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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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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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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No expiration date: A tribute to our angel, Krysti Hughett

No expiration date: A tribute to our angel, Krysti Hughett

Last night, I lay in bed and couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know that my dear friend, Krysti Hughett, drew her last breath just an hour before. Maybe my body and soul could sense it. Krysti passed away on July 7, after more than 10 years of beating the odds of very aggressive stage IV inflammatory breast cancer. She accomplished such an overwhelming task with her determination, incredible intelligence, and tender love and support she  gave to others. Yet I can feel her presence as if she was still here. And in a way she is. It is no coincidence I met Krysti while she was helping others. It was about six years ago, and Krysti was leading a Young Survival Coalition (YSC) support conference call for stage IV breast cancer survivors. I was fairly new at the...

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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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My crappy, un-crappy day

My crappy, un-crappy day

I am having a semi-crappy day. The un-crappy part is I got a great massage from my Cheryl, my oncology massage therapist. Thanks to Cancer Family Care, I have been getting these at half the price as long as I’m in treatment. The other un-crappy part of my day has been spending time with my wonderful, loving and fun daughter Chrissy. We just did normal activities – getting her yearly physical from her pediatrician, running errands and letting her drive for practice. But I know how precious each of these moments are in the precarious world we live in. Now for the crappy part. I share this because it needs to be shared. Because we all should allow ourselves to feel crappy once in a while. It’s OK not to be 100 percent positive. As I wrote about...

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