Me, Terri Dilts and Julie Deutsch (another miracle survivor) at the C4YW in Seattle last year
I’ve been busy trying to meet my deadline for my upcoming book, Miracle Survivors! The book includes so many amazing stories, I’m going to start sharing parts of them. This week, I’m introducing Terri Dilts. I met Terri at the Conference 4 Young Women in Seattle last year where she shared a room with me and my friend Julie. I found out we have lots in common, and even more so when I interviewed her for my story. Here are some excerpts:
In December 2005, I arranged an appointment with a surgeon for back pain. I had an MRI before I went to see him. He called me after seeing the MRI results and said, “I can’t help you; you have tumors in your spine.” I was floored!
The next morning my husband and I went to my oncologist. It was hard to focus on all the information he was giving me. I remember he said I had probably four years until something new came down the line that would help me. All I heard was, “You have four years to live.” My husband pulled me back to reality emphasizing “until something new came down the line.”
My oncologist immediately … put me in menopause with Lupron injections, Femara for the ER/PR-side of things, and Herceptin, since I was also HER2-positive. I started radiation on the spine to alleviate pain and an older bisphosphonate to strengthen my bones.
… I started gaining strength and learning more about metastatic disease. Everything I read on the Internet said I should be dead. Luckily, I found a local metastatic cancer support group, which was such a ray of hope for me. I saw women who were surviving with metastatic disease 15-18 years after diagnosis. It was such an eye opener for me and instrumental in changing my mindset to one of hope.
As I researched my disease, I decided I needed to add naturopathic approaches to help manage it. I talked to my oncologist about Vitamin C infusions, and he said it was quackery. I wasn’t going to convince him or vice versa, so we parted ways. I went to the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center because they integrated traditional and complementary treatments. They added Vitamin C and whole bunch of supplements to my treatments, along with a cancer-fighting diet plan.
I did some research and switched to mostly organic foods and eliminated red meat. That was where I started. A lot of the diets I read about seemed too restrictive to me, but now I’m trying to incorporate more changes. I’m reading a couple of books, one by a breast cancer survivor Elaine Cantin, who recommends eliminating all glucose and adding good fats, such as olive and coconut oils and avocados. Cancer cells need glucose, so, the theory is to starve your cancer cells. … There is a fine line between doing the best I can to starve cancer cells and living life to its fullest. If I’m going out to eat with friends and family, I’m going to enjoy a glass of wine. If I stick to my diet 80 percent of the time, I think I’ll be doing well.
I went on disability about six months after I ended chemotherapy, which has allowed me to spend a lot of time on self-care. I can nap, meditate, and go to the clinic twice a week for infusions. I’m very conscious of exercising my heart, because I was on Adriamycin and now on Herceptin and Perjeta, which are possibly cardio-toxic. I try to do aerobics two to three times a week, along with weight-bearing exercises to keep my bones healthy and strong. I’m doing everything I can to live the best life I can. That’s my job now.
My scans have been relatively stable. They showed a significant decrease last year, but my last scan showed a minimal amount of growth. I still do Vitamin C infusions, Herceptin and Perjeta and have switched to Faselodex injections and Armidex.
… I think it’s important for cancer survivors to be there for each other. I started one of the support groups I now attend because I saw a need for it. Occasionally I’ll give a speech about my journey. I enjoy that I can give anybody hope. People come up to me after I’ve given a speech and say they’re inspired and share their story with me, as well.
… Cancer has taught me to make self-love and self-care a priority. I believe that and the support of my family, friends and fellow survivors are the reasons I’m still here.
Miracle Survivors will be released by Skyhorse Publishing November 4, 2014, but you can pre-order now! Click HERE to order yours!
Mike and I at a Komen fundraiser
It’s Valentine’s Day, and like many people, I searched the “husband” section of Valentine’s Day cards looking for the perfect sentiment. There weren’t any cards that talked about sticking by and supporting your spouse with life-threatening cancer.
When you get married, you repeat the “through sickness and in health” vows, but not everyone abides by them. I have heard so many heart-wrenching stories of husbands leaving their wives after being diagnosed with cancer. Or their husbands check out with alcohol or drugs to numb the pain.
I remember a friend who was recently married when she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her husband said, “I can’t handle this,” and she said she understood. I didn’t. She had loving parents who took care of her and buried her when she died. I wonder if she would have lived longer with a loving spouse by her side.
