2007 Breast Cancer 3 Day

Monday, November 05, 2007


As November rolls in, the spirit of Thanksgiving comes with it. Truth be told, I'm normally itching for Christmas by now and Thanksgiving comes and goes without much fanfare. We eat a lot of turkey and think on our many blessings, but I'm really pushing for Christmas to arrive. I love Christmas. Everything about the season makes my spirit sing. This evening though I am finding myself grateful for the many blessings in my life.

My 2 year cancer anniversary was on Friday. It came and went like any other day, but today I am feeling thankful. Many women don't get to celebrate a 2 year anniversary. Many women lose their battle to soon. I don't know the plans the Lord has in store for me, but I hope that I never take for granted the time that He has graciously allowed me. One day He will call me home and cancer may be my ticket, but for now I am living without cancer and grateful for every day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I came, I walked, it's finally over

I want to thank all of the people who supported me both financially and emotionally has I prepared for the 3Day. It was an amazing experience!

I sadly didn't get to complete all 60 miles. I walked 20 miles the first day and was ready for day 2, but my hips and feet didn't cooperate. I had huge blisters on the soles of my feet which I could've pushed through, but my hips had other plans. I knew they may be a problem as I had some pain while training. On day 2 I walked (read: hobbled) 6 more miles before my 3Day was over. I had to take the bus back to camp and after much consideration and many tears decided it was in my best interest not to walk on day 3. The important job was done before I ever took my first step--fundraising. The money you donated will go to help find better treatments and hopefully a cure for this horrible disease. I'm so thankful for those that gave long before I was ever diagnosed. Those dollars helped save my life. Thank you again!

My dear friend Bridget is unbelievable. She completed all 60 miles! She's such an inspiration to me and I'm so happy that I was able to share this experience with her. Bridget, I love you!!

I've been asked already if I will do this again. I don't know that I will be able to walk it again, but I am considering participating as one of the volunteer crew members. It was an amazing experience and it would be great to be a part of it again some day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Surgery Scheduled

I met with the gynecological oncologist today and really liked her. We have scheduled a complete hysterectomy for February 4th. And as Forest Gump would say, "that's all I have to say about that."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Giving Up More of Myself to Save Myself

My appointment Friday went as expected. I am now scheduled to see a gynecological oncologist on the 18th. This appointment will be to schedule a complete hysterectomy. I'm doing much better with this today than I was last week.

I will also be having a bone density test done soon. Removing my ovaries removes the estrogen from my system. This is great in the fight against cancer recurrence, but horrible for my bones. I will now have to be concerned with osteoporosis. At least that won't kill me.

I'm going to try to schedule surgery for just after the first of the year. I want to get through the holidays without major surgery and definitely without menopause symptoms. Who needs hot flashes and facial hair at Christmas time? They're not on my wish list this year I assure you.

So I'm again giving up more of myself to save myself. I don't have any regrets about the double mastectomies so I am hoping I will feel the same way about my reproductive organs too. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Results Are In

Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water...BAM!! You have to face your cancer drama once again.

My genetic testing results are in: I'm POSITIVE for the BRCA2 gene mutation. This is good news for a few reasons:

1. We now know why I got cancer--genetic predisposition
2. I can be proactive in my continued cancer maintenance as well as opting for elective surgery to prevent ovarian cancer
3. My family now can be aware (Emma in particular) that cancer "runs in the family" and can have the appropriate screenings.

These positive results suck for the exact same reasons.

I now have an appointment with my oncologist on Friday to "discuss my results". Basically he's going to tell me my odds once again for developing ovarian cancer due to this gene mutation and in turn will offer me the option of an oophorectomy (removing my ovaries).

I still have to many emotions swirling through my brain right now to give any commentary, but to summarize how I feel: this sucks!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It's October 1st...you know what that means...pink ribbons everywhere! Yes, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month again. I want to encourage all women to perform a self-exam this month. It only takes a few minutes and it literally could save your life. Why would you not do this for yourself and family. I also want to encourage you that if you should find a lump have it checked out immediately. Don't put it off and don't assume the worst. Knowledge is power!

The Susan G. Komen website has so much information concerning breast cancer. I have a link HERE for self-exam information.

Check yourself today. It saved my life...it could save yours too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Just Sad

I read a book earlier this summer that I really enjoyed. It was Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson. While the book's message was very good, one line has stuck with me. The character is talking about having only one child, and she says:

Knowing I wanted a dozen, He gave me only one.

