Friday, October 18, 2013

Pink is a color of Fall!

I have always loved fall. I love the crisp air. I love sunny fall days. I love the fall colors of red, orange, yellow, brown and pink! It is October. You know what that means.....fall, football, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month! I love pink in the fall. Sure it has taken away from decorating for Halloween a bit, but I will take it. Pink is my new favorite color and October is the month to celebrate that.

 This year I feel so much more at peace with this. Last year, I think I was still a bit reluctant to participate as a Survivor. I was still in the beginning..well 6 months treatment. But now, with my diagnosis of no evidence of active cancer I feel that I want to let everyont know that it is Breast Cancer Awareness month! I am still here! I am still fighting! and I am a SURVIVOR! 

Next week, I have another scan to see how things are again. Am I nervous? Maybe a bit. But not as nervous as I have been before. But why wouldn't I be nervous? There is always that little bit of wonder when you go in. It is human nature I think to have a little self doubt. But I just tell myself that it is all good! It has to be. And besides I have conferences at the end of next week to take my mind off it. It is all in a day's life for me. Get up...take my cancer pills...go teach kindergarten...take my kids to soccer....make dinner....go to bed...wake up and do it all over again. That is my life. And then every three weeks I go have my infusion of Herceptin. It is a bit odd I will admit. I park at the end of where I take my students to the busses. Walk across the street to where I park on those Fridays and leave to go enter another world. The cancer, infusion world. I have to say, so far it has been welcomed. It is nice to just sit for that hour and relax. I bet that is a first. Someone thinking that an infusion is relaxing. But it is. I am forced to sit and put my feet up. Last week I had a cold so I got an isolated room with a bed. I laid back and enjoyed the quiet. Because just and hour before that I had been getting 24 kindergarteners packed up and out the door! But again..It is what it is! It is life. Yes, sometimes it is a struggle to know that I am still sick on the inside but looking fine on the outside. But mostly, it just makes me grateful and lucky that I can celebrate and walk around as a survivor.

Well, I just wanted to update a bit. Most of you follow me on facebook too so you know what is going on. But for those of you I don't see on facebook.... I am doing well. I am awake. I am alive and I am if someone could just pay my bills it may truly feel like heaven.
Hope your day is great , Thanks for spending it with me :)
DJ Danny DwyerThat about sums it up!

 Portrait of me from a student! Pink of course!

IMAG1217.jpgStill rocking the pink tutu!


 Still my reality every three weeks! But I still fight!

 And a Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness month!

Monday, May 20, 2013

No Evidence of Active Cancer......But......

Why is it that each day seems to pass slowly, but when you look back you can't help but ask "Where has the time gone?"

 February 6, 2012 was one of the worst days of my life. "You have cancer."

 But, April 29, 2013 was one of the best.."No evidence of active cancer." Words really can't express how you feel when you hear that. I was actually a bit numb and at a loss for words..yep, I did not know what to say. Especially since I knew what was coming next. "Treatment isn't over"

That is one of the misconceptions with cancer. Just because the cancer is not active at this time, we don't stop treatment. And for me, and my type of cancer, means we don't stop treatment for quite awhile. In fact, we don't have an end date. We are in the maintenance phase. We don't stop doing what's working. We don't want those cells to grow back. In fact, I am writing this on my phone as I sit in the treatment chair.

 It is a whole different mind set at this time. Mostly, I do get a little ticked off. Especially since the outrageous bills keep rolling in. That is what pisses me off the most. Bill after bill. And some of the people aren't very nice when I call to make arrangements for payment. I am so grateful for all donated in the beginning. It kept us going. But with my medical bills, Nicks ACL surgery and now Evans injury, it is more than I can take sometimes. And we have insurance, I can hardly stand to think what it would be if we didn't. And of course we are middle class so the availability of aid is non-existant. And we know what teachers make, let alone a substitute. I don't have sick days to take. If I don't work I don't get paid. But enough of that.

 So, although I am elated that I have so far kicked cancer's a$$, It is bittersweet because treatment continues. But I will choose this, and all the side effects that come with it (the sores in my nose are the worst) because I choose life. But what I do know is that it is the cost that makes me more discouraged than anything. But I will do what I will continue to do, trust in the Lord. Trust that everything, including finances, will work out. So, I will just continue to repeat my favorite verse and all will be okay! "I am not alone for the Lord is with me." John 16:32

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy Cancerversary :/

Well, here we are. One year later. Today is my one year anniversary of diagnosis. One year ago today, I heard the worst news anyone would ever want to hear. "You have cancer." My life felt turned upside down. I remember being so scared of the unknown. I was entering a new path of my life in which I had to give up a lot of control. I have said before how I don't like surprises and this one was a biggie! For the last year I have had to give up that control and just trust that what the doctors were doing and that all the prayers out there was working. 

Well, I can say with certainty that It Is WORKING! Although I am not completely free of disease, I can say that it won't be long until I am. 

At one point I never thought that could be possible. I was stage 4 just 12 short months ago. This cancer had metastasized to parts of my body in which it was not possible to cut it out. "Traditional" chemo did not work for me. My strain, type, etc. was resistant to many types of chemo drugs. So, I chose a non traditional chemo and decided to starve this cancer by eliminating from my body what fed it....estrogen. With removal of my ovaries and nine months of heavy drugs at home (Tykerb and Femara) and infusion of Herceptin, now every three weeks, I am starving this cancer right out of my body. 

As of my last scan, there was just a little nugget visible in the lymphnode (and I should add that there is still mysterious showings on my spleen). But, this cancer is leaving town. And that lump in my breast, IT IS GONE!!!!

It hasn't been just me going through this, however. Sure, I am the one with the aches of an 80 year old. I am the one with the hot flashes of a menopausal woman, and the unmentionable trips to the bathroom. But it is my family that has gone through this too. And my huge support system of friends and family that have prayed for me, brought my family food, taken my children to practice. And most of all my husband who has been there and cried with me. 

My journey isn't over, but we are getting there. I have to change my mindset now and realize that this is a chronic disease that I have. Much like diabetes or MS. I have to live with it every day and fight to make myself better. I live with the side effects of the meds because that is just how it is. I eat healthier (try to) because this is what is working. 

So keep following me, because I am not done. I have more to do. I will rejoice the day my scans finally say NED (no evidence of disease) But until then, I will keep on going, because there just isn't any other choice. And I will keep singing my song..courteous of Kelly Clarkson..because "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and this cancer definitely has. 

surgery day

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

And a few pics of the last year.....
A bunch of crazy people walking in the rain for me! 
my MOPS ladies! A fun reunion!

my niece Emma in her "Aunt Donna Shirt"
Someone I barely know walking in my honor
my Vegas Family!