My Journey

On this blog I intend to document my journey through Breast Cancer again. Yes again. This will be my second go with this disease and I figured this would be a great way to communicate with my family and friends and keep them informed as to what is going on with me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

How is it that you can hurt so bad for someone you know? I feel as if I was just diagnosed again with Cancer. That feeling of depression, of uncontrollable emotion and that feeling of just wanting to be alone has come over me all over again. One of my best friends just informed me that she has Breast Cancer.

I met Kelly 13 years ago through my ex-husband. She is the wife of his best friend Eric and even through my divorce, Kelly, Eric and I have remained friends. Each year they pack their things from Connecticut and head down hear for the Daytona 500. We have been spending that time together for YEARS!! For the most part, that is the only time that we get to see each other. Since my diagnosis, Kelly has sent me so many things to lift my spirits. She is such a generous and giving person that she made sure that I knew that she was thinking of me. She now has 2 beautiful girls and is about 8 months pregnant with her 3rd. Today, she told me that she has Breast Cancer. Can you imagine?? Being told that you have Cancer while still carrying your 3rd child? She will have surgery next week to remove the cancerous area and to find out how bad it is. PLEASE PRAY that it has not gone to her lymph nodes!! She will then need to wait 6 weeks, then they will deliver the baby. Immediately after that she will begin Chemo.

She has given me what her treatment plans looks like it is going to be based on her conversation with her Oncologist and luckily I have been through it. She will go through the Chemo that will make her really sick and her hair will fall out. I have given her some things to expect, but as it comes closer, we will talk some more. Matter of fact, I am having additional surgery shortly after my honeymoon and once I am able to move around, I plan on going up there to go with her to some of her treatments. She said that she may start her own blog, so if she does, I will be sure to let everyone know. She truly has been a strong force in my life, whether she knows it or not. She is one of the most understanding people I know. No matter what I did in my life, she was still there to support me (even though some of the decisions I made were horrible!). Now it is my turn to be there for her. I have to be honest with you though, I don't know that I quite understand all of this. This is going against everything. The chances of friends like she and I having the same type of Cancer is rare. Why did she have to get it? Why couldn't I have gotten it again? I mean, I have gone through it twice. What is one more time? Don't get me wrong, I know that she will get through this, really I do, but it is going to suck!! I don't wish this upon anyone and knowing that she is going to have to face it just hurts my heart so bad!

Well, before I go I just want to give everyone an update on me. Not that this is anything compared to what Kelly is going through right now, but I don't want anyone not to know. I have been having some issues again in my pelvic area and I had a follow up appointment with my OBGYN. It appears that my Endometriosis is back and I have to have a Hysterectomy. I will be doing that on June 4th. I will keep everyone updated as that gets closer.

Please pray for my friend Kelly and her family. Pray that they are able to come to an understanding about all of this. I know it is difficult, even for me, to understand why this is happening right now.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It is hard to believe that my last post was about a month ago. Since then I have gone through another treatment and also had another MUGA test (heart test) done, which my heart function is up to 59%!! Yeah!!! For those of you that don't recall.. My heart function can not drop below 50% or they will have to pull me off of Herceptin. Not that it would be a big deal. They would just wait for my heart to repair itself and then start the treatments back up. So, everything is going along great and there are no issues at this point! You will hear no complaints out of me!!

I wish that I could say the same for someone I used to know. I guess you could say that we still know each other. I found out that she too has breast cancer and it sounds like it is identical to mine. Same diagnosis, same stage, same treatments and she is, I think, 32. Another young women to be diagnosed. My heart has been going out to her and I remember when I was first diagnosed. I was bombarded with people who knew people and their phone numbers and things that I should do, Doctors I should go see. That gets tiring!! I sent her a little care package through a friend at work, whose wife is her best friend. I know that she has no clue as to why I put certain things in there, such as lotion and soap for sensitive skin. or heart pillows. By the way, those heart pillows were AWESOME!! I was given those to put under my arms after surgery. They went everywhere with me!!

I want to call her, cause you just don't find many women our age with breast cancer and the same diagnosis. I don't think many people realize the many different diagnosis there are out there for breast cancer. Anyway, I don't want her to think that I am being pushy, but I so want to be there for her. Regardless of the person she is now. We knew each other when we were in our early teens. How do you reach out to someone without seeming so pushy? I want to visit her, I want to help her get through this! It sounds like she is a positive person and so was I, but no one knows what I went through inside sometimes. Only someone who has gone through the things I went through could relate to me and help me understand. I was constantly searching for answers, searching for statistics, which I still do. Having someone there my own age and had gone through what I was going through would have really helped me out! Well I really hope that I figure out the best way to approach her or I hope that she would feel comfortable enough to reach out to me.