These words have churned through my heart over the last few months. I long for more children that now due to cancer I will not be able to have. My heart hurts when I think about not feeling those tiny kicks from inside, not hearing that first cry in the delivery room, not seeing that first smile that makes it all worth it. We have talked about adoption, but financially there is just no way it will happen. Knowing I wanted a dozen, He gave me only one. I know that the Lord knows best and maybe His plan is for me to be the mother of only one marvelous blessing. My struggle now is how do I know that I know that I know there are no more little ones in my future? How do I rest in God's plan when my heart aches for it to be different?

So today I'm just sad.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hair Update

Most everyone has seen me with hair these days. In fact, many people probably don't think about my bald days very often anymore. As a cancer survivor, my hair is always a reminder of how far I've come. Here is the most recent picture of me with my new curly hair. I've tamed it a bit in this photo, but you get the idea.
Hair update--16 months post treatment
It has been almost 16 months since my last round of chemo. My life and body are back to "normal" for all intents and purposes. A few lingering chemo problems:

1.My memory isn't as good--I don't have the recall that I did prior to chemo. Some say it's age, but I know my brain works a bit differently now. I can't really explain it--you would just have to experience it to understand.

2. My fingernails are still shot to hell. They are brittle and ridged and don't grow like they did prior to chemo.

3. My monthly cycle is still erratic at best. While I'm obviously not in complete menopause, my poor ovaries can't decide if they want to fight or give up and die. No period for 4 months then 2 in one month...etc, etc. It's crazy and it makes me feel like I'm 13 again. I never know when it's going to "show itself" so it's always in the back of my mind just in case.

I will be going for my screening appointment for genetic counseling on Monday. I don't know exactly what it involves, so I'll tell you more when I know more.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Why is this news?

I see this headline and have to ask, "Why is this news?"

Actress Shaves Her Head

Thousands of women shave their heads due to the savage effects of chemo, but FoxNews isn't reporting on them. I just get so tired of the superficial world we live in. If people would spend half of their attention on important issues rather than fashion, beauty and celebrities...imagine the difference they could make.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Today I met with my new oncologist here in KY. He seems very serious, but also VERY well informed of current treatment and research of breast cancer. He agrees that everything seems to be "normal" for me right now. He did say that new studies have shown it isn't necessary to have all of the CT scans/bone scans unless I am having symptoms of a problem. This makes me a bit nervous since I'm in the "like to know for sure "camp, but his explanation made sense. The only bad thing is that by the time I am "symptomatic" to go for the scans the cancer could be having a field day in my body.

He is recommending that I go for genetic counseling. There are two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 that show mutations that can cause breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer. In cases like mine where there is no immediate family history and I'm young it is very possible that I will test positive for these gene mutations. This would at least give me a "reason" for getting cancer. I have mutant genes!! I can't help but think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

mutant turtle

Only 1-2% of us have these mutations, but finding out that you are positive is huge in treatment. If I am positive we will then discuss removing my ovaries or a complete hysterectomy. Women that are positive for these mutations have a 40% chance of developing ovarian cancer. Since I'm not having any more babies anyway there's no need to keep the cancer-bait around. But all of that is yet to be seen. He will be referring me to genetic counseling then I will go for the blood test. I don't know the timeline for this, but I will keep everyone updated as I know more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Break Out the Walking Shoes

Ok, so many of you have probably already received my email concerning my fundraising efforts for the 3Day Walk in October. If I somehow managed to miss your inbox...shame on me!!

The summary for those that don't know is this:

My friend Bridget asked me to join her in October to do the 3Day Walk put on by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It is a 60 mile walk--20 miles a day for 3 days!! I am so excited to be doing this however daunting 60 miles may seem. One of the requirements to participate is agreeing to raise at least $2200 to fund further breast cancer research. I'm asking for your help in reaching this goal and hopefully exceeding it.

The reality is that someone gave money years ago that funded research that helped to cure MY cancer. Money you give today may be funding the research that will save your mom, daughter, sister or friend in the years to come.

This is such and important cause and I hope you will join me in the fight by donating today!!


Monday, February 26, 2007

New hair picture

I meant to post this picture when it was taken a month ago, but never got around to it. This is the hair growth 10 months post treatment. It is still super curly, but I am now best friends with a flat iron. It's time consuming, but I at least look like I have a style now. To the untrained eye, I now look like everyone else--not like a cancer patient. It's refreshing to look in the mirror and not see a bald head looking back at me.