Fox and Broom

A mom's adventures in keeping healthy, keeping her sanity, and making stuff.

Archive for the tag “fuck cancer”

The Blackhole

I am back in the hospital. I was home for a whole day on Friday, February 12. Saturday… started downhill and didn’t stop.

I had to ask Gabe to help me to the restroom. On the way, which is not far, I told him I needed to sit down. He reached for a chair and I fell. Backwards. As if i were a trinket a cat knocked off the table.

I landed on my poor dog. He’s a pretty big guy, about 100 pounds. He squeaked like a mouse. He was not injured. My head hurt for two days.

Gabe called our eldest to help get me up. They got me to where I needed to be and we made the decision to call an ambulance to take me to the hospital safely. The roads were snowy and icy.

I was not able to was not able to walk upstairs. I couldn’t breathe. My travel oxygen machine was hooked up.

The EMTs checked me out, then put me on this stairclimber. Max was jealous and scared. The thing had tank wheels on it. I miss my kids.

I felt like we were in the ER for forever. If I had realized how long I would be staying, that thought would never have crossed my mind.

My new stay did not start well. Does any hospital stay start well? I’m not here for the five star rating.

I was told that if my breathing kept failing, I would be in ICU on intubation. I would be asleep most of the time and woken up about once a day. Or was it every couple of days?

I was sobbing after the doctor left. I worked on exercising my lungs.

I had four masks within two days. All for different reasons.

Normal Nose Leash
Can’t eat with this one.
The Frog
Really can’t eat.
Airflow and can eat.

Within the first few days, I went up and down with my breathing. It has been almost a week and we are still working on the proper oxygen flow. The goal is to have it as low as possible. This machine was meant for extra oxygen flow. I was to try to keep it in the low 90%.

I have been using the lung exerciser. I need to go up. I want to go up line by line. It has been helping. I do have trouble standing up. I have trouble sitting in a chair.

I have started to improve. I have things to do. It has been over a week. I was able to sit in a chair to eat lunch on Thursday, February 18. I use a walker and require help in getting up.

The doctor was more hopeful. He said he couldn’t be totally positive. He was pleased that I was displaying progress. I have been here longer than I thought. I hope to go home before another week passes.

I went into the hospital on February 13 and left on March 3. I do not like being in the hospital that long. The best feeling in the world is a shower at home afterwards.

It’s Just So Much

I needed time to process everything. In a way, I was forced to as Jesse required my iPad for his schoolwork. It was really the best thing for me.

An unimaginably awful amount of happenings came about within two months. My family is hurting. We will hurt for a long time.

Cathy died on January 26. She was an amazing and beautiful person. I have known her for more than half of my life.

She read books faster than most people eat dinner. She created the most magical things out of yarn. That is a witchery beyond me. Cathy was not afraid to try new crafts. She was inspiring.

Her catch phrase was “oh, well shit.” It’s classier than my “fuck, or fuckity fuck.” Not that I will stop.

Cathy & Gary

I hurt for myself. I hurt more for Gary, her sister, children, grands, the people that will always be part of our family. So many people loved her.

This is where I am indebted to the school board for depriving me of technology.

I am thankful.

With the crap that happened in December, I am still here. I was told I would need to contact palliative care. I did not need them nor did I go to hospice.

My father-in-law, John, and I were hospitalized with Covid-19. We are still recovering. We are getting better. Recovering from something like this is hard. Our lungs and muscles are still weak. The fatigue is pretty awful. We are slowly overcoming the bastard.

I will always be thankful to have a mother-in-law like Cathy. I truly have the best in-laws. All four of them.

I am grateful for my mom. She has been helping with my boys when I can not do the laundry or wash the dishes. Covid zaps the energy out of you.

(L to R) Papa John, Nana Bobi, Nana Jan, Me, Dad, Grandpa Gary, Grandma Cathy
Boys: (L to R) Jes, Sam, Max, Sol

My heart will continue to mourn.

I will continue to savor the small things and celebrate the big things.

I love all of you.

Nonsense

For about 2 or 3 weeks, I have been waking up at a stupid time. It’s usually 4:30 am. Today was 2:30 am.