I am so incredibly fortunate I married Mike Boehmer. We were only five years into our marriage when I was first diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. There was no question we were a team. I didn’t have to go through this alone. He came with me to doctor appointments and treatments, listened to my fears, and took my daughter places to give me a break when I was too sick to take care of her.
When I was diagnosed five years later with stage IV cancer, our team got even stronger. We made decisions together when it came to treatments that would save my life. He took off work (and still does) to go to out-of-town consultations. He listened to me cry day after day when I was so sick, we thought all was lost. Mike was the one who encouraged me to write my book and supported it by editing and promoting it – something he continues to do with my new book.
And Mike continues to tell me how grateful he is I’m now doing so well. Mike puts his family first even when his job pressures him to do otherwise. I am a lucky woman.
Everything is not perfect. What marriage is? We have spats over stupid things. There were times I didn’t feel supported. And on my part, I think I sometimes take him for granted. So today, I want to do more than give him a card and candy. This post is for you, Mike, for all you do and all you are. Even though we said the vows, you didn’t sign up for this at such a young age. I love and appreciate you more than I can express. You are a wonderful husband and father. God blessed me when you came into my life.
World Cancer Day's logo
Yesterday was World Cancer Day, and instead of turning my Facebook profile picture purple, I shared my coincidental milestone. It was that very day six years ago I walked into my breast surgeon’s office and learned cancer had returned. I didn’t know until a couple of weeks later that it was stage IV.
I am so grateful to be here and feel healthy. My last scan in November was stable, and I hang onto hope that my scan next month shows the same or even better results. Yet every day it seems, I hear about another woman with metastatic breast cancer dying of this disease. That’s why I was so shocked and angered when a friend shared a link on Facebook about an ad campaign for the UK Pancreatic Cancer Network. The campaign features a woman saying, “I wish I had breast cancer,” and a man saying, “I wish I had testicular cancer.” Then the ad goes on to list the early warning signs for pancreatic cancer, which I believe should have been the main message.
Yes, I know how deadly pancreatic cancer is; the survival rate is pathetically low. But how does it help matters to insult and belittle the gravity of having a different cancer diagnosis? I can tell you from personal experience that I would not wish breast cancer on anyone, especially the metastatic kind. Talk to all the family members, including young children, who have lost loved ones to this disease.
I understand how angry and desperate a person can become when faced with a cancer diagnosis. I’ve certainly felt that way at times. To be brutally honest, I sometimes am secretly jealous of people with early stage breast cancer. But then I remember what it was like having early stage cancer myself. I always had the fear of it coming back and all of a sudden, I was painfully aware of my mortality. I also remember there are so many people with early stage breast cancer who are tirelessly working for the rest of us, whether it’s providing support to patients and families or reviewing research studies for breakthrough treatments.
One time a woman wearing teal came up to me at an event, where I was representing Pink Ribbon Girls, a support group for breast cancer survivors. She asked if we had services for ovarian cancer survivors. I cringed, admitting that our funds were limited to breast cancer patients. She shot back, “That’s why we all hate breast cancer organizations!”
I get it. The breast cancer community has developed an enviable network of support and has more research dollars going to it than a lot of other cancers. It wasn’t always the case. It started and continues because of some very dedicated survivors and their loved ones who launch organizations and volunteer to help others. Dikla Benzeevia, for instance, is a young metastatic breast cancer survivor who has been through hell and back and is using her experience to help others as a volunteer patient advocate. I just completed her story for my upcoming book, Miracle Survivors. Here’s what she has to say:
“I felt alone and lost in years past, so I work so others don’t have to feel that way. It’s very important to me that people know we’re all here for each other and watching each other’s backs. No one has to feel like they’re going to fall off a cliff from this disease. None of us have to deal with it alone.”
As Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s not helpful to anyone to try to further a cause by belittling someone else’s experience. Instead do something to make it better for yourself and others. It doesn’t matter what type of cancer you have. We are all in this together.
These penguins love the Polar Vortex! LOL, don't have any pictures in my computer anymore so this will have to do.
I don’t know if anyone out there noticed (I hope you did!), but I haven’t posted in a while. There is nothing wrong, thank you God. I’ve just been busy working on my upcoming book, Miracle Survivors. When I wrote my first book, From Incurable to Incredible, I self-published and didn’t really have a deadline to meet. This time, I have a publisher and they want my manuscript by May 1. Gulp!
