My Dance with Cancer - Absence from AR Revealed
I had been very active in the rain for some time. In early June I went from 60 to 0 overnight. It wasn’t long before some members noticed I seemed to have disappeared. I received emails from many people asking if I was okay.
Those who connected with me … you know who you are. I can’t type these words without tears flowing down my face. Words alone cannot express the love and gratitude I hold in my heart for each of you. I know your support, prayers and encouragement throughout my journey helped tremendously. What can I say … Love heals. Thank you all so much!
Prior to June 6, 2012 I thought jumping out of an airplane would be the most challenging thing I would ever do in my lifetime. Perhaps that Mother’s Day jump in 2012 was designed to prepare me for the challenges that were ahead.
One phone call from the surgeon confirming I had cancer and my life as I knew it changed in an instant. The following is a snapshot of my journey kicking cancer in the ass!
· May 31, 2012 – lump found in breast – mammogram 1 year OVERDUE!
· June 4, 2012 – biopsy of breast and lymph nodes
· June 6, 2012 – stage 3 breast cancer – moved to lymph nodes
Suddenly my new full time job became a series of medical appointments to prepare me for chemo therapy, surgery and many unexpected complications. I now had two full-time jobs ... dancing with cancer and managing my real estate business.
· June 11, 2012 – Complete blood work
· June 12,2012 – EEG
· June 13, 2012 – Mammogram – Did I mention this was 1 year OVERDUE? Don't let this be you. Early detection is important.
· June 13, 2012 – Breast MRI
· June 16, 2012 – Surgical implant of Mediport – this is used for infusing chemo therapy
· June 18, 2012 – Chemo Teach – 3 hours of education to prepare me for what’s to come
· June 19, 2012 – PET CT Scan
· June 19, 2012 – First Chemo therapy infusion
· June 20, 2012 – Follow up shot to boost white blood cells
· June 27, 2012 – Emergency Room – Massive blood clot found in left jugular vein extending down left arm. Yes, I thought I was having a heart attack! If I threw a clot the results would have been worse than a heart attack.
· June 27, 2012 – began taking Coumadin to thin my blood and took a series of shots in the belly for 5 days. This was to boost the blood thinning. Saturday and Sunday I had to give myself the shots.
Jumping out of an airplane feels like a cakewalk when compared to the hell of cancer and chemo.
· Four (4) months of chemo therapy administered every two weeks.
· Severe neuropathy (numbing of hands and feet) meant that the eighth and final treatment would not be given.
We are done with chemo because I can’t feel my hands and feet! At this point the risk of another treatment far outweighed the benefit. I was responding well to chemo therapy despite the side effects and complications.
· September 18, 2012 – Post chemo ultrasound of breast – no sign of the tumor!
· October 1, 2012 – Ultrasound of neck to ensure blood clot was gone prior to surgery. Blood clot gone! It did leave a narrowing of my left jugular vein which I can feel by the tightness in my neck.
· October 3, 2012 – Post chemo Breast MRI – no sign of tumor in breast or lymph nodes!
· October 6th, 2012 – Celebrating the end of chemo doing what I love to do.
· October 8, 2012 – Pre-op EKG
· October 11, 2012 – surgery – breast, lymph node(s) and removal of the Mediport
Chemo does cause hair loss. I lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes
Howie Mandel has nothing on me!
· October 12, 2012 – Ouch … The cancer bug bit me but I bit back and Won! Winning has never really been important to me … this was an exception.
· October 17, 2012 – Email message from my Oncologist: “How are you feeling? I hope the surgery recovery is going well. I got the path report and there was no cancer at all in the breast or lymph node, so you had what we call a complete pathologic response. Those results predict for the best survival after the surgery. So fantastic news!”
· October 19, 2012 - Celebrating with friends ... we had a pink party!
My cancer diagnosis was not a life sentence. A diagnosis is not a prognosis. My cancer was aggressive and fast growing and why we jumped on treatment so quickly.
I cannot candy-coat the experience. I had little time to process before being catapulted into the world of medical care (that is another blog) which one must be prepared to manage and be an active participant in the process. Let's suffice it to say, mistakes are made.
I made the decision in advance that I would not be “a cancer patient.” Cancer treatment was just something that I was “going to do.” My chemo treatments were scheduled as “spa day.” Infusions literally took all day.
Did I feel horrible? You bet I did! Chemo knocked me down for days yet I refused to let it keep me down. The right attitude helped with the healing process.
I also changed my diet. I began juicing every day. I started eating mostly raw green foods. I cut out sugar … the cancer I had feeds on sugar. All the greens I ate created an environment where the cancer could not life. I became a student of better nutrition … and food labeling (that is another blog).
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is also the month in which I offically became cancer free.
Today is my 58th Birthday and why I choose today to share my celebration of life in an entirely new way ... fearless.
I've missed being active in the Rain. I continue to get stronger every day and hope I will very soon be back to blogging daily in the Rain. This place Rocks!
Thank you Active Rain!
Thanks to my Active Rain friends and supporters!
Most importantly ... Thank you GOD for my new lease on Life!