Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cancer 1, Linds 0, for now.

Its been a long time since I've written anything here....

That means thing were going really well for a long time.

As most people know, I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in July of 2012. I've been fighting for four years. I've gone through tough chemo and targeted chemo. I've lost my hair and grew it back. I've been on steroids and had a fat face and couldn't sleep, and for the past two plus years, I've been on a really mellow drug that didn't have many terrible side effects except that I don't heal well from injuries and I have fatigue.

Unfortunately the super drug i've been on, Kadcyla, is no longer working. Kadcyla and I had a great year and a half run. It kept everything at bay and we were good friends. Now... well, now it isn't working anymore. There is a tumor in my breast that has been growing like a weed. Luckily, the tumors in my liver have still been tiny or nonexistent. I hope it stays that way, as a liver is more important than a breast. But shit... it is scary as hell to find out that the super drug that everyone raved about and waited for no longer works. It doesn't work. It doesn't work. It drives me crazy to understand that. I think its very hard for someone who has never experienced long term cancer therapy to understand how terrifying that is. I may be scared, but I will never give up.

I had a scan today. 7 weeks ago the tumor is my breast was 14.86 x 12.46mm. Now it is 19.3 x 14.3mm. Thats a significant growth. I knew I was going to hear that today because I have felt it. I can't sleep on my left side, which is the side that is normally most comfortable to sleep on, because the tumor hurts so much. I have nightmares every night because of my subconscious knowing that I am sick. Life is really scary with cancer. I can tell you, it is so much scarier when it comes back and you know it has become drug resistant.

I won't stop fighting. I won't give up. I may have lost this most recent fight, but I will win the next one. I don't want you to feel sorry for me, I want you to send me love, light, and prayers. I want you to know that I am doing the best I can. I cannot be positive every day. I cannot eat the best every day, I cannot be the poster child for cancer ever day, but I try my best.

Please know that I love each and every one of you who is going to read this. It means you are the people who are closest to me, or people who care about someone fighting a horrible disease. Life is so beautiful and so horrible at the same time. All I can do is smile, ride horses, swim, love my kitties and puppies, kiss and hug my most beloved friends and family, and hope that I can continue on for years to come. I don't know if that is in the cards for me, but I will try my best. I will do everything I can to stay alive. I am terrified today. So scared that I cry as I write this.

I have so much yet to do in this life. I don't know why I have cancer. I don't know why I have to fight this. But, here I am. My life is a battle, it has been for four years. Four long years, but also the shortest years you can imagine. I hope that makes sense to some people. Thank you for reading this, and thank you for loving me. Keep me in your thoughts. I need help now, very badly. I just want to grow old like everyone else. I don't want to be 30something and say goodbye.

I will post in a few days when I find out the new drug regimen and side effects and all that.

Love you all,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cecil the Lion

So I am veering away from the topic of cancer, mostly, for this post. I haven't posted in a very long time, but I cannot find a way to keep quiet at this moment.

Walter Palmer... Wow. What a despicable human being. It would be very hard to be worse than this creature. It makes me feel embarassed to be of the same species. This piece of slime believes that he is a hunter... lets chat about that first.

Who hunts? Animals who need food. Who hunts for fun? The only animal that fits that bill is a human. Alot of humans who I would consider hunters are actually what they claim to be- they hunt animals and eat them, use their skin/fur for clothing or crafts, and they don't waste anything. That, while controversial, has an excuse and the animal gave its life for a reason. A reason that means something. It isn't that much different than the fox who hunts the hare.

Now, in Walter Palmer's case, we are talking about TROPHY HUNTING. Hahahha... wow. How, for ONE SECOND, could anyone think that it is ok to kill another living creature just for his head, or his skin, or his tusks, or his bones, etc. There is absolutely no excuse for trophy hunting. There is absolutely no excuse for murdering any threatened or  endangered species. There is absolutely no excuse for murdering a living creature, cutting off his head and stealing his skin, and leaving his carcass to rot on the plains. Does this type of torture sound that much different than ISIS?


He apologized. Will an apology bring back Cecil? Will an apology save his cubs from the incoming males that will take over his pride and kill his children? Will an apology bring back the lives of all of the big game, beautiful animals Walter Palmer has murdered? He has already been convicted of illegally killing animals before. An apology means NOTHING!

