


UPDATE ON MOM by Kevin - Mom had xrays this morning and it showed IMPROVEMENT! They are most likely going to pull the tube today and hopefully won't have to go through surgery for a 3rd tube. Now, things could change REALLY fast and the fluid may come back, we just don't know. But as of now it is looking better. Please pray that the fluid doesn't come back and that her lungs continue to improve so that she can come home where she belongs with her family. :) Good news now! Let's pray it stays that way. Thank you for all of the support and prayers. ~Kevin Minich

More changes...

Update on mom, by Kevin
Mom had a bit of a rough evening last night with night terrors. It was hard for her to fall asleep, and the doctor said that has a lot to do with being in a hospital for long stretches of time. She took some medicine and that helped her fall asleep.
 In the morning she had her xrays. Unfortunately the tube is again clogged and there is some more build up so we may have...
to go in a 3rd time to remove the current tube and place a new one higher up on her diaphragm to help get the fluid out. On top of this the doctor wants radiology to put in a very small tube in the upper part of her chest to help drain some of the fluid in a separate higher pocket. Also, she is malnourished due to a lack of appetite. They mentioned feeding her directly into her viens through her port or a feeding tube directly in her is now scarfing down her breakfast and drinking her water, and I'm about to go get her a Muscle Milk to help supplement everything. We are making sure we don't need that feeding tube!
 Also, they see a suspicious area in her lung that the infectious disease doctor thinks is pneumonia and she is on antibiotics for that right now. It is suspect that she has had pneumonia for a long while now and we just didn't know it and that half of the right lung and part of the left was collapsed before even coming to the hospital. We don't at this point know when she will be able to come home. She will at LEAST be here another 3 days, probably more.

Visitors are more than welcome, and Mom enjoys the company!, but I'm going to help streamline things.

Visitors please TEXT Dad  to let him know when you are coming to visit so that he can let you know if there are any conflicts at that time.

If you want updates please check FACEBOOK for them. It's hard and both emotionally and physically draining to re-tell everything that has, is, and will happen.

WASH YOUR HANDS. Before entering the hospital room there is a hand sanitizer - ALWAYS use it before entering the room. :)

If you are sick, were sick, or were in contact with anyone that has been sick, DO NOT VISIT. She has a compromised immune system and is more susceptible to other illnesses. If you are sneezy and coughing b/c of allergies, let's just be careful and get the allergies under control before visiting.

All of this will help everything run nice and smooth, keep Mom healthy and help her get some rest. You guys have been awesome and thank you so much for being here for Mom during this time.

Thank you all for the prayers and thoughts and keep them coming! :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kevin's Care.....

Liam stopped by to see Mom today and they got to read books together. :)

Washing my Momma's  hair! :) Making her nice and comfy...

UPDATE ON MOM ; We went for our last walk around the hospital to get some exercise in. Now it's time for some ice cream and much needed sleep. Currently watching "Ancient Aliens" on the History channel, lol. All seems good so far! hoping to take the tube out tomorrow then home Saturday. Thank you for all the prayer and support...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Update's by Matt & Kevin Minich,Elayne's sons

Update on my mom Elayne Minich: surgeon came in today. We expected to have the tube draining the fluid from her lung taken out today (we've been expecting this since Sunday), however it appears the tube has not drained all the fluid and more has accumulated in the lower part of the lung. They believe the tube clogged too early on to effectively drain all the fluid and they are going to attempt the...
surgery again tomorrow around 3pm placing the tube closer to the current fluid build up. It is not uncommon for the procedure to take a few tries to be completely effective, but we ask for all your prayers so that this procedure is successful. This also means my mom will be spending more time in the hospital. Thanks for everyone's support it has meant a lot to the whole family.
The second update;this was yesterday Nov.7
Update on Elayne Minich: Mom is going into surgery a bit earlier than 3pm today, which is good, better to get it over with and get to healing! Should be in the next 10 minutes or so that they will come get her and roll her in to the OR. Please get the prayers going!

