Let's keep praying ... 👊🏻🙏🏻💜💪🏻
So this week is a little different. During my exam my doctor could actually feel the hole in my bone. This isn't good news, this means my hole has gotten bigger. This means the cancer keeps eating my bone causing deterioration. 😢
Let's keep praying ... 👊🏻🙏🏻💜💪🏻
So step 2 is here. I have my day drinking tshirt on and I am starting my chemo cocktail this morning. I saw my naturopathic oncologist, Dr Noe, Wednesday, so I have started my supplement plan to keep my body strong where chemo tries takes me down.
Even though I know what is coming in a little while and I did this cocktail 3 years ago for 12 weeks, I still have anxiety. Especially since it will be for 24 weeks this time. I'm going to feel pretty yucky some days, especially come 18 weeks in because of the accumulation each week but this is where Dr Noe will be key in my ring.
I don't have to much to say this morning about this step in my strategy. It's what I need to do to wash this cancer out of my body. Despite all the negativity I see and read out there about chemo, I know what's coming and using my integrative approach and having Dr Sorcinelli and Dr Noe and all my support, I know I will be ok and get through this. In the end, it's all about me and what keeps my mind positive and strong.
Please say a few extra prayers this morning that my first infusion goes well.
I was going in to discuss an oopherectomy and came out with the decision for a full hysterectomy.
I had already made the decision to remove my ovaries but during my visit to my gynecologist we discussed a full hysterectomy since she would already be in there and recovery still sucks just the same. So I said, take it. If I don't have my ovaries, I don't need my uterus and I sure don't want to do this surgery twice in case I need to remove my uterus down the road.
As I processed more about the appointment a couple hours later and the decision I just made, I started to think, "why does it feel so bad to be a woman?" Since April of 2014, being a woman just keeps taking from me. My breasts and the diep flap which led to self-conscious issues with all the scars I have and now all my internal organs that make me a woman will be removed. How can being a woman feel so bad!
Ya ya everyone can say "it's ok, you don't need them. You'll be fine without them." It's not the point. It's so not the point. And I know I'm not the first to go through this so my heart goes out to all the women who have had to and will have to make this life choice because of cancer. I never wanted children and I can't imagine how much harder it is if I wanted children. But even though I don't, I want the choice to want or not want children, not cancer to make that choice for me.
Rant over ... anyway, a full hysterectomy surgery is scheduled for Saturday which sounded so simple because it's an outpatient surgery until I met my gynecologist. There's nothing simple. Well it's much more simple than the double mastectomy with a diep flap and lymphnode removal surgery I had in November 2014 but still not simple. Recovery is 6 weeks with no lifting anything over 8lbs. Being an extremely independent woman, basically living on my own for almost 20 years (with a few roommates in between), who HATES asking for help...this is a problem!!!!! This bothers me more than whatever menopause symptoms I will have.
And as usual, everything happens at once. I am trying to sell my house, pack it up, move out, have surgery and start chemo all within the same 6 weeks, lol. When it rains it fucking thunder snows!!!
Please continue to keep me in your prayers and send me positive thoughts and vibes. I need a fast recovery.
Can't stop, won't stop...GoTeamLisa!
I still remember the day my surgeon removed the port from my body after my first round. I was so excited to rid my body of that port.
Today I have to connect a port back in my body but this time, I will live with this port indefinitely.
A port is like an artificial vein and is connected to a large vein near your heart. It saves your veins which mine are pretty much dried up from being poked so much the past couple of months. Plus because of my risk for lymphedema we can only use the veins in my left arm. A port is used for:
Headed in for surgery. Here's to my last morning without a port!
On January 31st, I made the decision to go public with my new diagnosis. I had actually gone a few weeks without telling anyone in the beginning because I didn't want to ruin anyone's Christmas since when my tests hadn't been completed even though we pretty much knew what we were about to deal with. At this point though, I had only told my immediate family and very close friends. I didn't have answers so I didn't want to tell people until I could answer questions without I don't know. But I knew I was ready for my support team to know so they could support me. I started by announcing at an all employee monthly meeting at Peter Paul Electronics (PPE), where I work and tell them that my cancer had returned. I wanted my PPE support team to hear it from me with the same message at the same time.