I have had pressure in my head every morning. Ibuprofen will calm it down, but it really isn’t a normal headache. I spoke about the fucking tumors in my previous post. I think they are talking to me. It’s very rude. I would like to sleep. I am just exhausted.

I have enough going through my mind . I don’t need the fucking tumors to decide to converse with me at an unreasonably early hour of the day. So damned rude.

The perk is starting my coffee early. I don’t start it as soon as the fuckers wake me up. I do try to get back to sleep and will just lay in bed for two or more hours. Ugh.

Today’s coffee cup has Shakespearien insults on it. It felt like the cup I needed this morning.

I do see my doctor in a few days. I don’t know if this is something that can be fixed, but I am hoping.

Fuck Cancer

I Lost Tuesday

I guess December 8, 2020 will be memorable to everyone but me. I have no recollection of that day existing. It was Monday, then Wednesday.

I have been told about the events that occurred. I have been told of the events after. I have had to ask people to speak with my husband. He knew what happened. I don’t.

The day started with a text I had the good sense to send, but I don’t recall sending.

I sent the text to my husband. He was at work. He tried to call me back and I wasn’t making sense. We live with his parents, so he called his mom to have her check on me.

I don’t know what happened. I have been told that an ambulance was called and Gabriel came home from work. I scared my family. I would probably be more upset. I think I should be more upset.

The EMTs helped me up the stairs and into my car. On the passenger side. Gabriel drove me to the ER.

I know that I had tests. Blood work, MRI, probably a CT. I had new tumors growing in my brain. My blood pressure was low. My heart function would show as lower from an echocardiogram the next day.

I have used up my brain radiation. I am not allowed another whole brain, which would be the treatment for all those little fuckers. I think I am still allowed targeted, but there are too many.

The chemo was working really well for the rest of my lesions and tumors. It is just making my heart not so good.

I was suffering from a seizure in my brain. This would be why I was having so much trouble talking and can not remember Tuesday. I am now taking anti-seizure medication.

The very low blood pressure would be the cause of not being able to stand up.

I was taking heart medication with the intent of keeping my heart function above 50%. I am not taking that any longer and my chemo has been lowered in hopes of helping my heart get back into the 50’s. There is also some hope that it will break the brain barrier and get the brain tumors.

With the possible seizures, I am no longer allowed to drive. I just got a new car. I love my car. At least this gives me a chance to give my oldest hours for his driving class. In my new (used) Rogue.

Palliative care has been brought up. I had a team when I was first diagnosed. I was very sick at that time. I am so mad. I have plans. I need to prepare things for my family.

Fuck Cancer

It has now been a few weeks. I have been the recipient of the generous side of humans. We have had food delivered. People went a little crazy with gifting my kids. Someone picks up my kids clothes, washes them, then returns them.

The Warrior Sisterhood left a gift in my yard. I cried.

I can’t think of how to properly express my gratitude. I wake up most mornings with a headache or a back ache bad enough for pain meds. I have trouble walking a good portion of the time and I now have a loathing for stairs.

Having help with food and clothes is fantastic. If any of you read this, please know your actions have been absolutely appreciated.

I don’t know what my future will bring. December 8 scared all of us. My doctors and care team are working hard to keep me going. My family and friends are working hard to keep me going. I love all of you.

Fuck cancer.

Efffing Pinktober

I did not write a Pinktober post last year. I decided to put it on the back burner as October 2019 was a bit crazy for me.

I was dealing with the after effects of a really bad reaction to a chemo I had started. Gabapentin did a good job of trying to kill me. It was supposed to be a more gentle treatment. I went to the ER twice a few days after two different chemo treatments. The second time was what put the puzzle together.

On September 25, three days after chemo, I went in with a 103 F temperature and blood pressure that was so low, I had trouble walking and standing. Septic shock was the consensus, but no source of infection. I was kept in ICU for a few days until my mysterious condition stabilized.

On October 10, 4 days after chemo, I went back to the ER with the same issues. My oncologist put a quick stop to the chemo and started me on Navelbine.

