Sunday, January 31, 2016

Moments instead of milestones...

Four years ago, on this date, I had my mastectomy surgery to "rid" my body of the Big C. For the past three years it was a milestone for me because I was considered to be cancer free. With each passing year, I felt a little more reassured that it would not reappear. Mid June of this past year I obviously discovered I was wrong. Not only did it reappear, it seems it may not have been completely gone in the first place and has made a beastly return, attacking me physically and emotionally. The Big C and all it brought with it has changed me, and upon its return, it has continued to trigger my metamorphosis.

I can come up with quite a lengthy list of the negative changes, like surgeries, scars, and side effects of chemotherapy, but who wants to listen to that. Instead, I will mention, again, the ways that the Big C has done me some good. (Now that just sounds ridiculous, but it is true.) It has revealed some things that I may have otherwise never seen. 

It has made evident the loving people I have in my life who continue to shower daily blessings upon me. 

I know now that I am more of a fighter than I ever thought I could be. 

I'm more grateful for the everyday, mundane moments in my life. 

I am a positive person because that is how I was parents are two of the most positive, faith-filled people I know. 

My brothers are sensitive humans like me. 

My BFF soul sister is truly like no other (I did know that already though). 

I'm more appreciative of the everyday moments with my children, even if it's during a battle to do math homework. 

And, I'm more in love with my husband and it continues to grow deeper on a daily basis.  

Of course I'm still a work in progress, like all of us, and I continue to try to improve.

I try not to get caught up in the trivial things, like dirty clothes on the floor, messy rooms, or...math homework.

I try to have more faith and not freak out with every twinge of something going on in my body. One of my doctors said to me, "You can actually have some things that happen not due to the cancer." Good point. A headache could just be a headache, not specifically due to the yuck in my brain. I'm still trying to do my best to find the peace.

I try not to look back and think about how my life could be without this just makes it all that more difficult to move forward. 

So, perhaps milestones tend to be too big to focus on, so I will choose to seek the moments instead. I will hike this mountain one step at a time and see where it takes me. 

Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dare to live...

When I go to my Energy Healer almost every week, I listen to Andrea Bocelli. This song is in my rotation of songs. It's powerful, both the music and the words. I dare you to listen to it and not be motivated to go out in the world and "Vivere"(live).

Since initially being diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2011, I've found that my love for music has actually become one of the crucial factors in my healing. Lyrics that I may not have paid such close attention to back before this nonsense mean something different for me now. With this recent diagnosis I'm even more inspired to cling to the words and the messages. 

Some songs get my cry on, some make me want to dance, some relax me, and some motivate me to kick some A#%! All of them are part of my healing and growth to carry on. 

Rachel Platten's song is a new favorite.
and then there is "Fight Song",
when one cannot resist the urge to belt it out along with her...when I'm in the shower...and no one is home. Otherwise I could inspire my family to move away.

Go listen to your favorite music, get inspired, inspire others and most of all, Dare to Live. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Checking in...

It's been almost two weeks since my last post, so I guess that means it's time to check in. Things are pretty much the same here, which is fine with me. We like routine, especially when it's uneventful. I just finished a two week cycle of my chemo pills and for the first time since starting, I did not have to take any anti-nausea medicine...whoop whoop.

I also visited my Natural Path Doctor last week and he is very pleased with my progress and response to both the chemotherapy and the supplements he has prescribed. And, in case you missed this on Instagram or Facebook, this would be a 2 month's supply of my supplements. I'm currently taking about 55 supplement pills per/day along with some liquids. Sounds like a ridiculous amount right? I agree, but this is part of why I'm going in the right direction. This doctor is helping my body to work better and respond to the chemotherapy in the best way possible. I'm so thankful to have him as part of my Team.

I've also recently started Vitamin C infusions and I should be at the therapeutic level by this week. We are hoping the Vitamin C will help to shrink the beast even more. 

My treatment is currently working. I am so very grateful.

Thank you for the continued blessings I receive on a daily basis. I couldn't do it without the loving encouragement I receive from all those supporting me.

Between all my appointments and my full-time job of kicking the Big C's butt, we are living life and enjoying the first snowfalls of the winter.

"The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now. 


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I can do hard things...

It's been a tough week to stay grounded around here. First there was the surprise loss of David Bowie and then yesterday on the way home from my Vitamin C infusion, 
 I felt like someone punched me in the gut after reading that another MBC fighter passed away. Stupid F$%&ing Cancer!

I became familiar with Holley Kitchen after my diagnosis in June. She was a fighter and a voice for all of us with this disease. She had a husband and two young sons. Her most recent goal was to make it to her son's 5th birthday in several weeks; sadly she did not. This seemed to happen so fast, and is really unfair and devastating. Not only am I completely heartbroken for her family, selfishly, it scares me so much. No two situations are the same, even when the diagnosis is, however, my story has some similarities, hits VERY close to home and crushes my heart. 

