Liver biopsy done, now we wait

Liver biopsy done, now we wait

On Tuesday, we left before dawn to go to Indianapolis for my liver biopsy. The tissue will be used for genomic sequencing/analyzing for the MATCH trial (click on this link for more information). My oncologist told me it will take 10 days for results to come in. I was reassured by a coincidental connection to the trial. One of my dearest and long-term friends, Jami Elliott, actually works for the company that manufacturers the diagnostic equipment used for the genomic sequencing. He knows a lot about the process and assured me that the process is state of the art and my tissue will be thoroughly and accurately analyzed. The actual biopsy was not too bad. I was anticipating a long recovery, but three days later, I am feeling better and less sore. I did have to lay...

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Surrender is the not the same as giving up

Surrender is the not the same as giving up

The serenity prayer is a great source of comfort to me. It says it all to me:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. For many years, I’ve been hitting heavy on “the courage to change the things I can” part. The acceptance thing is what trips me up a lot of times. There has just been so many unacceptable things thrown my way – a terminal diagnosis, cancer progression despite doing everything in my power to contain it, friends dying left and right. How do you accept that? I went into this with a full-power-on, fix-it approach. I changed everything in my life and refused to accept my imminent demise. After all, my first words upon...

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Tired of writing tributes

Tired of writing tributes

I went to bed a couple of nights ago with the news that my dear friend Darlene Gant passed away. I met Darlene back in 2009 at the Annie Appleseed conference, which covered alternative and integrative cancer therapies. Darlene spoke and shared how she was living with no evidence of disease without doing conventional treatment. In 2012, Darlene’s cancer came back with a vengeance and she entered hospice, but miraculously cheated death by getting approval to use the then-experimental drug Perjeta. Darlene and I have grown very close over the years, having long talks on the phone on how wonderful it is to be here for our teen kids. Her son Cam is 14; my daughter Chrissy is 16. We talked about helping others and taking vacations together, and she consulted with...

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Roller coaster report: My new treatment

Roller coaster report: My new treatment

I know it’s a trite analogy, but having stage IV cancer is really like being on a roller coaster. I used to brace myself for every drop, but lately I’ve learned to just hang on tight and go along for the ride. I can’t get off after the ride has started, so I have no choice than to trust I’ll get through it. Note: this analogy may not work for those of you who love roller coasters! As those of you who follow me know, I was so excited my treatment (Ibrance and Femara) was FDA-approved, ending my monthly back and forth trips to Chicago for the trial. I was feeling great and looking forward to a hopefully long run on the duo. Then came my scan, a couple of weeks ago. Last week I finally got a hold of my consulting oncologist at Indiana...

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From Survivorville to “Scanville”: My road back to reality

From Survivorville to “Scanville”: My road back to reality

I came back from an absolutely exhilarating time at the Survivorville, a women’s cancer conference in Nashville. Not only was the venue beautiful – The Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort – but the women I met were too, inside and out. The two highlights were 1) meeting fellow stage IV survivors/co-survivors who were volunteers and at my breakout session: The Buck Stops Here: The Power of Becoming Your Own Advocate, and 2) reading my story for My 2nd Act: Survivor Stories from the Stage. I was in awe of the nine other women and two little girls, who shared their stories of struggle, loss, inspiration and hope and how they transformed the life-changing experiences with cancer to a new way of life. For instance, Ariana and Naveya, the two girls...

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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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