This was not easy! These are 150 friends who I consider family and telling them this very shitty news was very difficult. As I approached the front of the meeting room to tell them, I heard the sighs and the"no's" from our 150 employees. Before saying a single word. Most of them knew, it was just a matter of seconds until they heard it out of my mouth. I had to take a few deep breaths before I started speaking to be sure I cold keep my composure. I made sure I didn't make eye contact with certain employees because I knew I would lose focus. There weren't too many dry eyes but we all knew in the end what we had to do.
I also went public with my blog using Facebook and twitter. I wanted to be sure all my loved ones were hearing it from me and not anyone else or worse dramatic rumors.
I love how my good friend from college, Lisa Roberts, says it, "We are going to storm Heaven with our prayers!" She has always had such a huge heart and so much love. Anyone that meets Lisa will love her the very first moment they meet her she and will always laugh make you laugh. Her smile alone makes you smile. She must be a Lisa ☻
And we are! I can feel it!I know God and all our angels hear us loud and clear and are answering our prayers!
WOW! I can't thank you all enough for all your support, prayers and positive thoughts you're sending me and it's just the beginning. I'm overwhelmed! It's amazing and inspirational how we have the ability to come together to pray and support our friends and family and our friends friends and families.
My heart is full of love and my mind is full of strength.
Let's once again prove cancer can be beat! Let's be the hope and inspiration for so many others fighting! Let's fight, let's win and then we celebrate!
Let's keep flooding Heaven with our prayers. I can't wait to see what we're capable of. We're going to do BIG things my friends, so big we don't even know how capable we are!! We can't stop, we won't stop! GO TEAM LISA!! ♥
To all of you who support me through it all. Thank you for all your love. Your compassion for me brings my heart so much happiness. Freeing the toxic negative energy that was surrounding me is liberating. God is leading my life and there is greatness to come...it's already begun!
Today ends a chapter in my life and a new chapter begins and it's going to be the best chapter yet! Thank you to all who have supported me. You are all a part of my next journey in life and I love you all xxoo
This quote says who I am and I've always been and NO ONE will take this away from me or change this about me. Staying true to my roots!!
Always stay strong and never let anyone tell you you're not good enough!! It's easy to fall into other people's unhappiness and negativity but we thrivers carry on and stay strong!!
This weekend a little more reality slipped into my life. When I was diagnosed with cancer, my life changed as does anyone who has been down this shitty road. As I work to get my life back to a new normal life again, we come across reminders...reality checks. Things happen in life and it's easy to get bogged down in all the bullshit life brings and forget to focus on the peace and love life brings.
One of my Breasties had her final reconstruction surgery 4 weeks ago. Her surgery went well and she has been healing and living life. Until she woke up early Saturday morning feeling pain in her cancer side. She ended up in the ER with an infection which caused her to have heavy antibiotics pumped into her through an IV and fight for her life. Who would think? She's been walking around living life cancer free happy to be alive. I pray the medications work and she doesn't need surgery and she can get home to her family. My reconstruction surgery on my cancer side was 3 weeks ago....Reality check!
Another one of my Breasties was cancer free 6 months ago. Then some headaches came on, some tests were done resulting in the cancer returning and spreading to her brain. She fought hard for those 6 months before it took over her. She was only 38, has a husband and 3 year old son. My heart feels heavy for her family. My deepest condolences to her husband,son and family. I pray for them daily. I'm "cancer free" and 37. Reality check!
Cancer is an ongoing fight we fighters and thrivers battle everyday. I often hear people saying you are nearing the end of your journey. This journey doesn't end, it just eases up. I am cancer free. But cancer will forever fight me, everyday. And I never know when it will hit me harder and make me have to fight harder so I fight hard everyday. Reality check!!