I still had a pretty successful Witches Tea Party.
Fuck cancer.

With that out of the way, you get to have some anger and sorrow-filled preaching.

Kim Wolski was one of those amazing people that I should have met in person. I can guarantee that we had passed each other a few times. She moved from Minnesota to Florida at about the same time I moved from Florida to Minnesota. She had stopped in Jax on her way to Tampa and even went to Einstein-a-Go-Go. I loved that little club.

Cancer murdered her December 10, 2019. She was beautiful inside and out. She was smart and a motivated MBC advocate. She was a wonderful mom. I hate saying “was.”

I did not know until March 2020 that Kim had died. I have been staying largely away from social media. This is the news that I miss out on. It is frustrating, maddening, and devastating.

To pay tribute to her, I wish to post something she had posted, and given me permission to write into my blog.

Kim Wolski 10/26/2018 “Actually…. here it is: Seer database:
A database is designed to be a host for storing data. How you filter and disseminated, would determine how you effectively utilize the database. Not having full data content can lead and would lead to misleading information.
Targeting certain markets doesn’t muddy the waters, it actually steers conclusions to wanted probable outcomes.
Especially with African American women who seems to have a greater risk of reoccurrence. The database can be a useful tool to filter down.
Look at my case, as a white woman with no history of breast cancer in her family, active, within BMI, nursed both of her babies for a year each, never smoked or drank; the likelihood of me developing breast cancer at all was less than 5%. And I metastasized right away with an aggressive form of BC.
If breast cancer is the second cause of death for women under 50, you would think that capturing and being able to filter my race, geographical, environmental would be useful in help finding a cure or at least making this truly a ‘chronic’ disease like AIDS.
Without the study of origin of the AIDS virus, would we have so quickly deduced a control one could argue.
As we get older, our cellular division mutating does scientifically makes sense, but with younger and younger MBC patients we are losing, it’s reached beyond an AIDS epidemic.”

But there is so much more. I should have copied some of the answers to her post. The terrible fact is that Metastatic Breast Cancer numbers are incorrect. I have preached on it before and metsters will continue preaching on it after I have left this plain of existence. The numbers are not low in a good way. They are low in a deceiving way.

People diagnosed at an early stage of breast cancer: stage I – III are not included in the metastatic, stage IV numbers. I see that this can cause a lot of issues. I have no idea why early stagers are not counted. This shit kills them too. It isn’t as if they are somehow magical and stage IV is nothing to them.

Approximately 30% of early stage breast cancer survivors become stage IV. Approximately is all I can tell you as the numbers are messed up. I see so many folks who have absolutely no idea what is going on come into my support groups. The questions and the statements are heartbreaking.

“I had no idea this could happen to me.”

“When do you ladies end treatment?”

“I don’t know how I got here.”

“I was cancer-free for 15 years.”

“What is Metastatic Breast Cancer?“

Then, there are the people like Kim and me. Diagnosed de novo. We are the 5%. With only 5% of us counted for studies, it makes sense that I was told this disease is so damned rare.

With stats like this, we often feel ignored. With more research focused on early stage breast cancer, we feel ignored. It isn’t that those studies are not important. They are. We just want to be acknowledged and have *MORE* studies done.

This is why I push Metavivor on my friends for donations every year. Metavivor is an important resource for us Metsters. They fund the research that is needed for Stage IV. They will not be able to save me, but I am hoping they will save future generations.

Fuck Cancer

Don’t Ignore Stage IV

2020 February Legacy Retreat: In Memoriam

One of the hard parts of meeting people with a disease such as Stage IV Breast Cancer, is death. Thirty-one families were served at my retreat. Four of my sisters have passed since the Retreat. Gabriel has had a hard time with this. I told him it never gets easier.

Cassie Newman, February 16

Leah McDonald, February 21

Andrea Burch, February 22

Crystal Baird, March 4

I am so thankful that their families have the memories from this Retreat.

Fuck cancer.

Addition:

Erin Leland, March 30

The Legacy Retreat Part III

February 2nd was a full day. Lots of laughter, love, sadness, grief, and healing. This day is what makes Inheritance of Hope what it is.

