Ending the year with a bang; beginning the year with a spark

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!

 

7 Comments

  1. tamilb
    Jan 8, 2014

    So sorry Aariyanna. I know what it is like to get bad news. I really thought I was done for when I had very large mets to the abdomen diagnosed almost two years ago. Now I’m on a treatment that’s been working for a whole year. There are many good treatments out there; hope you find the one that works for you.

  2. Name
    Jan 8, 2014

    Hi Tami,

    Thank you for your response. I got some bad news today, progression in the bones and tomorrow a ct to see how the soft tissue is doing. This seems like a good time to be demoralized, but no, I went to your blog and saw your response :) I made an appointment with a new oncologist and will redouble my commitment to healthy living. I’m so encouraged by all those metastatic thrivers, NED or not. Thank you again, you’re doing a huge service to those who may otherwise give up.

  3. tamilb
    Jan 7, 2014

    Thank you so much, Catherine, Beth and Heidi for your continued support and for commenting on my posts! It really makes a difference to know people are reading and getting something out of them! And Aariyana, your comment made my week! I’m so glad you are benefiting from my blog and that you are keeping a positive outlook and taking action to support your health! This is the reason I’ve been doing this blog for four years. Please keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing.

  4. Catherine
    Jan 7, 2014

    I’m so happy for you Tami, and I need to read this blog more often! This is the kind of place where my own head needs to find itself – in gratitude and hope for what comes. Thank you for your great post. :)

  5. Name
    Jan 5, 2014

    Dear Tami,

    I am so grateful to have found your blog. I was diagnosed in 2012 with stage IV bc at 29 yes old. I was discouraged by the overwhelming negativity and defeatist attitudes I encountered online and from the medical community. I took control, changed my lifestyle, and lost a ton of weight. I was NED until we discovered a brain met (which was probably their all along). I thought I was done for, but your blog came along at just the right time. I’m so happy that their are like minded, positive people out there who strive to maintain control and not give in to a somber prediction. I read your book as well and it was very encouraging. I agree, there is so much to be said for lifestyle and the mind-body connection. I am glad that there’s a small corner of the internet where those afflicted with cancer don’t buy into victim hood. It brings hope to the rest of us.

  6. Beth L. Gainer
    Jan 3, 2014

    Tami, your trip sounds BEAUTIFUL and wonderful. And I must say, you hang out with some really interesting folks. Good for you to embrace life so fully and see the blessings of life. None of us should take our blessings lightly, for there is always someone worse off.

    I’m looking forward to your second book coming out. So excited!!

    I hope you live for many, many years to come.

  7. Heidi Bright, MDiv
    Jan 2, 2014

    Your trip sounds wonderful, Tami! And how great to start the new year with stable scans. And to have your book on the horizon! 2013 was a good year–may 2014 be even greater!

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