Where Do I Go From Here?
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Chemo Continues but for how long?
Phase 2 of chemo is in full swing. I just had round my 4th round with the next round scheduled for March 5th. My labs are looking great and my CEA is still at less than .5. I took an extra week off of the oral drug xeloda given my hands and feet are pretty much a mess. The bottom of my feet are so dry it is almost like the skin is pulling away from the foot. Unfortunately I had to start the oral chemo again Thursday but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
These past couple of rounds have been fun because I’ve been able to catch up with a special friend at each of them. Thank you Linda Meyer, Jen Miller, Serena Weddle and Susan Arango for giving up a little of your day to be with me on my infusion days.
Linda and I went down to see Dr. Lenz at USC earlier in the month to talk about my plan moving forward and whether or not continuing on chemo indefinitely was the best route to take. He reviewed Dr. Genyk’s surgical report, my newest Petscan from November and my labs. He suggested that I get another scan at the end of this month, if all still looks clean then I do one more round of chemo and then TAKE A BREAK. His theory is that if we haven’t killed off any of the leftover cancer cells by now then we are really just holding them at bay and we need to know if a stronger more intense drug is needed to kill the rest off. The only way to figure this out is to stop doing chemo and see what happens. I would still be monitored with blood draws once a month and a scan every three months for the next year. I love Dr. Lenz and his PA Taline!
I’m excited for the possibility of stopping chemo but also nervous knowing that things could pop up. It is going to be important to stay the course on a very clean diet, keep up the juicing and supplements, keep stress down, exercise and continue working with the healer. Over the past couple of months I’ve had this feeling that the cancer is gone and it is okay to stop the chemo but have been afraid to make that final decision because I don’t want to make the wrong decision. I feel deep in my heart that this phase of my cancer journey is coming to a close.
I can’t wait to stop putting chemicals in my body, get rid of whatever remains and move forward with a whole new perspective on life.
Cancer Forever Changes You
So many have asked the question won’t it be great to get back to your normal life but my life will never be “normal” again. Once you hear that cancer diagnosis you are forever changed. Things that you thought were important in your pre cancer life are no longer important. People you thought were your forever friends’ turns out not so much. Your vision changes. Your way of looking at life changes and really normal is so overrated. You may be considered disease free or in remission but cancer doesn’t every leave your mind. You could look at what I’m saying and think wow that has gotta suck, always wondering will it come back, how long before the next shoe drops but you shouldn’t. For me, I will look at cancer as the constant reminder of how I want to live and create my and my family’s lives, what kind of friend I want to be, the inspiration I want to be, who I want to surround myself with and all the good I can do in our community and beyond. Kind of the difference between those who see the glass half empty and those who see the glass half full. Not to say I don’t or won’t have the occasional can’t you just leave me the hell alone and let me just move on thought but for the most part I will take it for what it is, one huge friction lesson. This journey has taught me so much and I don’t want to forget these lessons or let them fall to the side just because I’m disease free.
Paying it Forward
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I am going to pay it forward. The support that we received over these past 15 months is truly indescribable. From the day I was diagnosed and every day thereafter we knew there were so many we could call on at anytime for literally anything. I want to be able to give those fighting some piece of that support in some way but I just haven’ quite figure it out yet. I’ve been contemplating taking my blog/website to a higher level. Adding additional pages, providing a place where people can go for guidance when they are first diagnosed, adding a resource page, an alternative medicine page, dealing with insurance page, and so much more. When you are diagnosed with cancer it is so overwhelming. You don’t know where to even start. It is paralyzing. I’d like to make that process, if I can, just a little bit easier for those facing the scarey bitch called cancer. I would like to provide inspiration, guidance and hope to those who may be feeling hopeless. I would like to open up their eyes to the amazing opportunities that alternative medicine can give. I would like to help their support system figure out the best way to assist. Most of all I want to help them obtain the attitude of FUCK CANCER!
Embrace Every Day, Every Month, Every Year
Yesterday I went down to LA to celebrate one of my dear friends’ birthdays. She named the event the 20th Anniversary of her 20th Birthday. I realized that so many of us have this hang up about getting older. One that I also had pre cancer. I think we all know how it goes. Someone says to you it’s your birthday lets celebrate and the response is yes that would be great but I can’t believe how old I am. No matter what the age we are thinking another year, really, can it be possible, can’t we go backwards, I don’t want to get older. Then you have the people who really don’t even want to celebrate their birthday because then it is admitting they are getting older. Well, my friends I’m here to say you do want to get older. I challenge you all to embrace every birthday, own it, love it, shout it at the top of your lungs, I made it another year. I am another year older which means I’ve had another year of experiences, friendships, love, family, adventures, laughter, sadness, things that we all take for granted. When I was diagnosed and told I might only have six months to live, my perspective on growing older immediately changed. Every birthday is a blessing and a gift one that I hope to have for many, many years to come. I encourage you to get on board and embrace your birthday. Cast aside any negative thoughts of getting older and turn them to all the positives. There are so many who would give anything to be able to celebrate just one more birthday with a friend or relative. If you just can’t do it for yourself then do it for them.
Birthdays and the Girls
Madison turned 9 on February 2nd and Lucy turns 7 on March 6th. I can’t believe how fast this year is flying by. Remember when you were a kid sitting at your desk in elementary school and it literally felt like an eternity for the clock to move five minutes, what I wouldn’t do to feel that way again. Life is moving at lightning speed and Jon and I are trying to figure out how to slow it all down, take time for ourselves and spend more quality time with the girls as they are growing up way to fast. They are staying quite busy with school, sports and afterschool fun. Madison has been playing basketball but decided to take a break from swimming. She is going to give water polo a try next month. She is also surfing and loving it. Lucy is swimming and started spring soccer on Friday. They are both gearing up for their school’s jog a thon taking place on March 7th. It’s a great theme this year. Making Waves Making a Difference. The goal is to teach the kids that they have the power to give back to their community. All the money raised goes to the PTO to fund teacher assistants, field trips, PE teacher, cultural assemblies, supplies and more. If you would like to support the cause you can donate online. Go to: http://www.wildcatswebstore.com/products/jog-a-thon-student-donation?fb_action_ids=10202041966945550&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210202041966945550%22%3A1422407234670822%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210202041966945550%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D
Be sure to let me know you donated on line so we can note it on their pledge sheet. If you donate online you will need to put their name and teacher. Madison, 3rd grade, Yarnell or Lucy, 1st grade, Frausto. I know they would appreciate your support. If you would rather pledge per lap or just don’t like donating on line then just let me know and we will put you on the pledge sheet. Madison says she is going to run 35 laps. I’m not sure about that since I think she did 25 last year but I like the ambition. Lucy says 36, I’m sure because she watched Madison’s video before making hers and wanted to one up her.
They each did a video on their own this year soliciting pledges. Madison is right to the point and Lucy is just precious. So proud of them. The school’s goal is $60,000 for Washington’s 60th year Anniversary but if they hit $70,000 the principal will surf for the first time ever!
I’m going to leave you with this quote:
“Life Does Not Have to be Perfect to be Wonderful.” Annette Funnicello
Hugs and Kisses,