On another note....pray for my sister Marie and her best friend Casey. Casey just lost her brother to a drunk driving accident Monday night. Her family has had alot of heart ache lately and just pray that she and her family finds peace and understanding through this tough time. Pray that she continues to see God in all things. Please also pray for my sister Marie. She has had so much going on lately. Between helping with Casey's kids, caring for her 2 daughters (one who has been sick on and off), she has been taking care of the house while her husband goes out of town for work. This past Saturday she found out that she has to put her dog down. Amos has been with her for 13 years. He was 8 weeks old when she got him and he does not leave her side. He has advanced Heart Disease, partially blind in one eye, blind in the other, going deaf and now he has a brain tumor. This brain tumor could hinder Amos from being able to tell right from wrong. This is just not a good combination for a family that has 2 small children. It is the right thing to do now as his quality of life isn't all that great right now and Marie knows that, but it is still hard. It is like loosing one of your children. Just pray for her!! She has gone through so much since she has moved to Kansas and she needs all the support and prayer she can get!!

By the way......48 days til Darryl and I get married!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

OH MY!!!!

OH MY!!! How someone from my elementary school found my blog is beyond me!!! My boss came up to me today and told me that she often checks my blog and while checking it today, she saw a new comment from someone that thought they might know me. Well she does!!! Sonya could I ever forget the very small, redheaded, sweet girl that lived not to far from me! I would love to catch up and see how things are going with you Sonya!! Please email me and we can exchange phone numbers.

While I am here, might as well update everyone on what is new with me. I had some friends come down from Connecticut, like they do every year to go to the Daytona 500. Most of you know that I live 20 mins from the track, so it makes it easy for them just to stay with me. Needless to say I had 9 adults and 2 kids staying with me this weekend, but it was very nice. We did not rush around and do anything other than the race. Usually we are rushing each day to do something different and it was perfect this year.

As far as the wedding plans go.. things are right on track!! We met with the caterer the other day, I have picked up the bridesmaids dresses, booked the photographer, priced out table and tent rentals, picked out tuxes, have my table favors, table centerpieces and table cloths, booked the rehearsal dinner as well as the ceremony and reception site, have my dress and have lost 6 out of 20 pounds!!! I say that I am not doing too bad. Now if only my sister would help me pick out the flower girl dress!! hint..hint...Marie!!!

Now to the "Cancer" thing. I realize that most of you log on to find out what is going on with that and not to read about everything else in my life!! I had another treatment last Thursday. Along with that treatment I had a Dr visit. He said that everything looks to be going well! I will have my normal 3 month heart check up on March 5th. Last time it was at 54% and as long as my heart continues to function above 50%, I am fine. If it drops below that, then they will need to take me off for a little while and let my heart repair itself. That is the good thing about the heart!! I was a little tired yesterday, which is normal a couple of days after my treatment, but nothing that horrible. I won't have another PET scan for another 3 months, but I am not really worried about that.

That pretty much sums up my life right now! It is absolutely wonderful!! God has blessed Darryl and I in so many ways and we are very grateful to him for that!! GINGER.... please let me know how Tana is doing. I know that she is probably overwhelmed right now as I first was and didn't want anyone else butting in. Even if they had been through it, but I just need to know that she is doing ok and if there is anything that I can do such as bringing dinner by, running errands etc.. please let me know. Again, it doesn't matter if she talks to me or not, just tell me the mission and I will take care of it no questions asked!!

Have a God Blessed day!!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Well, once again I failed you. I have not kept up my promise to keep everyone informed and for that I am truly sorry! I hope you forgive me!! Since November things have really changed. First off, I went for my second opinion with the Doctor from St. Vincent's and I absolutely loved him and the whole office. He recommended the exact same treatment as my other Doctor, which I wasn't too surprised of. He did stress though that he wanted to keep a close eye on me. That made me feel pretty good. So now I am doing my "Herceptin" treatments every 3 weeks. The only side effect that I am noticing is that I tend to get a bit more tired a couple of days afterwards. Just feels like I stayed up too late or something.