I’ve been blessed to find people who are helping me transcribe the 25 extensive audio interviews with amazing survivors who have beaten the odds of advanced cancer. It was all falling into place, then bam! My hard drive crashed. Luckily I had saved everything for the book, but the rest of everything in my computer is toast. So I’ve been a little busy trying to put everything back together again.
Add in some family drama and the constant below-zero temps we, along with 3/4 of the country, have had … well, I’ve been a little grumpy and agitated. Then I get reminders that all of this is really not that important. Five very dear friends of mine are facing a crossroads in their metastatic breast cancer treatment. They are once again on the uncharted waters of finding a new treatment after the ones they’ve been on, several for a long time, have failed. Most of us with metastatic disease know this roller-coaster ride all too well. You’re on a treatment that’s working … until it doesn’t anymore. It’s a scary place to be.
That is why I know that every day, even if it’s a frustrating day, is a gift not to be wasted. I am grateful to be in the lull of the storm with a treatment that has been working for a while. I have the luxury of getting pissed off at the situation with my computer and feeling nervous about meeting a deadline. My friend lying in bed in pain anxiously awaiting approval of a new drug doesn’t have that luxury. Neither does my friend who is desperately trying to find money to pay for life-saving treatments because she has no insurance. If anyone has the right to be agitated, it’s them. I know I am blessed in this moment, and it can change at any time.
But I also have faith in God to carry me and my friends through no matter what happens. It’s a small inner knowing that allows me to enjoy my days and sleep at night. I’m not in fear all the time because I know that everything is in divine order.
So today, I will focus on what’s in front of me and be grateful for the sunshine shining through my window, heat that is flowing through our house, money to have insurance and a computer for that matter; having work that is so satisfying … and so many other blessings. I will continue to pray for my friends and be there for them the best I can. Because today is a good day.
Buzz, in front of the elementary school where he served as a mentor.
This week we lost Buzz Sheffield, a friend, mentor, spiritual adviser and inspiration to countless people. Many of you who have read From Incurable to Incredible may know that Buzz was a major inspiration for the book and read his story. You see, Buzz didn’t believe in the death sentences doctors thrust upon him in 2004. They told him back then he had three to six months to live and that there was nothing they could do for him. Buzz knew he answered to a higher power who wanted him around to help others … and he used his time to do exactly that.
I was blessed to be one of those people whose life Buzz touched. In 2008, I learned I had metastatic breast cancer. We went to a prestigious cancer center only to be told I was “most certainly going to die from breast cancer.” I thought of Buzz, a volunteer prayer chaplain at our church. Buzz was always up in the front row with a snazzy suit and dazzling smile. You could almost see the light of God emanating from him.
In one of those “coincidences,” a few months earlier, I saw Buzz sitting in the courtyard of the hospital where I worked as a public relations specialist. It was a beautiful sunny day, and Buzz looked peaceful as he read a book. As usual, I was in a hurry, dashing to meet a TV reporter who was doing a story on one of our patients.
He told me he was waiting for tests, and previous ones showed he had cancer all over his body. I stood there in shock. I would have never guessed that this active, robust man had anything wrong with him. We didn’t know each other well at the time, but I felt a special connection with him from that moment on.
After church that Sunday, I asked him about his tests and illness. He told me he had carcinoid cancer, a rare, slow-moving disease that often attacks the intestines and other parts of the body where hormones are produced. Four years earlier, doctors gave him that death sentence. His cancer was so extensive, chemotherapy wasn’t an option. He refused to listen to their doomsday predictions and chose to focus on healing. To look at him and his active lifestyle, I knew whatever he is doing was working.
The first night after getting my dreaded diagnosis, I needed to talk to someone who understood what I was going through, and most important, was doing well. I gave Buzz a call. The first thing he told me was to not give up, stay in the moment, and remain positive. He also told me about his strong spiritual connection, healthy diet and exercise routine.
Throughout the years, Buzz and I became good friends. When I saw him at church, I’d ask how he was doing. “Always my best,” he’d reply to me and anyone else who asked. Many times I’d pray with him about an upcoming scan or other fears that came up. Sometimes I’d see him wincing in pain, but there he was being a service to others. As Buzz said in my book about service, “When I minister to someone who is fearful because of a cancer diagnosis, I always say, ‘How are you feeling right now?’ That’s all that matters. There are so many things to be thankful for when we look around.”
