Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I am loved...

I know I have talked (written actually) about it before, but here I go again. One of the silver linings of this diagnosis is the amount of love I feel on a daily's really indescribable. Although I felt loved before, this is different, and very humbling. 

I am shy by nature. This may come as a surprise to some of you as I'm willing to share just about anything on this blog. But, it's true. I remember being a little girl, hiding behind my mother and her teasing me that the umbilical cord was still attached. I have been teaching special education students for 20 years, I am secure in my role, yet I still get hives during almost every meeting (ask my co-workers). That's one of the primary reasons I started loving scarves, as they can at least hide some of my neck that is covered in red blotches. That being said, I'm passionate about what I believe in and will not sit back and twiddle my thumbs if something is not right in my eyes...passion over shyness for sure! This is one more reason why I tell my story; I want to inform, educate, spread the word and put truth and a real "face" to, not only Metastatic Breast Cancer, but all the other things I feel passionate about.

As a result of me sharing my story, I have so many people (in addition to my family) motivating me to arise every morning and prepare myself to conquer the day with hope and determination. My anchors are abundant and keep me strong. I am loved.

My cousin participated in this year's local Street Painting Festival, dedicated his art to me and raised $200 for Metastatic Breast Cancer. Then he wrote this post on his blog. It truly left me speechless with teary eyes. I am loved.

I frequently receive gifts, many from people I know and others I have never met. Some gifts even come without signatures. I am loved.

I receive cards almost everyday. I think I'm close to 300 by now. The other day I received about a dozen pink cards made by some students at the school where I teach (taught). The cards and sweet messages fill my heart. I am loved.
People near and far are Leaping for Linda and leaving thoughtful messages for me on the Facebook Page. I am loved.

We have others mowing our lawn, driving our children places, and sending thoughtful text messages. My entire family can feel the love.

So, yes this Cancer thing is no picnic in the park and each and everyday is a struggle. I fear for what may come and sometimes my emotions overtake the moment I'm doing my best to enjoy. But, I am loved and I literally feel embraced by the kindness and caring of others. Not everyone has experienced this much love and most often we only share what we think of others after they are no longer with us. Hmmmm, why is that?   

All this attention is not that comfortable for me. But, I am very grateful to feel that I am loved, so thank you for that.

"I've never been interested in the event when I'm the center of attention."
-Helmut Lang

Thursday, October 15, 2015


On September 28th, I wrote this post and in it I mentioned that I was going for my first set of scans and that I would know the results later in the week. Now here it is October 15th and I have left those of you not privy to Facebook posts, hanging. I apologize for my lack of communication. Have I mentioned that this Big C thing and big doses of meds sometimes alters the thinking process? I'm sorry :(

So if you have been wondering, here is what I posted:

"The results of my scans from Monday show 
progress with shrinking the yuck. Things are 
moving in the right direction. Thank you for 
all the thoughts, prayers, positivity and 
genuine love. I truly can feel it. The plan 
is to keep doing the 3 week cycles with 2 
weeks on, one week off of the chemo pills. I 
will continue to have bloodwork and dr visits 
visits every 3 weeks, infusion for bones every 6 
weeks and scans every 12 weeks to be sure we 
continue to move in the right direction.
Uncertainty is one of the traits of this 
disease, however today is a very good day and 
helps give me the fuel to continue moving forward!"

As long as the medicine is working and my body is able to handle the side effects, I will continue on this regimen. In fact my special package arrived just yesterday.

It's not pleasant arriving home to have this package waiting for me, but I'm grateful that there is something to tame the beast and it's working! 

Round four of my battle of the beast begins on Saturday. Keeping the faith that I continue to be victorious each time.

Thank you once again for the well wishes, thoughts, prayers, and love. I'm grateful you're along for the ride. 

Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we
 do not see.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Be the light...

 This Big C thing is hard for me, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it is with the support of my anchors that I am able to keep moving anchors that I sometimes feel are forgotten.

In previous posts I have shared that it is often most difficult for me to deal with the fact that those who love me and are closest to me also have this cross to bear. It's hard not to feel guilty about everyone's life being turned upside down. I'm working on getting over that.

Those primarily affected by this nonsense are my family that I live with, my husband and my children, my mother and father, my bff soul sister and her family, and my brothers and their families. I have countless friends, relatives, and even strangers also traveling this treacherous road with me. The road is unknown, and is also dark and scary, not only for me, but for all those who so willingly have come along. We are all finding the path one day at a time. Some days we cruise through and other days we trip and fall. But we always always get back up.