We woke up early to indulge in the tasty buffet. My mom went to church while we went to our sessions. She waited on us to be done before she drove home. Rob had managed to put together a picture of her and I in a frame to give to her. She’d had a fun time with us, but had some work waiting for her and she had no interest in going to Universal Studios.

I won’t discuss the sessions, but I will tell you that I brought up Camp Kesem. If you are unfamiliar with this organization, please look it up. Especially if you, a family member, or a friend has kid(s) and has been affected by cancer. My older kids will be going for their fourth year this summer. My kids always come back happier and more confident.

The kids threw eggs in their sessions.

I am pretty sure Max just threw eggs to throw eggs.
Jesse definitely just wanted to throw eggs.
Sol got some satisfaction in throwing the eggs.

They were to write something on the egg that scared them and throw it as hard as they could. If it weren’t so messy, this would be a great stress reliever in general. We might do this or something similar every once in a while at home.

To make it quick, we got on the bus, got our lunches, and landed at Universal Studios. It was super sunny and perfect for a fun time outside. What I have not mentioned previously is that Gabriel and I were going to be leaving the park at around 4. The boys were staying with our volunteers to play until they dropped. Or until 10.

Obligatory dorky family photo. Laugh all you want, it was fun.

IOH gave us a Gold Pass. I had no idea such a creature existed. This wasn’t even in the realm of a Fastpass. It was something different. We would stroll up to the person checking Fastpasses, show them the Gold Pass, and they would call an escort for us. Ho-ly cow. We were usually led to a door and taken to the ride through back hallways, allowing us to go ahead of the Fastpass and regular passes.

We went on Minions and Transformers. Max LOVED Transformers. We spent some time in Diagon Alley, then a lot more time in Hogsmeade. Jesse got his wand. We rode Escape From Gringott’s and went on Hagrid’s motorcycle ride twice. That ride is awwwwwwwesome. Poor Sam hit his head pretty hard while riding on it and was no longer so enthused about it.

I am laughing because Megatron moved and Gabriel jumped. I told him I would protect him from Megatron.
The sidecar was fun, but I prefer being on the motorbike.

Gabe, Max, and I went back to the hotel. Max was so worn out that he fell asleep on the bus. When we took him to the toddler area, they put a pillow down for him. He woke up enough to see the pillow and ran to it. For a little monster, he can be so cute. I suspect it is his survival mechanism.

Gabriel and I were scheduled for 4 things. The first item on our list was a visit with a counselor. This sounds like a weird start to a date night, but it helped clear the air. I am not so good at expressing myself. I hold my thoughts to myself as if they are precious stones. It’s kind of a Scorpio thing, I guess. I let Gabe take some of those stones and I left feeling lighter and he seemed happier that I had let him take some of the load.

We separated to get pampered. He got a massage and a new shirt. I had my makeup done, picked out some Kendra Scott pretties, and new clothes from Dillard’s. My makeup had taken up more time than it should have, so we were rushed to our next appointment.

The Legacy Video.

This is probably the most important thing that came from the retreat. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do this. I was afraid that it would just be 10 minutes of me weeping. This is the hardest thing in the world. I made a video, with Gabriel, for my family. It is a visual and auditory reminder of me: my face, my voice, my personality. It is something for my family to hold on to after I have left this plane of existence.

I got the courage to do it from our volunteers, many of whom had been served on previous retreats. I got the courage from videos of the children of parents who had passed. I got the courage from people who spoke about how much it meant to them to have something like this as a reminder of a loved one.

So I just started talking. I pulled up memories. Gabriel has been a part of my life for so long that he was able to talk about the same memories with me. The talking became easier and the anxiety just disappeared. I told my boys silly stories about things I had done. I told them about silly things they had done. I told them how proud I am of all of them. How so very talented each one is in his own way.

My heart felt so good after we had finished. I knew that I would have to rewrite the letters that I had originally written in my IoH application. I will have to write more than one letter to each person. It was an inspiring experience.

We were then sent to Bonefish Grill for our date. We shared our table with two other couples. We had good conversations and good food.