Walter Palmer deserves to suffer. He deserves to have his business ruined. His family desert him. The world shun him and hate him. He is no better than Michael Vick... just in a different kind of crime. He should never be forgiven, as he has murdered so many animals it is far too late to apologize.
I fear the media will calm down and forget about him in a few weeks. Please don't forget. Don't let him revive his business. Don't let him win back any love. This person deserves to rot in hell for the crime he has committed.

And yes, I know he is not the only one who has committed a terrible crime like this... he is just first on my list. I hope with help from others, we can take them all down.

It isn't hard to live life without harming others. It isn't hard to appreciate life. It isn't hard to understand that trophy hunting is no different than murder. It isn't hard to see that selfish people don't deserve the breath they are given. I'd like to say I  would never wish the disease I have on anyone else, but its hard to watch these arrogant healthy assholes murdering beautiful and precious wildlife for no other reason than to prove to themselves that it is ok they have tiny cocks. (or whatever stupid reason they have, because some of them are women.)

I will never forget Cecil the lion, I promise you that. I haven't forgotten the kitten that was murdered by Michael Almony of Finksburg, MD by running him over back and forth. I haven't forgotten the dogs that Michael Vick killed and tortured and fought. I haven't forgotten about Kristen Lindsey in Texas, the "veterinarian" who shot an orange tabby with an arrow. I havent forgotten about Rebecca Francis who takes smiling selfies with big game she has murdered.

These people will pay one day. Karma is beautiful, and karma is a bitch. Whether you agree with me or not, this is what matters to me, and I will await the justice. I will await their lives being ruined. It will happen one day or another.

One of my most beloved friends died of cancer last year. Adrian Suskin was from Zimbabwe... we would sit together at the hospital, have chemo, and he would show me beautiful photos from Africa. I have no doubt that he knew Cecil. I have no doubt his heart would break if he were alive to hear about this. Half of my rage is for the desecration of what my dear friend cared about so much...




Monday, July 15, 2013

Coping, when the physical storm has quieted...

but things grow inside not only the body but in the mind.

I haven't written for a while. I've been in a place that I haven't been able to really figure out.

I've healed from surgeries. I've been back at work consistently (part time). I'm even back at the gym (hoorah, time to loose some weight!). I've felt so strange though, ever since surgery. At first I thought it was just my friend moving away, but my mental anguish only increased. My body too, is not the same. My doctors tell me that the things that I am feeling are all due to menopause. Instead of gradually moving into it as other women do, I was thrown smack down into the heart of it by having my surgery. I was dealing with the hot flashes, but I had this horrible insomnia. So, being already sad, and then not sleeping, kept me in a constant circle of what can only be described as depression I guess. I kept denying it, how could I possibly be depressed when I'm given a continued gift of life for now? I felt sort of like a completely ungrateful jerk being depressed when I still get to wake up every day to this beautiful world. Even knowing that, I couldn't help it. Last month I was crying all the time. Everything overwhelmed me. Anyone who really knows me knows how much I hate to cry...I've always been sort of ashamed of crying, like I was being weak. It scared me too- I know how much strength it takes to live with cancer and continually keep it at bay, and I was scared that crying was going to harm me. There was nothing I could do though. Its so weird to knowingly acknowledge something unusual happening, but not be able to do anything about it. So, my oncologist said it was time for me to start taking an anti-depressant. They not only help with my mental state, but also reduce hot flash symptoms.

So, things have been slowly getting easier to handle, mentally. I sleep more because the hot flashes at night have gotten much more infrequent.

I did have to start taking another pill though- an aromatase inhibitor. Basically without ovaries, my body stopped producing 98% of the estrogen in my body. But, your adrenal glands produce the last two percent. Unfortunately this percentage is enough to be dangerous, so I have to take these pills that are supposed to shut down that production. The side effects are a bummer though... I have a higher risk of bone density loss, I have a bunch of joint pain (especially in my hands), I have increased fatigue (which is also a side effect of my antidepressants), and menopause side effects in general are increased.

Its funny the things you have to go through... You have to decide what is worth it. Quality of life...
I'm still learning to deal with all of this stuff. This blog entry is sort of rough, I wonder how many people have made it through, haha.

