Welcome & Thank You for Visiting

Welcome & Thank You for Visiting

On August 16th, 2011, three days before her 44th birthday, Connie was diagnosed with "Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma, Grade 3". In other words, breast cancer.

Battling cancer, no matter what form, is a difficult and frightening time for both those with the disease and their loved ones. Having strong moral support is important for everyone involved.

As the reality sinks in and we adjust to the new landscape, we realize we can't do this alone. We're reaching out to ask you for your moral support as Connie prepares to do battle with breast cancer.

Through this blog, we'll post updates on Connie's progress and offer a place for you to send words of encouragement and messages of support.

The burden of added medical expenses on top of day-to-day living expenses is mountainous. As a family, we're doing everything we can, but still it isn't enough. We're calling all angels who might consider donating to a fund for Connie and her family to relieve some of the stress so that Connie can concentrate on her recovery and get back to doing what she does best as loving mother, partner, sister, caregiver and friend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Surgery Day

Today is surgery day... the day that Connie has been waiting so long for. As of this morning they don't believe Connie will need radiation therapy, which has always been a possibility. So great news! The light at the end of this long, dark path is very bright today.

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and support. I'll update again once I have more details.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring is in the air


Despite what the groundhog says, Spring is in the air. I can feel it, and there are days when I can even smell it. I can't wait. Spring brings with it new flowers and fresh starts. Even more importantly, this Spring will bring an end to Connie's chemo treatments. Six more after this past Tuesday. Connie is handling the treatments well and deals with the side effects of nausea, dizziness and headaches with her character strength and sense of humor. I'm very proud of her. After the last chemo treatment she will have to wait two weeks before she undergoes surgery to remove the tumor. There is still a chance that radiation may be necessary to remove any lingering cells but we won't know that until after the surgery. Until then, we remain positive and focus on all of our blessings, for the coming of Spring and the promise of new beginnings.

All our best,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Dear Followers,

I apologize for not updating the blog sooner. Life has been interesting lately to say the least. Personal challenges have tested my spirit, but have not swayed my perspective on what’s most important this holiday season, and that is seeing that my sister Connie is comfortable and as free from stress as possible. Connie’s last chemo treatment on Wednesday, December 14 went better than the one before. She tires more easily but who wouldn’t after having your body pumped with harsh, non-discriminating cell-killing chemicals. My husband and I were talking about this and wondering how it can be that medical research hasn’t come up with a way for cancer fighting drugs to target only the affected cells. The treatments can be devastating with reactions that vary from mild nausea to permanent organ damage or worse. It is our only wish that Connie’s treatment result in the permanent cessation of the spread of this cancer.

Three weeks from her last chemo treatment will begin a new phase. She’ll then begin receiving chemo every week, as opposed to every three weeks for the next 12 weeks.  We’re hopeful that the drugs used prove to be more tolerable.

Unfortunately, family medical leave benefits run out on December 30 leaving them wholly responsible for payment of her medical insurance premiums; a daunting task without a paycheck and in the midst of chemo treatments with surgery to follow. On top of this, she has received notice that her job, as of December 30, is no longer secure and open to other applicants. Happy Holidays.

So, our next steps are unsure as of today but guaranteed that we will leave no stone unturned when searching for ways to help provide financial support throughout this journey. Everyone feels the affects of our depressed economy and is either in the same financial boat or knows someone who is. Knowing this makes it difficult to ask for help especially at this time of year, but what is life really about if not to help one another? Isn’t it about people, not things? What do we really need? I’m reminded of a Face book post I just saw that showed a picture of starving kids with their hands outstretched next to shoppers with arms full of holiday wrap and an abundance of gifts. The point is made with the wording “Define necessity”. My life mentor, dear family friend and surrogate father once asked me, “Kelly, what is the most important word?” I answered that “love” is the most important word. He said yes it’s a very important word, but more important is the word “others”. Thank you Hank. Your loving kindness and generosity of time, support and spirit made a positive impact on my life and will never be forgotten.

The support we have already received from loved ones, friends and community is heart-felt beyond belief, acknowledged and so appreciated. I love you all and thank you. As we put together a list of ideas on fund raising, please keep our family in mind and in your prayers. If you can help in any way we will be forever grateful.

This holiday and in the coming year I wish you and loved ones peace and good health.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2nd Chemo Treatment

Hi All,

I hope you all had a great Halloween. It's one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing all the kids in their costumes.