I woke up very early today and couldn't sleep, thinking about cancer. It does this to me every now and then. I was thinking how easy it is to stop smelling the roses and how easy it is to forget what's really important. I also remembered cancer taught me to stop and smell every rose. I laid there in bed and rolled over to hold my husband and took in every part of the love and peace he brings. The rhythm of his breath, the way his back curves for my head to nestle in perfectly, the warmth from his body and how, even when sleeping, he recognizes I am there cuddling up to him and he cuddles back. As I lay there, I pray, thanking Jesus for all he's done for us, for bringing us together and keeping us together, knowing what's right for us. I lay there praying he never let anything bad happen to my luv. My husband too fights a never ending battle, MS. I enjoyed every second of it and every second of my morning, from the warmth of the shower, to feeding our kids and being sure to take in the ride to work and not think about what's ahead in my day. A woman rode my cars ass the entire way to work, 20 minutes, never bothered to pass me, just stayed right there on the bumper of my car. I wondered what she was thinking about. Whatever she was thinking about, she wasn't smelling the roses. I made sure I took in every second of my day today.
Never stop smelling the roses, stop and smell every rose. Live in the second of every second of the day. Take in what's around you. Absorb all the positive, the beauty, the peace and the love and let go of everything else. Stop and smell those roses!!
I didn't realize how much I'd care about how my foobs look. For the past year I have hated the way I look in the mirror. Scars all over always reminding me about the battle. I used to have great breasts but November of 2014 I chose to remove them. In my mind, I pictured walking out of the hospital with great new perky boobs. That's not what happened! I left with sadness and insecurities I never had. Scars all over my chest and stomach, foobs that looked nothing like boobs, and these plastic ports extruding out from under my "breasts" that hurt more than you'd think they would. My appearance in my eyes was crushed. After 8 months of living with these turtle shell looking things hanging off my chest, I had my 1st reconstructive surgery. I went under the knife thinking both turtle shells were being exchanged for implants only to wake up with only one expander swapped out. My surgeon was not comfortable swapping the right side because of the extensive radiation damage to the tissue we took from my stomach. I told my dad that morning he better be in the room standing over my surgeon making sure all went well. He must have known something that day. The turtle shell that was swapped out was even more unattractive than when it was an expander. It looked nothing like a breast. So for the next 4 months I had 2 foobs that looked nothing a like and nothing like breasts. I met again with my surgeon to talk about our next steps.
Tuesday, October 19, my nephews birthday who created my blog for me, I had surgery again. I have been waiting for this day to remove this plastic port under my other foob I've been living with for a year now. When we exchanged my expander on the left side, it didn't come out how I wanted (my surgeon and I are perfectionists and my breast surgeon didn't quite cut the way she should have) so we had more reconstruction work to do on the left. We were also finally swapping my turtle shell for an implant on the right side along with some needed reconstruction because of so much tissue damage from radiation. I woke up after surgery to the plan going accordingly, yay! Both sides were done and all seemed to go well.
Today, Friday, I finally unwrapped my package to see my goodies and so far I am pleased. I'm still swollen and uncomfortable but it feels so great to have symetricsl foobs that actually look like boobs again. I follow up with my surgeon in 2 weeks and hopefully that was my last surgery. We may need some touch ups though, we are perfectionists.
My support group continues to amaze and inspire me. My heart is so happy knowing so many family and friends think of me, say prayers for me and send positive vibes...thank you so much! Thank you to my support team at work making sure everything is covered so I can rest and recover without work stress. My luv and my mom take such good care of me during recovery, thank you for your unconditional love. I love you all xxoo
In February, I woke up one morning unable to move my neck. I thought I slept wrong or something. After calling like 30 massage therapists, I finally found someone who was willing to work with me while laying on my back and willing to take me in that morning. I went for a massage and although I felt like it helped, I still could hardly move it. I was also seeing my chiropractor for adjustments and while that felt good, it did not ease my neck.