I'm learning, trying, to look at each day and each day only. No backwards or forwards. Just today. Today, I'm grateful. I woke up to a day of sunlight, saw my parents (my angels), spent time with my beloved babies Pierre, Biko, and Elvis, and I know that I will see my sweet husband in a couple hours. I am grateful for life. It is very easy to take it for granted, to take those that you love for granted. Unfortunately it takes something crazy shitty for you to see sometimes... I spent alot of time in my life being ungrateful and regretful. No more.

Thank you for life. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my babies. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for the light, the air, the love, the joy...

I'm going to try harder to be brave again. I know its the changes in my body that are affecting my mind and I will find my way back to being a warrior.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

30 Days Post Surgery - Ups and Downs

Hey all,

The month of April was definitely a crazy month for me. On April 3rd I had my lumpectomy and then April 5th I had my ovaries removed. Having two surgeries in one week was pretty crazy, but it is good to know that it is over with.

Let me start out by saying that pathology results showed that my cancer wasn't actually growing. The MRI had been changing probably because of scar tissue and effects of my infusion treatments. I'm still very glad that we chose the more aggressive route of removing the cancer and my ovaries. Pathology on the ovaries showed no evidence of cancer, which rules. So, I'm super happy to know that my medicine is working at keeping the cancer down.

Surgeries weren't too bad... I was able to get up and moving pretty much the next day after the ovary surgery. I did my best to do what I called "Zombie-ing" up and down the street. I walked slightly hunched over, extraordinarily slowly, back and forth, for as long as I could, every day. Eventually the pace quickened, my posture improved, and I was going on legit walks with my dad after a few weeks.

I'm sort of having some issues now, a month out. I think I pushed myself a little too fast and I seem to have re-injured something somewhere in my stomach...They think somewhere around my rectal sheath (muscles that run down the front of your stomach). I'm having an ultrasound tomorrow to see if anything can be seen. My oncologist, and aunt (who is a nurse) and myself all thought that extreme rest was a good idea. So, although I had been back at work the last two weeks, I had to take off again. I've been on super couch rest since Thursday. My stomach is feeling ok, but I know that as soon as I go to lift something or move to quickly, I'll pull whatever I hurt again. Whether its torn internal stitches, or a pulled muscle, the pain was really bad so hopefully this period of resting will help it heal. I'm also having some sort of issue with possibly an allerigic reaction to something around my incision we shall see.

I'm having a hard time lately though. I've been having good news, and I hope these issues I'm currently having are minor, but the hardest thing I've been dealing with lately is having a friend who had to move. Its funny I feel like I'm in third grade all over again or something. My surgeon's PA, Leah, has been one of the most important people in the world to me. I don't think I would have the same attitude and strength about this whole thing if I hadn't have met her. She was there from the beginning, explaining my diagnoses to me and helping with the millions of questions. She knew how to bring a sense of calm. She brought reiki into my life from the time chemo started until she moved a couple weeks ago. She held my hand before surgeries and came with me into the operating room so the last thing I would see would be a friend. She took time out of her life to come to my house every day after surgery to give me blood thinner shots. She brought yoga back into my life. She is this incredible person, AMAZING friend, brilliant girl... Reiki, and her presence and friendship, I truly believe were huge parts in my recovery. I am sort of scared now that she is gone. I mean, not gone, she just moved back to her home town for an amazing job opportunity and for family, which is awesome... I feel sort of selfish being so sad about it. But... Anyway.. I've blathered on about this. I just think that facing this without her so close is going to make it much harder.

Anyway, if I was going to talk about anything else I've forgotten it by now. See, I'm not always tough.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ovaries Today, Gone Tomorrow

This is sort of a hard one to write, but I sort of feel the need to write about it. At least something short, cause its almost 10pm and I have to be at the hospital at 5:30am.

I lose a part of me tomorrow that is a huge part of what makes a woman a woman. You can't see them, but come on, our ovaries do so much. More than for just having children...

I have this scary surgery tomorrow, and I'm going to wake up and nothing will be the same. 29 and in menopause. I'm not sure exactly what that means yet, because I know it is different for everyone, but its not something you expect to deal with. I guess you never expect to deal with anything that I'm dealing with at 29, but, hey, its the cards I was dealt. I'm still in the game.

I'm scared.
Probably the most I have been so far.

But when I get in bed, I'll meditate, i'll try to go to bed with a positive head, I'll listen to very relaxing music, i'll hold Nic's hand, and I'll ask for everything to go well tomorrow.