And he didn’t just serve at church; he was a mentor to lower-income African American kids at a local elementary school and the Boy Scouts group and drill team he led. Buzz would tell me about the tough love he’d impart on these boys. They wouldn’t get away with any back talk or disrespect with Buzz around!
Up to several months ago, Buzz was still volunteering at church, even leading a Tai Chi class. But I started to worry when I hadn’t seen him for a while. I knew deep down it was his time. I will miss Buzz terribly, but I believe he is now at his best, free from pain and guiding us from above.
Purging sugar from my diet again!
It might seem a little trite and unoriginal but, like many people this time of year, I’m committing to eating more healthily and losing weight. It may surprise some of you who have read my older posts about diet and how important it is to fighting cancer, but I have seriously fallen off the wagon. After more than five years of staying away from sugar and white flour and limiting carbs, I started going down the slippery slope of I don’t give a f#*!
Perhaps it was cockiness — my treatment has been working — or disillusionment — I felt screwed over by an integrative oncologist I’ve been seeing, but I decided that all this sugar-feeds-cancer hypothesis was a load of crap. I had denied myself long enough; it was too stressful; you only live once! I still ate organic and kept a relatively healthy diet, but my addiction to sugar and crunchy white stuff kicked back in to the point I had to have it every day. I craved the stuff and couldn’t have it in the house because I’d eat a whole bag or box of it. Before I could have it around and it wouldn’t even bother me.
And my weight started creeping back up big time. I blamed the Afinitor and Aromasin, but I just started to feel yucky about myself. I was two pounds away from the heaviest I’d ever been in my life and I just received a call from my oncologist’s office that my blood sugar was creeping up.
So last week I went back to Weight Watchers online, which I was paying for anyway and not using. I’m being more conscious about what I put into my mouth and have reached out to some friends on the same path for support. I lost two pounds this week and haven’t really exercised much because of a bum toe. It feels good to be back on the path to health and not feel out of control anymore. It’s not even about feeding the cancer anymore and fear, it’s about being healthy and happy overall. It’s not all about my physical weight; it’s about shedding emotional weight. Beating myself up is not good for the psyche.
I’ve had food issues all my life. You could say it’s a family disease. My dad was obese and had to get a quadruple bypass and hip replacements. He ended up having congestive heart failure before he died. My brother Mitch was so obese he died of a stroke when he was only 57, and my brother Doug has been addressing his food issues for many years now. As a kid, I used to use food and TV as a numbing agent to block out the turmoil in my family. I think I still do it to this day.
But I’m not trapped anymore like I was as a child. I have choices and the power to make changes in my life. I can be fully present without being tied to the refrigerator and pantry. I can say yes to life, and no to things that don’t serve me. I’ve come too far to blow it now. I’ll let you know how I do and perhaps post a before-and-after picture when I reach my goal.
Wishing you a year of hope and peace
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
We spent an amazing week in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, CA, being tourists and enjoying family and friends. Every day was a blessing and an adventure. There were all kinds of experiences I consider being blessings from God — from suddenly being moved from the back to front-and-center seats at a Brian Setzer holiday concert to witnessing dozens of sea lions leaping and diving in the ocean for fish. We ate Dim Sum for the very first time; soaked in a hot tub at a lighthouse as the sun set over the ocean; saw my brother perform in a bluegrass band one night at a local eatery/bar and a Grateful Dead cover band in the mountains; and did all the touristy activities in SF”s Fishermen’s Wharf area and beyond. I was exhausted, yet exhilarated, feeling as if I was squeezing every bit of life out of each moment.
The best part of our trip was about connection. In SF, we spent Christmas Day with my dear friend Ann, who moved there about 15 years ago. The second leg of our trip were spent with my brother Doug and his family, whom we don’t get to see very often because we live across the country. What a joy it was to see my nieces grow up into amazing young ladies and connect with Doug and his dear wife Kim! My niece Kaitlin treated us to a slide show of the summer she spent in Africa with the Masai tribe. Grace told us about her adventures in the Grand Tetons learning about earth science. Kim and Doug were the ultimate hosts, tour guides and loving supporters.
I sit here now back home, watching the snow fall and feeling extremely blessed. Next month, it will be six years since I learned I had metastatic breast cancer. Not only am I here; but I’m healthy enough to enjoy life to the fullest. I realize so many of my cancer friends do not have this privilege and I remember those who have passed who will never again have this privilege.