We met up with our kids when we got back to the hotel. I was worried that Max would be too refreshed to sleep, but he was ready for a full night’s sleep. The boys had had a lot of fun playing around at Universal. They had spent most of their time casting spells in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. They were totally satisfied with the day. Our poor volunteers look exhausted.

Someone once told me to learn something new everyday. I learned many new things on this day. It was a good day.

The Legacy Retreat Part II

I suppose I should cut any surprise anyone might have and admit that I used a wheelchair. It’s going to be visible in this post. I hate wheelchairs passionately. The last time I was stuck in one, I was so weak and in so much pain that I had trouble speaking. They evoke memories that I don’t like to revisit.

Now that I got the hate on wheelchairs out of the way, I will explain it.

Somewhere around November, I started having horrible back pain. I started limping and there were more than a few times when my right leg decided it was done being a leg. It happened once while I was going downstairs. About scared the pee out of me. But I didn’t spill my coffee.

My next scans showed that I had two compressed discs in my back. No idea when or why they happened. It explained the pain and the leg suddenly crapping out on me. My oncologist, Dr. C, actually happened to be around when it did its thing.

“Does this happen often?”

I had to admit that it did. He had an office assistant get a cane for me. It was one with four feet. I tripped over it instantly, cuz that is how I roll. My husband got me one with just one foot for Christmas. It is beautiful, with a raven as the handle.

When I filled out more paperwork in November/December for the retreat, I was asked if I would like to use a wheelchair. I chose to use a wheelchair just at the parks.

I started a new chemo in December. By early January, I was no longer limping. I gave up using my lovely cane. I still had an appointment with a pain doctor and kept it to ask him about this.

With my new chemo, I take a lot of steroids. The steroids took care of the back pain. I don’t need a steroid shot at the moment, I ingest enough to help. I am happy to take the pills if I don’t have to get that injection.

There were two things that I did not think of.

I get Zometa injections with my chemo. Zometa helps to keep my bones from falling apart. It has the scary side effect of necrosis of the jaw. I have to let my oncologist know if I will need any sort of jaw, tooth, or gum surgery. I take very good care of my mouth. I have never flossed so much in my life and I see my dentist twice a year.

Another side effect of Zometa is acute bone pain. This can be helped with Claritin. Yes, the allergy med. It has an ingredient that honestly helps with bone pain. Most of the time.

The second thing I did not consider were the Granix injections I take after my chemo. I get the Granix sent to my house and I inject myself for five days after my chemo. The Granix helps to plump up my white blood cells and keeps my immune system working decently. Chemo is really rough on the cells. Guess what one of the side effects can be. Yep. Bone pain.

When we left for Orlando, I had gotten an infusion two days prior. By the time we had arrived, I was having trouble standing up and some trouble walking. I was glad that I had asked for the wheelchair ahead of time.

Now that I have the long, drawn out version of the explanation taken care of, let’s get into February 1, Day 2 of the Retreat.

To start the day off right, we shook ourselves out of bed at 6:30 am. We had tickets for the breakfast buffet at Tradewinds. I have never had a buffet like this in my life. The cook made a custom omelet right in front of you. You could get fresh squeezed orange juice. If you wanted honey, you scraped it off of the honeycomb. It was amazing. I never did get an omelet, but I had scrambled eggs and oatmeal every morning. I am still trying to figure out how they made the eggs. They were the fluffiest, most delicious scrambled eggs I have ever had. I have tried many different styles of scrambling eggs since I got home and none of them are the same.

After breakfast, we went to our sessions. I wish I had written down the topics, but I won’t be writing about anything that was spoken in our groups, anyway. That is private.

After we got the boys from their groups, we headed out to the buses and loaded up. My mom was able to ride the bus with us. I wasn’t sure if she would be allowed. We were given our lunches that had been ordered in December. I couldn’t remember what I had ordered for everyone. It was kind of like Christmas.

Our first park was Magic Kingdom at DisneyWorld. I grew up going here pretty often. It still makes me smile.