I started reporting it to my oncologist every 3 weeks when I received my Herceptin treatment. Finally at my last Herceptin treatment (may) we ordered an MRI of my neck and ptscan. As she stated, I never complain and I have been complaining about this since February so let's order some tests and be sure it's nothing.
The insurance company decided they know what my needs are best so denied my Mri and ptscan but countered back with a ctscan of my cervical spine with chest, abdomen and pelvis with and without contrast. GOOD right? WELL, so I went for my ctscan. I waited patientaly a couple of days and received my results from my chest, abdomen and pelvis. Results: I have a cyst on my uteris but it's benign :) I have pulimary nodules on my lungs but less than 4 mm so benign :) and no sign of metastic disease :) but still no results of my cervical spine. My neck is the whole reason we are doing this to be sure the cancer has not spread to my neck. This past Monday, I call the Dr to see if the results are in for the cervical spine and after digging in, they find out that when I went for my ctscan insurance denied my cervical spine.
We continued on for more tests and were able to get a brain MRI and bone scan but still no luck with my neck MRI. Brain MRI and bone scan turned out fine. I see my Dr again in November to decide next steps. We think it's chemo induced arthritis although we would like to get tested to be able to completely rule out any chance of cancer.
On the positive side chest, abdomen and pelvis have no signs of metastic disease! Brain and bone scans are clear too. I couldn't feel more relieved about this news (dancing)! Thank you for all your prayers and positive vibes! <3
For those of you who have read through my tips and tricks you will have read about Essiac Tea and it's amazing natural ability to heal our bodies.
Below is a wonderful story about a women who was diagnosed with a rare uterine cancer, stage 4. Doctors gave her 3 weeks to live but she beat their statistics and she healed herself naturally, as many others have. My father drank Essiac tea during his fight against colon cancer and beat it. We know it played a huge part in healing my breast cancer too.
Click on the tips and tricks link to read more about Essiac tea, it's health benefits and where we buy it. We drink it daily and encourage you to! <3
Did you know you can get lymphedema in your Breast and chest? I didn't but I do now, I have it! The radiation has caused a lot of inflammation and aggravation. My breast is so inflamed, burnt, hot to the touch and just pissed off, my lymphatic system is struggling to drain.
I had an axillary lymphnode dissection on the right arm (14 lymphnodes removed), 3 sentinel nodes from my left side and 1 from my internal mammory gland. This is where they had to crack open my chest during surgery in order to remove this node to test it. Now I know how my dad felt when they cracked open his chest, pain. Lymphnodes are thinner than your hair strands and because of all the lymphnodes I had removed in my right arm, it's causing a traffic jam for my fluid to drain out of the right side. I don't have lymphedema in my right arm but this does increase my risk since we know my breast is not draining well.
In order to help with draining, I need physical therapy (PT) to help move the fluid to the healthy lymphatic areas like my left arm and right groin. Unfortunately the radiation has caused so much aggravation, PT would actually make it worse right now. The area I'm having radiated also needs 6 weeks to heal before PT can start. The area that is being radiated is quite large. Basically the entire top right front side and back side from below my breast to the top of my neck and from my neck to my shoulder. Yea...big area! In the meantime, I wear a compression bra to hopefully stop it from getting any worse. I do stretches throughout the day and I rub my arm all day. I think this has helped keep my arm draining. If I knew about the Breast I would have been doing things in that area too. In 7 weeks I'll start PT to assist moving the fluid out of the breast and unclog the traffic jam.
Learning to others, start physical therapy at the beginning of radiation!!! Have your radiologist put in the orders well before radiation starts so you don't have to wait 4 weeks before you can start like I did. And rub all areas being radiated and your arm along with stretches.
It's interesting to hear other people's opinions. I always listen to anyone talking to me knowing I'll learn something from everyone.