I have such a sea of strong anchors, yet I often wonder who is taking care of them. They have each other for sure and that is powerful. But, they too, need to be supported, loved and lifted up throughout this process. 

Although I'm 43 years old(gulp), I'm still someone's daughter, a daughter with Stage IV Breast Cancer. I really cannot even begin to fathom what it's like to be given news like that about your child. My parents are unbelievably strong, faith-filled people who see the positive in situations. They always give 100% of themselves to others and now is no different, except that they are giving more like 200%. They run errands for me, transport their grandchildren to all the after school activities, send meals, fill my heart and do all things with sincere love. And these things are solely the things they are doing for me. They have two other children, jobs, and an aging mother. 

I am blessed they are two of my strongest anchors. 

Yes, I am the one diagnosed with MBC. I am the one who is tired, nauseous, and achy. I am the one taking over 75 supplements a day to ward off side effects. I am the one who swallows 84 chemotherapy pills every cycle. I am the one who has to have the injections, infusions, scans, and blood work. 

Yes, I am the one, but I am not doing this alone, I'm not allowed to because my anchors don't let me. I am supported, encouraged and loved beyond words on a daily basis. I am grateful. They drive me to appointments, lift me when I'm down, and laugh and cry with me. 

"Being loved deeply comes with a aren't allowed to hurt alone."


As I was writing this post, I started thinking about a pot of flowers. Think about what would happen if you only ever watered the flower in the middle of the pot.
It's important to water not only the flower in the middle, but all the flowers. Those flowers support and protect each other. Together all the flowers can be strong and beautiful.

That being said, we are all in this life together. We are here to support and love on one another. This doesn't mean developing an extravagant plan to help each other. Say hello, smile, ask someone how they are doing, what you can do to help, offer a meal, send a card, lend a listening ear, give a hug and just love and embrace them completely. Be the light that someone needs in the midst of the darkness. 
I'm a blessed person to know what is feels like to have others shine their light on me, as it happens daily. Now I'm just feeling like I'd like to share the light.

So, go forth and shine the light people. Spread love and kindness everywhere you go, especially to those in your own circle, in your own family, the ones who right now need it most. 

"Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Whole Story...

My brain is feeling like a crowded mess of thoughts and feelings so I'm not even sure where to begin. I have no idea where this blog post is headed, but I can say that it may be interesting, kind of like this trek I'm experiencing now in my own life.

In case you were unaware, it's October 1, the month of pink, talk about mammograms, survivors, and early detection. 
For the past few years I haven't really been a fan of all the pink reminders everywhere for an entire month. Now, I'm afraid I've progressed to dreading it. Having Metastatic Breast Cancer certainly changes the ballgame. I no longer fit into the specific box that breast cancer awareness chooses to focus on.
Before my diagnosis in June, I didn't get it. I knew about MBC and the fear of getting it lurked in my mind always, however I never clearly understood. Just like anything else in life, in order to "get it", you have to experience it. There is so much more to the story of breast cancer as compared to what is commonly seen, much more "beyond the pink". 

Before, when I saw stories on TV and pink survivor shirts, I could relate, but now I tend to yell at the TV or mumble under my breath. My story did not end with surviving early stage breast cancer, and I can no longer relate to most of the stories we hear on TV. My story continues, as it does for an estimated 154,999 other Americans. There is so much more to the story, and although it's not easy or pretty, it still needs to be told. The most common thing I hear, read or see repeatedly is that "early detection is key"...UGH, gets me all fired up. Why?  Well, early detection does NOT necessarily prevent the cancer from metastasizing, as is the case with me. Yes, some only find it in a late stage, but not all, not me.

-The 30% of people who develop MBC includes people who did detect their breast cancer early. 
-You do not die from early stage breast cancer.
-Only 2% of the funds raised for breast cancer goes towards MBC, meanwhile 98% of those diagnosed with MBC will die from the disease.

As I watched a story on TV this morning, I was pleased to hear a doctor say this: 

"The survival rate is going up, even for 

those with metastatic disease."

First, thank you for mentioning MBC and second, whoop, whoop...hopeful news for sure!

And now, I think I'll get off my soapbox...for the present time. I'm not finished though. Something needs to be done, the word needs to be spread and more funds need to be allocated to MBC so a cure can be found.

Feel free to share this post and spread the word. It's human nature to shy away from the things that make us uncomfortable, but this is too important to do such a thing. Strength comes from doing hard things, talking about stuff that makes us cry, and facing our fears. So please read the hard stuff, educate yourself and help to inform others.

If you so wish to educate yourself more on this topic, here are some links for pages and blogs. 

Thanks for reading and Happy Pinktober.