I've added a few more pictures to the blog this evening. I uploaded an oldie of all five Hicks girls. Connie is the newborn I'm holding on my lap. On the left is Carol and to the right is Kathy holding Karla. It's precious because its the only photo we have of all of us together.

As I spent quite a bit of time tonight looking through family photos I'm reminded how quickly time flies. I see dates on pictures taken several years ago now and could swear they were taken more recently. Seems like yesterday that Chloe was born. This December 26th she'll turn 4 years old.

I visited with Connie, Chloe and Robert yesterday as they were getting ready to take Chloe trick-or-treating for Halloween. She looked adorable in her Rapunzel costume. From what I hear she brought home quite the haul. Connie and Robert will have to come up with some way to ration the booty. Chloe definitely has a sweet tooth. Good luck there :-).

Connie is doing well. With Robert at her side, she'll be going in for her 2nd chemo treatment tomorrow, November 2. Her hair, despite hopes that she would be an exception, is beginning to fall out. Bring it on I say! Let it go! Let's get on with it so we can move beyond this chapter. Given the choice to fast forward to the future, I'd have to decline. Special moments are interwoven within each day creating a beautiful tapestry that is our life together as a family and a community. I for one don't want to miss those moments. Cancer has made life more vivid. It's making us stronger. It's forcing us to put our priorities in order and sending gentle reminders along the way of what's really important. Those are some big lessons.

Connie would love to hear from you. Package up your love and strength, good wishes and prayers and send them FedEx Overnight. Together, we can do so much more.

Good night. Sleep tight.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chemo Update from 10-11-11

Hi All,

Accompanied by Robert, Connie had her first chemo appt Oct 11. The procedure took about 4 hours. First a saline solution, then anti-nausea meds, then two chemo drugs were administered. When I spoke to Connie that evening she had a nagging headache, was tired, but otherwise feeling okay. Since then Connie has been back to work and has felt relatively well with the exception of a few side effects from the chemo. Because the chemo meds can be hard on the heart Connie had that checked out this week and should get those results back today or tomorrow. Chemo treatment #2 is scheduled for next week. 

Thanks again for your support. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Please join us in the fight!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chemo begins

Hi Everyone,

After discussing the next steps with a surgeon from the University of Wisconsin hospital and her current oncologist, it's been decided today that Connie will begin chemotherapy treatments right away. Tomorrow is the first one. Surgery will follow unless radiation is deemed necessary at that time. At this point it's more important to stop the possible spread of the cancer than it is to remove the tumor. Genetic testing will also be done at some point prior to surgery in order to determine if Connie is predisposed to the cancer gene. If so, a double mastectomy will be performed in order to eliminate any chance of having to revisit this whole scenario at some future point. Per the oncologist today, the first few chemo treatments are mega doses. She'll have one tomorrow and another in three weeks. From there they will occur more frequently. This chemo phase will last approximately 6 months and brings with it a whole host of possible side effects; one being the reduction in her white blood cell count, increasing her susceptibility to additional illness. 

The primary focus has been to get Connie into treatment. Secondary to that, is helping to relieve some of the costly burden which is going to continue well beyond original expectations. A benefit to help with this burden is in the planning stages. If you have any input, advice or firsthand experience you can offer in this respect please let me know. This is uncharted territory for us and we need all the help we can get.

Please keep Connie in your thoughts and prayers for strength as she begins the real fight tomorrow.

Kind regards,

Friday, September 23, 2011

MRI Results

Hi Everybody,

Connie got the MRI results yesterday. The MRI showed another tumor in the same breast and more DCIS (small suspicious spots found in the periphery). Connie and her physician agreed that a mastectomy should be the next step. She could have opted for another lumpectomy but that wouldn't guarantee that the DCIS wouldn't become tumors at some future point. If I'm away when the date for her second surgery is determined, I'll make sure someone else posts an update. Chemotherapy will follow surgery after a few weeks of recovery.

Thank you to all of you who have shown your support through words of encouragement and monetary donations. Connie and her family's financial situation will depend on newly found sources of income that we investigate and seek out daily. A fund raiser will be a priority come mid October. If you can offer experience in fund raising we can use your help. We can't do this alone and will need a team of angels to help organize an event of some magnitude. If you're able to make a donation, in any amount whatsoever, or perhaps donate from proceeds of your own fundraiser on Connie's behalf, we would be forever grateful. If you'd like additional information that could help with any fundraising effort, send me an email at ktlandes@yahoo.com and I'll provide you with any information I can. I'm out of town Sept 27-Oct 8 but will respond as soon as I possibly can. Thank you, thank you...

With love and deep appreciation for your kindess and support,