We had five volunteers with us. They were awesome. Rob had the whole Fastpass thing down pat. I was in awe of his skills. The Fastpass is not something that I grew up with and I haven’t been to DW often enough in recent years to figure it out. We went on more rides than I think I have been able to go on since the ’90’s. The boys had fun. Gabriel had fun. I had a blast.

I didn’t go on all of the rides. There were some where I just wanted to watch my boys smile. It was a perfect day.

By the time 8pm rolled around, along with the first bus back to the hotel, we were ready to leave.

The hotel housekeeping had left us a few surprises. Milk and cookies and origami towels. The boys had a swan in their bathroom. It was no longer a swan when I tried to take a picture. Gabriel and I had Baby Yoda. Squee!

A funny bit of trivia to end this post: I found out that one of my volunteers has a daughter who has my brother as a teacher. It is a small world after all.

The Legacy Retreat Experience Part I

I feel like I don’t know where to start. I have so much to say and I just want to blurt everything out. Most of it I want to blurt out of order. I think this is why I am a better writer than a speaker.

In May 2019, I applied for a Legacy Retreat with Inheritance of Hope. I had heard about this nonprofit from one of my MBC support groups on Facebook. I actually started my application process in April. It took me a very long time to work on one of their requirements: writing letters to my family. I kept putting it off. I couldn’t seem to come up with the words. I will need to do them over. I will speak more on this later.

In July 2019, I got a call from Heidi on our way back from Seattle. She asked me a few questions and gave me a lot of information about what the retreat would entail. I had decided on the 2020 February Orlando one and was happy to find out that was the one for people with metastatic breast cancer.

We would meet in support groups everyday. Patients and caregivers, kids according to their ages. We would not just be dropped off at the theme parks and left to our own devices. Volunteers would be with us to help with kids, carry items, and so on. Main meals would be provided. Flight tickets and hotel fees would be taken care of.

I was a sobbing mess by the time I hung up the phone. It was so much more than I had expected.

February took forever to get here.

We arrived in Orlando on January 30. Our hotel would not be ready for us until January 31, so IOH put us in another hotel for the night. We were super exhausted and hungry. We ordered Applebee’s through Doordash. It was pretty awful. I knew the fries probably wouldn’t be great, but we were missing two orders of fries. Sol’s burger was missing its top bun. I’m not sure how that happens.

The kids were pretty happy to just go to sleep.

In the morning, after breakfast, our volunteers came to get us. There were a lot more of us staying in the hotel than I had guessed. We all boarded a bus. The volunteers put our luggage in the storage area. They were serious about making us let them help.

We took a little bit of time to settle in. Gabriel left with Rob, one of our volunteers, to buy swimming suits for the boys. Rob took the boys swimming and I just had to relax in a giant hammock. The boys had a blast.

The boys, including Gabriel, got to check out the hotel arcade. I think I took Max at that time to get a snack in the hotel Starbucks. We were both a bit peckish.

At around 3:00, we went back to the room to prepare for our family photo session.

I always kind of dread family pictures. My boys are wild and embrace that wildness. To the point that a lot of pictures are blurry. Jesse once had to get dental x-rays 5 times because his x-rays were blurry. It’s kind of an issue. I deal with it by reminding myself that the imperfect pictures are really the perfect pictures for us. I love those pictures more. I also love to laugh about them.

Our photographer was incredibly patient. We did a lot of walking around the pool and garden area. It was lovely. We had fun and managed to get a lot of really nice pictures. I also got a lot of pictures of my boys playing. One is evidence of Sol booping Sam on the nose. Caught ya, Bubba.

At 4:30, we were introduced to our Sessions. Gabe and I were in our own group, Sol was in the 14+, Sam and Jesse were in the same group, and Max was with the preschoolers.

I didn’t know what to expect. I had never been in a group with this many MBC patients. I figured we would discuss ourselves and it would be pretty light. Nope. I was near the end of the introductions and was already emotional from hearing the stories of the other moms and caregivers. I hate crying and I hate crying in front of other people. I just couldn’t hold it in.

The deluge was something I needed. I haven’t allowed myself many moments of crying in anger or fear or sadness. I felt like I needed to be strong, put on a good face, show my kids and the world that I am okay. I let out 3 1/2 years worth of tears in front of strangers. Probably because they intimately understood the frustrations I felt. I wasn’t happy about the tears, but I felt much better for it.