Had my normal PET and Bone scans in December and as of now, there is no cancer!! I am officially in remission!! I am also back to work full time. It felt really good to get back in the groove of things and I didn't realize how much gratification I got out of my work. Everyone has been so supportive and so loving. I don't think that I could work with a better bunch of people. You get right down to it and they all have big hearts!! Not only am I in remission, but I am also now engaged!! Darryl proposed to me on Thanksgiving in front of his family and my mother. It was absolutely beautiful!! He had it all planned out and had it video taped. We are going to have our friends Chris (bridesmaid) and Jerry (her fiance) tape the wedding on the same tape. The big day is May 12th and I have pretty much have most of it done. Although.. I am having dreams that I don't have anything done!! My sister Marie has graciously accepted to be my matron of Honor and my bridesmaids my bestfriend Angel, my very good friends Chris and Jessica and my precious cousin Jenny. We could have had a lot more in the wedding, but we really needed to limit it to 5!! We have been blessed with friends and family that we dearly care about.

A couple of months after the wedding, I plan on having my reconstructive surgery. My current Doctor said that this would be fine since the Chemo that I am on is not affecting my immune system. I will make sure to keep you informed as to what is going on. I might now write each week, but I will provide updates. Until then, have a God Blessed Day and I truly thank you for your support!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rounds 3 and 4....NOT so good!!! Went for Round 3 last week and had an allergic reaction to the chemo Taxol. Apparently, what I thought was anxiety on weeks 1 and 2 were actually reactions to this chemo. By round 3 I was having severe chest pains that felt like they were going into my throat. Little did I know it, but that was not good!!! It was beginning to constrict my throat. They pulled me off of it and gave me a large dose of steroids. It stopped within 5 mins. They said that the reactions get worse each time you administer it and that is why it wasn't too bad the first 2 times. They talked about reviewing it when I returned this week for my 4th treatment and possibly putting me on something else. I was worried about the side affects of this new chemo as I have been doing rather well on this one. I have been tired, more so this week than any and I have begun loosing a little hair. Nothing noticeable yet. Oh...have I mentioned that I am gaining weight??? I am blaming that on the steroids.

So I went in yesterday for Round 4 and to see what new chemo they would be giving me. Well, it was God working because I was praying that the affects not be that bad and well, my Oncologist took me off of that chemo all together and has decided not to give me anything else in its place. Not only that, but my weekly treatments have now been reduced to every 3 weeks of Herceptin only. I was extremely upset!!! Here I was praying that the Chemo that they give me not make me sick and now I was praying for them to give me something!! I was very scared! I felt like that I just lost that extra insurance that would make sure that the cancer was gone and that it was little extra added bonus to the Herceptin. I felt out of control once again! He told me that basically my cancer was not responding to the chemo that is out there for Breast Cancer. He said that I had 3 out of the 4 the first time I went through this and they obviously didn’t work since the cancer came back and now the 4th one would be deadly for me to continue. What do you say to that? I keep thinking that there has got to be something else out there!! Everything that I have read so far says that Herceptin works best when combined with a Chemo. That has now been taken away from me. Does that mean that my chances of the cancer either still being there is greater or that the cancer will return? I know that this drug Herceptin is supposed to be great!! It treats the most aggressive Breast Cancer that is out there, which is what I have, but how can I ensure that? They have taken one step out that I thought was key to my treatment.

So I say that God must be working in this cause after speaking to my wonderful boyfriend Darryl and my good friend Vicki they made me realize that maybe I don’t need the additional Chemo. Maybe the cancer is gone and this is God’s way of saying “There is no need for you to continue with these side affects. You are healed.” At Praise and Worship practice the other night we talked about what was keeping you from turning your back on the world and to turn to God instead. Most of us said FEAR. It is nice to hear that others have the same thoughts as you because that is my thing. Fear. Fear of surrendering all of yourself with full trust. Who can do that?? I want to so bad, so here I go……… I will trust in him that all things will be taken care of. If I fall, I will get up and put my trust in him once again. I am still scared. I am still scared that in two weeks when they do my PET scan and bone scan, they will find that the cancer has spread. I have been asking for a bone scan for a couple of weeks now. I get these feelings sometimes that I just want to go away!! It is like I already know what is going to happen sometimes. So I will say aloud “I rebuke this.” I am not perfect and I know that I will fall and I won’t be strong all the time, but I will get through this. I guess it is the “not knowing” once again that gets to me. My control factor kicks in.