Saying this is hard stuff is a gross understatement. It's harder than hard!
So, although it's difficult to imagine I can, I'll hold on even tighter these days and enjoy each and every daily gift I get with all those I love. There is no better way to stick it to the Big C.

Holley became well known in the MBC community for this powerful video that she shared on Youtube.

RIP Holley, and in honor of you, I will keep fighting, kicking ass and LIVING with gratitude and joy.

Stage 4 Needs More.
When the breast cancer charities call you, I challenge you to ask them how much of their raised money goes to metastatic disease. I haven't found one yet that can answer this question. Maybe it's our job to educate them. Meanwhile if you'd like to donate to breast cancer research, thank you and the charity called Metavivor is a good one.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Finding peace...

When the doctor enters the room with a smile on her face, I know I can exhale a big sigh of relief.  Yesterday, that is just what happened. She knows to immediately give me the news as she walks in, as I sit there basically holding my breath. Her words yesterday were, "You have some great looking scans."

The spots are stable and I have some slight shrinking of a spot on my lung. There is also evidence of healing going on in my bones. Stable, if you didn't know, is the new black. I'm so grateful for yet another step in the right direction. 

So you'd think that I'd be doing cartwheels and jumping up and down with pure bliss today...I am not. I could not be more thankful for the news I received yesterday; it absolutely lifted some of the weight off my shoulders and reassured me that I continue to move forward and am meant to have more time in this world. But still, it's hard for me to find the peace. Some may hear this and think I "need to stop and enjoy the good news". To that I say, I'm slowly learning how to do just that. But often I find myself  in a constant state of protecting myself against these monsters. It's hard for me to rest and take off my suit of armor for a little bit. 

This doesn't mean I am not happy and excited about my news. It means I'm just not quite ready to ever put my sword down. I'm still trying to find the balance between being a fighter and just regular ole me. It's not easy.

I share merely to express my truth. Please don't feel bad or empathetic. So many of you are right in this yuck with me, cheering me on, sharing positivity, loving me and even offering to hold my shield while I put it down for a short time.xo

Thank you for helping me to find the peace. I will get there; I'm sure of it. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Beating Cancer...

To abruptly bring me back to reality, I had scans today. It's really not the scans that stress me out too much, but rather what the results of the scans will tell me about the monsters in my body. I will know on Thursday. I'm hoping for it to follow the same trend as it did twelve weeks ago. I did have a preview because I had my brain MRI a bit early due to my eyes doing some funky things. I was relieved to get good results from that and my doctor went so far as to say "Your MRI looks great! Everything is shrinking." It was the best Christmas gift I could have gotten.

Although life is full of uncertainties, having an incurable disease is even more difficult to predict. The Big C is unpredictable. The scans every twelve weeks are to monitor the yuck and make sure things are still headed in the right direction. The side effects of the chemo pills are constant and ever changing, and sometimes I don't know what is causing what. Is it indeed the chemo, the Big C or just something that has nothing to do with either? Each cycle seems to get a bit better and I'm learning what works and what doesn't. I also continue to challenge myself to let go of the things that I just can't figure out. That is not always easy, as I like to know the cause and solution to everything. But, this is just one more thing this diagnosis is teaching me. I'm learning that sometimes I have to let go and let be; I cannot have control over it all. 

However, there are some things I can control, like the way I live my life each day in spite of the monsters. The Big C will never win if I live daily life to its full capacity.

 When I see phrases like "...lost her 5 year battle to cancer", I am profoundly sad. One, because there is another death due to stupid Cancer and two, because these people who have probably fought harder than they ever did in their entire lives are considered to be "losers" of the battle. Most were fighters, living each day as best they could and even when they could fight no longer, they should still be considered winners because of how they lived. We can't let the Big C have the last word. It doesn't deserve that recognition. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Holidays, New York and a wedding, oh my!

....and exhale! Since Christmas Eve, we have been non-stop, thus the lack of blogging. It's been fun, but now I'm ready for some routine. For four days we celebrated Christmas, then we took a quick trip to New York and last night, on New Year's Eve, we attended a wedding. I'm exhausted! But, here are some pictures to represent all the great moments we had during the past week. 

Family Christmas celebrations for four days in a row, filled with love, and some overtired children.

We did a lot in New York in a short period of time, including walking everywhere. I have to admit, I am proud of the way my body handled the non-stop pace. Although I still have a long way to go and everyday life continues to be a struggle, it was a reminder of how far I have come since the start of this 6 months ago.

And then there was a wedding celebration. I kept feeling very emotional throughout the night, but that's another post for another day. Mostly, the husband and I danced...a lot. It was good, for both of us.