The third update; also from Nov 7
UPDATE ON MOM: she just got out of surgery and everything went smooth. They put a larger tube further in, in hopes of getting more fluid out and creating a better suction. She will be monitored a couple more days to see how it goes and hopefully sent home afterwards, but it's all up in the air depending on how well the tube works this time. Please pray that it works, the fluid is drained, and a quick recovery.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Update;day 4

Update: this is my 4th night in the hospital. Surgeon did not remove the chest tube today as was planned. For some reason it has stopped suctioning the fluid and this mornings xray showed more/new fluid building.

He is keeping the tube in me one more night and having me lie in different positions (that hurt) and do walking/breathing exercises to help it drain.

I asked what happenes if it continues to build but not drain?? Either it will be a small enough amount that I can live with it or I have to do this while procedure again!
Your prayers for healing of this fluid and my energy to do what I need to do to help it along. Writing this just wiped me out :)
Thanks for the luv amd spport! Elayne

Still Here...

Still in the hospital. Had a chest xray done at 7 am this morning. The nurse said there was not much of a difference in it from yesterday. She thinks they will keep me another night but my surgeon said he would pull the tube out, we really don't know what all this means yet.
I am very tired and in a lot of pain when the med. wears off. However, I usually walk around, sit up in a chair and do the breathing exercises that Repository has me do as long as the meds are working :) My care has been fantastic here @Baylor, we are just concerned at this point that the procedure may not have been successful. More after we speak to doctor.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In the hospital...

  • Hello friends and family! I had to go to the emergency room Friday afternoon for chest pain and trouble breathing. I had my surgery early Sat. morning and currently have a chest tube and medi-port in.My surgeon drained a lot more fluid from the lung again and it continues to drain with the tube in. I have had ups and downs with pain but overall seem to be doing well.
    My surgeon came in this morning and told me I have a partial collapse on both of the lungs. So, he took me straight off the morphine so I would have the energy to sit up in the chair and walk the floor. This will help the healing process. My kids also found it quite amusing to see me go through withdrawel from the meds. :)I am on something not quite so powerful now :)
    The tube went in early Sat. morning and will be taken out tomorrow. The port remains for chemo.
    Chris and the boys have been by my side taking great care of me along with my parents and friends. I truely appreciate all of you and your prayers for our family.
    Looks like a long road ahead of me/us. I am sure we will all keep you up to date as we can. This is the most I have been able to concentrate on in one sitting, so enough for now ♥ elayne

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Where we are....

I guess it's time to get this post out as much as I don't want to write it anymore than you want to read it.

Our visit with Dr.A following my labs, PET scan and chest xray confirmed our worst fears. The cancer has spread throughout in many lymph nodes, two spots on  my liver and the pleural effusion is already back, which also has cancer in the fluid.

Before Dr. A received my PET scan results he felt we could try some more oral treatments, after he read the results, which he received while we were with him, he said that option is off the table, I will need chemotherapy now.

Please understand, my doctor and nurses are fully behind any choices we make, whether they agree or not, they will support us. I asked about not doing chemo, he told us what it would be like and how quickly it would spread. At this point, we are looking at chemo again...with great regret. I was never sure what I would do if I had to face chemo again, but I am just not ready to stop fighting.

The pleural effusion ( fluid on the lung) was drained for the second time on Monday, it very quickly came back, just a few days and I could feel it. I have a cough, I guess from the pressure on my lung and pain in my chest. Dr. A said I now need surgery to stop the PE. That is the first and next step. He said it needs to be done "this week" and I will be in the hospital for 3-4 days with tubes that will drain the fluid. They will remove the tubes before I come home. This should prevent the fluid from building back up. While in surgery the plan is to put another port in for the chemo. This makes me nauseated just thinking about it.

Chris and I drove home stunned...I guess we knew this was always a possibility, just not now. I don't think we even spoke much the whole way home. Our family will need all your prayers, encouragement and positive words at this time.


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