Update on me: physical, mental and spiritual

Update on me: physical, mental and spiritual

“Hope expects an answer sometime in the future; faith takes it as having already been given.” -H. Emile Cady I have been stalling writing a blog post, mostly because I strive to be totally honest here, and I don’t want to worry you all. Another reason is I wanted to have a game plan to share with you rather than leave you up in the air. I am facing a scary time right now. The cancer has grown to the point that it is affecting my bodily functions. Last week, I was in two emergency rooms for almost a day and hospital for two days due to a partial bowel obstruction. (For my husband Mike’s update of events leading up to this, click HERE.) They took me off the clinical trial that I’ve been on as it obviously is not working at all. It is...

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s super new treatment!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s super new treatment!

You remember those Peanuts cartoons when adults spoke and it just sounded like “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”? Yes, that’s how I get when I hear a bunch of medical/scientific terms thrown around. I have learned a lot in my 13 years as a breast cancer survivor (seven-plus years as metastatic), but sometimes I feel like I just don’t have the brain power to wrap my head around exactly how treatments work. Hence, as promised, I am going to give you a little,  albeit not very scientific, overview of my new clinical trial. Last week (Thursday), Mike and I traveled two hours to Indianapolis to get my first infusion of  MGAH22, affectionately  known as Fc-optimized Chimeric Anti-HER2 Monoclonal Antibody. Try saying that three times fast! For those...

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My “Not to Do” List

My “Not to Do” List

Just returned from another scan to see how my cancer is behaving. I’ll let you know what we find out in next week’s post. Since I have a lot going on this week getting ready to leave for Nashville for the Survivorville conference for women with cancer, I am going to recycle an “oldie but goodie” post. For those of you attending, I am excited to be presenting my essay for the My Second Act performance on Saturday night, as well as presenting a breakout session for metastatic survivors called The Buck Stops Here: The Power of Being Your Own Advocate. If you’re attending, please stop by and say hi. I’d love to meet you! Here’s my post written back in 2013: I am learning to stand up for myself in several ways. I find that I...

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The Grace Project: A portrait of beauty, courage in face of cancer

The Grace Project: A portrait of beauty, courage in face of cancer

“Mom’s posing naked!” my husband Mike jokingly shouted out to my daughter like a bratty little brother. Those are three words I never think I’d hear, but it was true on some level. This weekend I was inspired by a photographer and group of women who bravely bared their mastectomy and lumpectomy scars for an amazing exhibition called The Grace Project, led by award-winning photographer Isis Charise. Inspired by the iconic Venus de Milo and the journey of a close friend who passed away from breast cancer, Isis’s mission is to help breast cancer survivors feel beautiful and whole because, not in spite of, losing parts of themselves to cancer. At a special cocktail hour and exhibit, which also featured wonderful author and screenwriter...

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Lessons learned – living with that unwanted guest

Lessons learned – living with that unwanted guest

One of the features of my book, Miracle Survivors, is a list of “Lessons Learned” from each survivor who shares his/her story. Some examples: “Be in charge of your own health. It’s not about the patients vs. the health system; it’s about saving your own life.” – Mark Roby “We can accept ourselves and the fact that we’re not perfect and can’t always act perfectly. Just try to be healthier in mind and body and make life in general better for yourself and others.” – Dikla Benzeevi “You have to keep moving forward. If you hit a roadblock during one treatment, try a second. Don’t give up the first sign something’s not working.” – Mark Williams I was thinking today of...

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The “If” word and planting seeds of hope

The “If” word and planting seeds of hope

It’s the dead of winter and I’m thinking of seeds sprouting. That’s how I’m seeing my life and work these days. I mentioned to Mike that when I went to California to promote my book, Miracle Survivors, I felt like I was spreading seeds of hope on the west coast. I sprinkled them here and there during my talks. Now Lynda DeWitt and Dikla Benzeevi, two amazing 12-year, stage IV breast cancer survivors who are in Miracle Survivors, took the show on the road with their own signing while networking about advocacy work. I have several opportunities germinating locally and in different parts of the country to do talks and signings. All I have to do now is wait. I feel the same way about my treatments now, but there is a lot more riding on the...

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