I do not take any of this lightly. At this time last year, I learned my treatment was not working. I was scrambling to find a clinical trial and traveling back and forth getting other opinions. Through the uncertainty, I listened to my gut and decided to try a new drug, Afinitor, along with Aromasin. My scan last month showed that it is still working – everything is stable. This is a record for me — more than a year on the same treatment. Looking back on 2013, I’d have to say that this is my biggest highlight. Without my continued health, none of the other things would be possible.
My greatest hope for 2014 is that new treatments will emerge that will allow me and all my friends in the cancer community to live, longer healthier lives until we find a cure. Until then, I will do my part to maintain a healthy lifestyle and help ignite a spark of hope for others who need it with my upcoming book, Miracle Survivors, due out in Fall 2014. I am excited about 2014 and the possibilities it holds. Love to you and yours and here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!
You could say I’ve been around the block many times over throughout my cancer journey. In April 2002, when I was first diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, one of the first things I did was to seek resources to help. I visited the Cancer Support Community in our area, participated in the Look Good Feel Better program, and discovered and soon became very involved with the Pink Ribbon Girls. When I was diagnosed again with stage IV breast cancer in 2008, I learned about even more resources and tips to make the journey easier started sharing them on this blog.
Maybe it’s my journalism background or my love of searching for things – be it sea shells, fossils or words in word search puzzle — but over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of information. ranging from cancer freebies to tips for getting rid of mouth sores. It has taken time, though, and I’ve wished there was an easier, faster way to find it.
The LIVESTRONG Foundation is answering this need by creating Cancer Hacks, an interactive engagement website that is comprised of “hacks” – or tips and solutions – submitted by people around the world who have their own “daily cures” for conquering cancer challenges. Examples of the solutions included in Cancer Hacks are: Track your mileage to and from treatments to get a tax rebate; create a private Twitter account for friends and family to follow your quick updates instead of worrying about long emails; cure stuffy noses from swollen blood vessels with an ice cube pressed against the roof of your mouth; and how to make contrast solution go down easier.
When I got on the colorful, fun-looking site, my attention went to a particular hack, titled “Who Says There’s No Free Lunch?” It talked about a great site called Breast Cancer Freebies that provides information about all kinds of free items, services, retreats, financial assistance … even college scholarships. A while back I put together a guide called “Free Stuff for Cancer Survivors.” This site would have come in handy then, and I will use it when people come to me with questions in the future.
The LIVESTRONG Foundation provides free cancer support services to help people affected by cancer cope with the practical challenges that accompany a cancer diagnosis – whether you are the person diagnosed or a family member, friend, caregiver or health care professional of someone diagnosed. For more information, visit www.livestrong.org.
Our cat AJ hopes all your holiday wishes come true!
I will be taking a break next week for the holidays, so I won’t be posting. Wishing a Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate and a Happy New Year!
Heidi Bright's recipe for health during chemo
Today’s guest post is by my friend Heidi Bright, someone who knows a thing or two about how to overcome cancer and its treatment. Heidi’s will be one of the many stories I share in my upcoming book due out Oct. 2014.
Outside, fallow farm fields freeze. Inside, it’s springtime in my kitchen. Glass bowls and canning jars provide nests for tender bean, lentil, and wheat berry shoots. My kitchen fills with new life that replenishes my body during the winter months.
I need all the nourishment I can get. During the summer of 2009, I was given a matter of months to live after being diagnosed with an extremely rare, highly aggressive end-stage cancer. The highly undifferentiated uterine sarcoma had taken up residence in my lungs.
Through two years of hard-core chemotherapy and three major surgeries, I managed to survive beyond the dire predictions. After my second lung surgery in 2011, I began having clean scans.
Through careful eating, among numerous strategies, I managed chemotherapy fairly well. My oncologist told me he wished all his patients had blood panels like mine. My albumin levels, which are good predictors of survival, remained at about 4.7, indicative of a highly nutritious diet.
Sprouting is a key element of my diet. While summer months bring massive piles of local, organic, living greens onto my countertops, winter generally means veggies shipped in from far lands. What could be more nutritious during hibernation season than baby beans and berries? They offer their vibrant riches to whoever accesses them.
I learned how to sprout from various sources. It’s easy to do, if you plan ahead and can find organic beans still capable of sprouting. Local health food stores usually have a supply. Just soak one part beans in four parts filtered water for about 12 hours. Rinse, drain, and repeat the rinsing and draining two or three times each day. After a couple of days, depending on the temperature in your home, you will see little white legs growing on these babies. Your nutritional powerhouses are ready for preparation and consumption.
