Saturday, October 20, 2007

Snowy Saturday in Fairbanks, Alaska

Hello again,
I am writing from snowy Fairbanks, Alaska! We arrived here yesterday evening - it was snowing when we arrived at the airport and when I got our rental vehicle, there was about 6 inches of snow on it! Fortunately, it's a dry snow, so it's easy to clean off the cars. We (my mom, my son and I) are here to go to some events associated with the Alaska Federation of Natives conference which starts on Monday. We will also be meeting with the linguist (Larry Kaplan) and with the archaeologist/mapper who have been working on the King Island placenames project. A couple of elders from our community, namely Teddy Mayac and his wife, will help us, too, as we try to finalize the spellings of placenames and also of birds. Also, on Wednesday, I will meet with colleagues Tom Thornton from PSU and Rosita Worl from Sealaska in order to begin a new project assessing how the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act has affected biocultural health and also the environment, etc. It should be interesting. We already had native food last night . . . well, the elders did. They ate maktak (whale blubber), dried meet, and alluq (Eskimo ice cream) and I also ate some smoked salmon that Teddy and Agnes caught. It was good!

It occurred to me while traveling up here that I should have titled the last entry "The Waiting is the Hardest Part" (a song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). I thought that it might be kinda cool and fun if I could find song titles that would be appropriate for these posts . . . now I need to work on one for today's . . . hmmm.

Dr. Kenyon called me while we were on a layover in Seattle. He said that my PET scan was okay but that my tumor is Her-2/neu positive. However, this does not necessarily mean that I go on Herceptin - it depends on how big or how much cancer is in the breast tissue - and they won't know that until after the mastectomy. It will also depend on whether or not cancer is in my lymph nodes, so Dr. Faddis will try to get one for testing when I'm in surgery for the mastectomy. So, let's cross our fingers and hope that it's both small enough and not in my lymph nodes! I think doing chemo would be hard, although apparently Herceptin does not cause your hair to fall out nor does it cause nausea. It just might affect my heart muscle! So, back to the waiting game - we won't know more about whether or not I take Herceptin until after surgery. Surgery has not been scheduled yet, but hopefully, I know next week.

Well, I'm doing okay . . . we're staying with my cousin, Clara, while in Fairbanks. My son, Eddie, is ready to use the computer and he is "patiently" (ahem) waiting! Take care!
Dee

3 comments:

mynameischarlene said...

hi deedee! glad you made it to alaska with your mom and eddie! lets hope you don't have to do chemo - well - perhaps it would be better than the side affects of the herceptin (spelling). Ugi will be there tomorrow with the ladies and staying at the wedgewood. He'll have his cell. Take care and have fun!!! I love the afn! wish i was there.

mynameischarlene said...

dede, I thought I'd share this online article with you: http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/10/19/hfh.breast.cancer.heart/index.html

Dee said...

Hi Charlene,
Thank you for the article . . . I'll try to get it to read it! We saw Ugi yesterday and he seemed like he was doing okay and keeping busy. I'm doing okay . . . although not much in the mood for working. I'd rather just visit with people!
Dede