If I Had Known Then What I Know Now....

It's still dark outside when my alarm clock sounds at 4:00am.  It's earlier than I usually awaken, but in order to fit as many appointments in one day as possible, these days start early.  I try to fit as many appointments in one day as possible so as to use as little leave at work as I can.  Today I was lucky enough to have been able to schedule five appointments, which is unusual.  I am completely exhausted, but must get up and be ready to leave the house at 5:00.  I packed my bag last night (snacks, phone charger, knitting project, ipad for books, games, puzzles), so after a quick shower and make-up, I'm ready.  No coffee or jewelry until after the CT scans.  My watch, wedding rings, and medical id bracelet are tucked safely in my bag, along with the necklace and earring set I usually wear to my medical appointments.  Yes, there is a specific set that I wear to every appointment.  I call it my armor.  It's a Touchstone Crystal by Swavorski set, called the Guardian. …

My Story, as of January 2018

I have quite a few new readers of this blog, so I thought I would make an entry with a summary of my story to date.

I was diagnosed at age 50 with Stage IV breast cancer.  Stage IV means that it has moved from the spot of origin to other organs.  Mine is in my left lung.  It's not lung cancer; it's breast cancer in my lung.  I had the misconception that I would have chemo, maybe radiation, maybe surgery, then get back to normal.  Boy, was I wrong.  I had seven rounds of chemo, the last one of which put me in the hospital for about four days.  That's when my oncologist and my surgeon made the decision that surgery was the best option at that point.  My first CT scan after surgery showed No Evidence of Active Disease.  This means that whatever they can see in my lung, they're not sure what it is.  It could be scar tissue, it could be cancer, it could be really anything.  So, I have CT scans once every three months to monitor.  They can not say that I am cancer free.  The…

Terminal Musings -- Last Meal

This may sound morbid to most of you, and you might think I'm a little off my rocker for posting this, but trust me, I've thought about it.  Lots of us have thought about it.

Have you ever thought about what you would want your last meal to be?  I hadn't until I was diagnosed with a terminal disease.  This is actually a question that comes up periodically in the facebook support groups that I am a member of.  We've thought about it.  We've planned the meal in our minds.  If you could plan your last meal, what will it be?  Here's mine:

An appetizer of Stuffed Shrimp from Captain Billy's, along with a Hawaiian Punch (one of the drinks that they're famous for).  The main course will be a Delmonico steak from Hancock Family Farms, cooked outside on the grill, accompanied by potatoes, sliced and fried with onions in a cast iron skillet like my father used to do.  I guess we should throw in some vegetables, too, as long as corn is included.  Since the Hawaii…

12/13/2017 Endoscopy

I've been having trouble swallowing.  I've choked on my medication a few times, and on food.  I now take my pills with applesauce (I was using milk, but that stopped working).  I had a swallow test done, which showed some spillage.  Yesterday I had an upper endoscopy.  I arrived at the hospital at 7:00am for the 8:00am procedure.  After I changed into a hospital gown, they put me on a gurney, then a nurse inserted an IV.  After a few minutes, I was wheeled down the hall.  They put an oxygen tube in my nose, then the anesthesiologist put something into my IV.  He said was a numbing agent, because whatever he was giving me next may have a burning sensation.  Then I was asked to turn onto my side, and a nurse put the mouthpiece in.  I rested there waiting for a few minutes, then I was waking up in the recovery room.   Done.  I don't remember the anesthesiologist giving me anything else.  After I got dressed, I waited for the doctor to come in with the results.  She didn'…

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I posted this on my personal facebook page, and it turned out much longer than I intended.  So, I thought I'd copy and paste it here:

Tomorrow marks the beginning of October. Please, no pink hearts by themselves as a status update. It's not spreading awareness, especially when you're supposed to "keep them guessing", and "don't tell the guys". How is that spreading awareness when you're not supposed to say what it means? And - newsflash - guys get breast cancer, too. And face it, we're all aware.
NFL -- You can stop turning everything pink during October. We're aware. The money that you're spending on all that pink stuff can be better spent on research. That goes for the pink firetrucks and police cars I've seen, too.
And please (and this goes for any charitable organization), if you see something out in the stores that has a pink ribbon emblazoned on it, read the fine print. If you want to buy it to give to someone in a sho…

The Night I Met Rick Springfield


I was diagnosed at the age of 50 with Stage IV breast cancer.  Stage IV is the same as metastatic, is the same as terminal.  My breast cancer had spread to my left lung.  I underwent seven rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy.  Since then, I have been on maintenance treatments -- two medicines via IV once every three weeks, one oral medication daily.  I have routine CT scans, bone scans, echocardiograms, and MRIs to keep an eye on things.  I deal with side effects of these maintenance medications.  I have balance issues, and extreme fatigue, so I use a cane, a walker, or a wheelchair, depending on where I'm going and how pronounced the side effects are at the time.  So you see, the cancer is never out of my mind.  It's always there, looming.  I've come to cherish every minute, to find the joy in all things, to live.

So, when I heard about the Do It For The Love Foundation, I had to check it out.  This wonderful organization provides concert tickets t…

September 15, 2017 medical appointments update

This past Friday I had my regular every-six-week oncology appointment followed by my regular every-three-week infusion of Herceptin and Perjeta.  These were to be followed by an initial appointment with a gastroenterologist, but that last appointment didn't happen.  Here's how the day went:

I was seen at the clinic in good time.  We talked about my balance issues, my exhaustion level, the fact that the new med we're trying seems to be working.  I told her about the headaches I've been having.  I showed her the pictures of my family and I with Rick Springfield (she had to sign a form for the organization who provided the tickets; I always like to follow up with her after these things).  It was a very nice visit.  Orders were placed for my every-three-month CT scan, my every-three-month echo, and for a brain MRI; the brain MRI because of the headaches.  I'm to try to schedule these for the last week of September, on the same day, or as close as possible to each other…