Cook the sprouts as you would any dried bean. I like to make bean dips with summer’s blanched and frozen kale or Swiss chard. I scoop it up with my remaining organic red pepper slices for a yummy meal.
Mung bean sprouts can be eaten raw and are extremely nutritious. I put them in my high-speed blender along with a liquid tonic, such as the sprouted wheat-berry drink called Rejuvalac. I usually add more blanched frozen kale. It’s not exactly a gourmet-tasting slushy, yet I sure like the end results.
Considering I had 42 days of chemotherapy infusions during two years of tough treatments, I’d say the sprouts and greens have something to do with my hair looking so healthy. I’m 52 now and sidestepped the grey hair typical of chemo veterans. I thank my sprouts and green smoothies.
While the world outside slows down, ices over, and darkens, my digestive system gets a sunny delight every day to keep my cells humming softly.
About the author: Heidi Bright, M.Div., is a 4-year survivor of end-stage uterine sarcoma. Her traditionally published books include Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage and Keeping Sabbath: Daily Life. Heidi resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is completing a spiritual reading book for women dealing with cancer. Her new blog, “Thriver Soup: A Feast for Women Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey,” launches Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at www.heidibright.com/blog.
http://www.sproutingsprouts.com/how-to-sprout-beans/how-to-sprout-beans-including-adzuki-garbanzo-lentil-peas-and-mung-beans (how to sprout beans)
http://www.shilohfarms.com/categories/Legumes/ (these beans sprout)
http://www.living-foods.com/recipes/rejuvelac.html (recipe for Rejuvelac)
http://www.choosy-beggars.com/index.php/2009/10/16/spinach-and-white-bean-dip/ (bean dip recipe)
http://www.livestrong.com/article/473284-how-to-blanch-kale/ (how to blanch kale)
A festival of lights both on and off the scan table!
As I was lying on the PET scan table on Monday, I thought about how much time I have spent in diagnostic machines since being diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in April 2008. Every three or four months, I spend 20 minutes on the table trying to distract myself by living in the moment and trusting God that all is in divine order. Well, most of the time.
My propensity to mix up my calendar dates served as an advantage as I awaited this scan, however – a Hanukkah gift, if you will. I thought my scan was next week and by the time I figured it out, it was just a couple of days away. I decided I was going to anticipate good news instead of going down the dark road my mind typically takes me. I have been enjoying a long run with my current treatment, Afinitor — almost a year — and my last two scans showed shrinkage.
What I didn’t anticipate is the absolute fear and dread I felt during the short drive to pick up my scan results yesterday. My heart was beating fast and I had to take a few deep breaths and say some affirmations just to calm myself down. All the fear I had been avoiding came rushing in. What if cancer has spread to other parts of my body? What will I do if my treatment stops working? When in the hell are they going to come up with a new targeted drug for ER positive breast cancer?
Shaking, I opened the envelope. First, a feeling of relief. There were no new lesions and the tumor in my armpit, which seems to have been there since the beginning of time, was absolutely gone. Then I read on: the mass on my peritoneal area did not change in size, but there was an increase in standard uptake value (SUV). Although it sounds like the type of car driven by suburban soccer moms, SUV is actually another way of determining cancer activity. It’s not always accurate though, and can be influenced by things like exercising 48 hours prior to the scan (which I found out yesterday on the Internet, not from my scan place).
So Dr. Tami is stating that this is a stable scan. I will meet with my local oncologist on Monday and my consulting oncologist at Ohio State in a couple of weeks, but I think they will say to stay the course. I feel like a Death Row inmate waiting for a reprieve. Living with stage IV cancer is like that. You hang around until another new treatment comes along. Before Afinitor was approved the summer before last, my choices were reduced to hit-or-miss chemo regimens that aren’t targeted to my type of cancer. I am hopeful because I see a lot of great drugs in the pipeline. A good place to find trials, I’ve found is BCtrials.org. I am looking forward to hearing what comes from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium next week.
Until then, I will continue to count my blessings, enjoy the holidays with my wonderful family, and thank God for every day. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and Hanukkah (for those of you who celebrate). Until next time!
Some cool news: Miracle Survivors has been chosen to be included in the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) online archive of Web content as part of its mission to collect, preserve, and make available to the public materials that provide information in medicine and public health, and document their histories. The library, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, will make the content available to researchers. Very exciting stuff!