Here are the positives out of this. No more hair loss, no more fatigue, no more sinus issues, no more digestive issues, no more of my body feeling like it is on FIRE, no more weekly Dr Appts with my oncologist and no more weekly blood tests. It will still take roughly 3 weeks for the remaining chemo that is in body to go away. I will still have these side affects until then.

I will still continue to do some research to make sure that this is my best option. I have already contacted the Cancer Centers of America and I plan on making an appointment with an Oncologist at St. Vincent’s Hospital for a second opinion. I figure that between the second opinion and prayer I will get the answers I need. Until then, please pray that I gain the peace that I need to deal with this.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Round 2.......So far so good. I have completed 2 rounds of weekly Chemo treatments and have come out fine. Don't get me wrong I have had a couple of side effects, but nothing like my last treatments. I have had some minor bone aches, one nose bleed, some digestive issues and a little tired from time to time. This I can handle as long as it stays this way.

We did the Race for the Cure yesterday, which was awesome!! I am hoping to be on the planning committee for next year's race. I really want people to understand that there is another face of breast cancer and that is younger than the age of 40. I can't wait to start getting more involved in the fight. I began reading this book called "Nordies at Noon". It is about 4 women who were diagnosed with Breast Cancer at an early age. One at the age of 24, two at the age of 27 and one at the age of 30. All of them began putting their efforts into one organization or another to help with the fight and I want to do the same. The book is wonderful and I suggest it for all to read. If you want to know what I have gone through, this book details it very well. It is amazing to me that we all end up having the same thoughts and feelings about this disease. Everyone deals with things so differently that I really assumed that we would all have different questions and different thoughts, but as it turns out we really do think the same. I always thought that I was just paranoid about everything, but these women felt the same and were able to put their thoughts down on paper in their own words.

I go back to work tomorrow. Part time for now atleast until I am done with my weekly treatments. I will work a minimum of 4 hours Monday through Thursday and get my treatments on Friday. It will be good for me to get back in the swing of things. I will let you all know how it is working out. I know I continue to say it, but again, Thank you for all the Prayers!! I know that is the only reason that I have been able to get through this is my faith in God and my support from my wonderful family and friends. Love you!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Just wanted to share with everyone some pics of the day of my mastectomy.

Here is Darryl trying to take my place. That's real sweet, but I think the Docs might figure it out!!

I love this one!! Here is my mom, my dad and my Darryl!!

My Dad!! Need I saw more??

Going into surgery. Eileen wishing me luck!! She loves pink as much as I do as she is also a Breast Cancer survivor!!!

As some of you know, I was on TV the other night, so some of you saw some pictures of me RIGHT after surgery. I can't believe they chose those!! I choose not to put those on on my blog as they are not flattering!!! Once was enough!!

I met with my Oncologist on Monday to discuss what the next steps are. Looks like I have about a years worth of Chemo. For the next 3 months I will have Chemo once a week. They will be using Herceptin and Taxol, which according to the Dr, have very little side affects. I will then have Chemo once every 3 weeks for 9 months. For this they will use Herceptin again.

All who know me, know that I always end up with the side effects. Not trying to be negetive at all, but it is the truth!! Needless to say I am still stand offish about it. Taxol could cause some hair loss, thinning or not at all and could also cause mild bone aches. Herceptin weakens the heart function and could cause flu like symtoms. It affects the way the heart pumps. Because of this they will do a "MUGA" test, which monitors this, every 3 months. They assure me that Heart Failure is a very small percentage and I also found information on the web to back this up. If anyone would like to look into this you can go to I will also have a PET Scan every 3 months as well as have my blood drawn once a week for 3 months. I guess I need to get used to needles again!! I have been getting very sqeemish lately.

I go for my first "MUGA" test this Friday to get a baseline on my heart functionality. Then next Friday, October 13th, I will begin Chemo. Wish me luck!! They say that I should be able to work along with having Chemo, so we will see. I haven't decided yet if I will return to work before my first Chemo or wait until I get my first dose and see how I react. It is extremely confusing!! I had my staples removed yesterday and do not have to see my surgeon again until they need to remove my port, which will be about 2 years unless I have any complications before then. There is one more Dr visit that I can delete from my calendar each week!!

One last thing.... I just want to thank my sister Marie for taking an entire week away from my darling nieces and her annoying husband (just kidding "other guy") to take care of me while I was recovering. This was the first time away from her girls and it was a huge sacrifice! THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU more than you know!!!

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