My mom had arrived by the time we were out of our sessions. I was not able to set up a lot of the same things for her that had been set up for me. Our dinner, for instance. She didn’t mind. Dinner was loud and busy.

At 6:30, we went to the fanciest, most casual, formal dinner ever. On my way into the ballroom/dining room, I mentioned to a volunteer that I was feeling really chilly. Less than 10 minutes after I sat down, I was draped in a blanket. These people don’t mess around.

We ate a four course meal, all of it delicious. We were introduced to people involved in creating our retreat. Elsa, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Buzz Lightyear made appearances. We made jewelry with the Kendra Scott people and got a few freebies from the Dillards folks.

The cheesecake was exceptional.

Jesse and Max had a blast dancing to the music. The little kids didn’t eat much of their food. There were so many distractions. I couldn’t complain. I knew how they felt.

Our first day on the Legacy Retreat had been practically nonstop and filled to the brim with activities. We left the ballroom maybe a touch early, but none of the kids complained about leaving. I was pretty thankful Nana Jan was there to help get the kids in bed. It didn’t take a lot, really. They collapsed and slept well.

Third Cancerversary

I have made three years. Fuck you cancer. I feel like this is a big ‘versary for me. I don’t know the exact statistics, but a large number of MBCers are only given about 3 years. Fuck you again cancer.

It has been a bittersweet year. I am thankful to still be here, but I have lost a large number of friends to this damned disease.

Marg was working on having two books published. Both of them were about Ann Lowe. One was to be a children’s book, the other was an adult book. If you don’t know who Ann Lowe was, please look her up.

Beth had planned on a girl’s day out horseback trip. I will do one in her honor with my kids.

Gloria had brain cancer. It took her from her family and friends way too quickly.

Mike had leukemia. He was a survivor. He was never supposed to leave before me. He was my personal trainer, mentor, and friend.

So many more.

I would love to give you the statistics on MBC, but I wouldn’t be able to give the correct numbers. Supposedly, I have a 27% chance of making it to the five year mark. However, metastatic breast cancer numbers are off. They only include the people diagnosed initially with MBC. These numbers do not include people who were diagnosed with an earlier stage of breast cancer who were then diagnosed later with Stage IV.

I feel like this post is more harsh than my previous cancerversary posts. I am dealing with pain at the moment and I am sure that is making me pretty snippy. Funny enough, the pain is not actually cancer-related. It’s a little ball of fluid (edema) that has decided to live in my ribs. If you look up edema, you will mostly find articles about legs and arms. There isn’t much info about abdominal edema. I get to have the weird one.

As per my usual, I went through a few different treatments this year. My current one is working really well for me. My biggest issue is that is a once a week chemo which then requires two days of going back in to get Granix shots. The Granix keeps my white bloods cell numbers up. My treatment is Paclitaxol or Taxol for short. Having to plan around three days of appointments has been difficult, bu it is keeping my cancer tame and I am genuinely thankful for that.

The year has not been full of just loss. Grief can just feel bigger than the good things at times.

I met my biological mom and brother last August and my sister and a niece just a few months ago in May. I have also met a cousin and have come into contact with numerous aunts, other cousins, nieces, and nephews. My family nearly doubled by coming into contact with my birth family and that is saying a lot. I have a ton of cousins and now I have a ton more. My heart is fuller.

We sold our wonderful little house and bought a bigger house with my in-laws so we could keep an eye on my in-laws. It was a good move, but it was also hard to leave my house.

Gabriel took me to Greece. It was amazing and magical. I really need to write about it and post pictures.

I took Samedi on a surprise trip to Orlando. I told him he had a doctor’s appointment and was going to have shots. Then we wound up at the airport. I had spent two years saving up for this trip and it was absolutely worth it. He had a blast at DisneyWorld and, even with rain, he loved Universal Studios.

Here’s to another year of staring cancer down, savoring the small things, and celebrating the big things. As always, Fuck Cancer.

Having fun with a new wig.

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