I guess this post isn't as "chin up" as usual, but you can't always be that way. I feel like i'm allowed to mourn my ovaries.

As far as my boob goes, i've got this super big wound, and I don't even think i'll mind the scar. Battle scars, cause I'm fighting. It doesn't hurt too too bad. I would have liked to have taken the ibuprofen regimen given to me, but I couldn't since this second surgery popped up so quickly (per my request...just didn't anticipate two days later hahaa).

The cats have been hilarious and they make me smile. Everyone who loves me and knows me knows how important they are to me. My family have been amazing throughout it all, but of course especially so during healing times. My honeypoo Nic is the best. He's gotta bring home the bacon so I don't see him as much as I like, but he is off tomorrow so I get to spend all the time after surgery snuggled with him.

I'm blessed with family (human and kitty alike)

Tomorrow will be ok...


Here is a picture of Pierre and Elvis. Elvis loves shirts. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Breast Surgery Today

Hey all-

This will hopefully be a quickie since it is late. I had my lumpectomy today, and so far, its not as painful as I was expecting. I guess I have to wait a little bit to hear from the doctor about the pathology.

What is crazy is that I was supposed to have my ovaries removed at the end of this month, but that seemed quite far away so I asked the surgeon if we could move it up a little. That turned into this FRIDAY. I'm really nervous about this surgery because it is much more invasive. They are planning on doing a laproscopic surgery. Hopefully everything goes as planned, and I am still an outpatient. I have to be intubated though, and I'll be in menopause afterward, and there is just a whole bunch of worry that comes along with being 29 and having your ovaries out. I am out of options, so I'm happy we are making this decision, but it doesn't stop be from being scared.

If you pray, please pray for me on this one. I have a great surgeon though, Dr Abbas at Sinai (he'll be performing the surgery at St. Joes though).

Oh yeah, I have to give myself blood thinner injections in the stomach every day for two weeks after surgery. y i k e s.

Anyway, as soon as I'm feeling up to it after surgery, i'll update everyone.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Long Time No Chat, eh?

I've been a bad bad blogger. I got into this routine of doing my best to forget that I have cancer. Impossible, truly, but I tried. There wasn't really much going on other than going to infusions every three weeks. I guess I could have been writing about other things. People may read and find it interesting, or they may not, but at least I'd be active on here.

But hey, I've got action to write about now! Action is never a fun thing to write about in a cancer blog though. So, after some scans, the news is that the cancer is growing back in my breast. I was very scared because we didn't know if that meant it was growing back in the liver too. I had a CT scan on wednesday, and my doctors tell me that it looks the same as from three months ago. That is VERY good news, to I guess soften the blow of the reality- its growing back.

Its growing. That means something they are giving me isn't working. My ONC says that its probably the Tamoxifen (my estrogen blocker). He said that is not always very effective in women with Her2+ breast cancer. So, that means Tamoxifen is out, and a new game plan is in.

I'll be having a lumpectomy of the area that is growing back. I also am going to have my ovaries removed. No ovaries = no estrogen to feed the tumors. Also, being BRCA1, I have a 50% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. Its not the thing you want to hear at 29... menopause, bone density issues, sexual side effects, cholesterol, hot flashes, etc. I believe that this is the only option though. I'm hoping that they can coordinate the surgeries so I can have both procedures done at the same time, but they said there wasn't a big chance of that working out.

The cancer is growing in such a weird spot in my breast...its like near my armpit and deep set. They can't really get a good map from the MRI or the Mammogram (yeah, had my first one of those today...ouch). So... I have to have another freaking biopsy during and MRI so they can put in a metal clip to use to navigate to the site during surgery. To say that I'm super scared is an understatement. My liver biopsy was such an excruciating experience... I'm not looking forward to this. It is supposed to be set for Wednesday... fun fun.

This week had been pretty hard. Pierre has been very sick and I don't know why. We had bloodwork done but I still don't have results because my vet was off, and then sick today. I'm hoping to get results soon. He's been going to the vet for fluids the past few days. His temperature was finally normal today, which makes me feel some relief, but he's still not walking, eating, drinking, or acting normally. I'm praying for him more than anything.

Also, we got a new kitten almost two weeks ago now. He's a real cutie.. no name yet, but hopefully we will agree on one soon. <3

OK, bye for now friends, and I'll leave you with a photo of the little one.