February 4th is World Cancer Day. Be sure to say a pray for all cancer fighters, thrivers, caregivers and to those and their families who have lost their loved ones to this horrible disease. #worldcancerday
I have 7 treatments left of radiation. This fatigue is NO joke. I guess one good thing is I actually get some sleep but at the the same time I never feel like I sleep, lol
The fatigue from chemo and radiation are very different. Chemo fatigue, I was always tired but could never sleep. Radiation fatigue, by 6pm I'm soo tired like I ran all day with no sleep the night before.
A week ago I couldn't sleep. And if I fell asleep, I couldn't stay asleep for more than 2 hours. I was taking sleep aids whether it be western medicine or natural sleep aids. Right now, I only need to take the natural sleep aids.
I'm hoping this gets me back on a sleep schedule. Wow, a sleep schedule would be incredible! I miss sleeping. Before cancer, I could sleep like a champ!! I was sleeping too much because I had cancer. But finding out I had cancer and cancer treatments have ruined that for me these past 10 months.
Let's pray and stay positive this a turn for the better....cheers to sleep!!!
I knew going into the clinical trial there was an increased risk of heart damage. It was a decision I made based on research and listening to my own heart. The first 8 months my heart did well. We had 3 eco's done and my last one in October my heart was perfect. I started back up on the Herceptin January 2nd. Herceptin fights the her2 gene and is taken for a year. Ever since that January 2nd, I have been having heart palpitations. Many times throughout the day my heart feels like it's pounding out of my chest and starts racing. This has caused concern for heart damage so I have to have it tested again and then monitored for 24 hours.
To continue on from phase 6 blog, because of my position I lay during radiation causes numbness and tingling, I went for an evaluation today. It was determined I need physical therapy everyday for a couple weeks because 1, my Breast is so swollen and tight and 2, my arm range of motion has become less do to surgery and radiation. First we will drain my lymphatic system to ensure I keep fluid from building up in my tissue. My right arm is at risk of lymphedema because I had 14 lymphnodes removed. I'm also at high risk of getting an infection from cuts, scratches, bug bites anything like that anywhere on my right side. We're talking the whole right front from neck to belly, back from top to bottom (literally lol) and my hand/arm. Of course it's the right side and I have a big scratch on my back right where I'm being radiated, ugh. What is important to understand here is my immune system has been compromised from chemo and takes YEARS to recover if it can. Infections are an absolute NO for me. These can lead to serious issues and hospitalization.
Our lymphatic system plays such an important role in the human body. When you've jeopardized your lymphatic system, as I have, and compromised your immune system, as I have, it can lead to other serious health issues so it's something that can't be ignored. If it's been too compromised and not caught in time it can even lead to lymphona which is a type of cancer. The other issue is I'm displaying signs of heart damage which can increase risk of lymphedema as well.
Look up wiseGEEK: what is lymphatic drainage. It's a short, very educational article.
I'll keep you posted next week what happens during PT.
We're half way through radiation, 12 more to go. Tomorrows storm is going to end up delaying all this but we're coming to an end to all of this. It's about 10 minutes for my radiation treatment. There radiating such a large area in both front and back of my body so common side effects are hitting me.
My skin is pretty tan and sensitive, more than sun kissed. Fatigue has started to make its way too. This whole journey has caused fatigue but I never sleep, lol.
For my skin I use an herbal oil my naturopathic oncologist makes for me along with allafia coconut body cream and organic virgin coconut oil. One of the incisions from surgery where I'm being radiated is inflammed and feels like a really bad bruise; very tender to the touch so I continue to use organic castor oil on my scars. The area on my back they radiate is more tender than other areas too.
Radiation started...and after 3 days, it looks like the position they have me in is causing nerve involvement so my hand and arm are numb and tingling all day and night with a feeling of tiredness and soreness. It causes sharp pains down my neck and back. Hopefully today we can fix this. This also increases my risk of lymphedema which I pray everyday I don't get but could come at anytime in my life. I will be starting physical therapy just hoping someone cancels so I can get in earlier than January 29th,
We're off to treatment...enjoy the snow everyone!! Be safe and BIG hugs.....