Falling into Gratitude

I’ve been busy living this past spring and summer.  I stopped Abraxane in May and started on Halaven.  Abraxane is super tough for me.  It was a welcome relief to discover that Halaven allowed me to enjoy most of the summer after a day or two post treatment.  And what a spring and summer it was!

Mid March that puppy finally arrived! He’s been the perfect prescription fulfillment. A goofy, adorable bundle of unconditional love. He makes me laugh at least once a day and has had a limited destructive presence.  I think the total so far is one boot, a few socks and some cabinet scratches.  Not bad for a such a loving force of nature.  He’s training is going well despite being in prime adolescence at the current time. He also loves, coffee, tequila and the boat. And mud.  I shouldn’t forget the mud.

Earlier this summer my youngest graduated from Augsburg and managed the Dean’s List more than a few times.  I am so proud of him and what he has accomplished.  Life is tougher for him and he sails through it with persistence and a smile.  Right now he’s working full time at Target and despite the challenges of not driving he is making it work.  It’s been a great first job.  He’s a testament to the power of early childhood special education and how important those first few years are to a child’s ongoing development and success in later school years and life.

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August was wedding time!  My oldest married  the most amazing woman ever! I mean AMAZING! It’s true that all we really want in life as parents is for our children to be happy and he is happy.  Really happy.  I feel so lucky that she is now a part of our life.  They are both 4th year med students and have been spending October with us while doing rotations in Minneapolis.  It’s beyond priceless to get to spend this time with them and see how well they are handling the pressures of med school, support each other and have a great time doing it.img_1191

And now fall is here and things are changing.  Halaven stopped working in September.  I was not surprised as I was having more pain.  Last week we did scans and they didn’t look good.  There is quite a bit of new cancer throughout my skeletal system and looks like I had a fractured rib.  I’m not surprised about that.  I think I’ve actually had a few.  There is a tiny spot in my liver, but it’s not quite big enough to call it a real met yet, but the reality is it’s there and things are spreading.  The scariest part is  treatment options are becoming more limited.  Like less than the number of fingers on one hand limited.

You can see in the picture how the cancer grew from April to last week.  The dark and light grey spots are cancer. The really dark spot is just my bladder and me having to pee. Ha!img_1342-2

Last week my pain ratcheted up. Thankfully, I was smart enough to call in and had an appointment with the amazing palliative pain nurse practitioner  at my clinic and she set me up with a pain plan. So far it’s working fairly well.  I’m also on some short term steroids right now and if that doesn’t do the trick we will look at radiating the painful spot in my mid spine.  Moving forward the plan is to start carboplatin on Tuesday.  The Wizard is also consulting with the High Wizard at the Masonic Cancer Center and we’ll see if there are some clinical trials that I could qualify for.  The important word here is qualify.  I’ve been on so many treatments that many times this will exclude me from a trial.

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You can post a public image doing the #thriverpose with #moreformbc and earn $100 for mbc research.

I also had a bone biopsy on my left hip this week.  We haven’t done one since I was first diagnosed so it’s a good plan to check the hormone status ( which can change) and send this in to see if there are any possible mutations we can target and treat.  Precision medicine is important and it can work, but the reality is still very slim that we will find a targetable mutation.  Here is a link to a great article that puts things in perspective.  MaryAnne was a good friend and she worked hard to try everything out there to extend her life.

Metastatic breast cancer is a terminal illness.  I’m not dead yet, and I still have some great time ahead of me, but it does feel like I’m stepping into another plane of this disease. I know how quickly things can happen. I also evaluated my mental health this summer and decided it was time for an antidepressant.  There were times when my anxiety was becoming acute and all of the practices I had in place were no longer managing it.  I’m so glad I did.  I’m on a very low dose, but it has made a big difference.  I was reluctant at first.  I hate taking drugs and adding more to my growing list of meds, but if I truly believe it’s about my quality of life then I needed to do something about it. As educated as I am and as much as I know better intellectually there is still a mental health stigma. We all need to get over that and keep talking about our mental health and support one another.

Life is precious. The people you love and who love you are precious.  It’s a tough climate out there.  Please be kind and compassionate to one another.  If only we could understand each other’s stories!  I don’t believe the world is black and white.  It’s too complicated for that.  I think our job is to find the truth, to know that sometimes it’s not either or, but a mixture of both and to bring compassion and kindness into the world.  You never know what a difference a kind word or small act will make in someone else’s life.

18 thoughts on “Falling into Gratitude

  1. Oh Judy, Thank you so much for this inspiring update. Thank you for your candor advocacy. I am so sorry to hear about the further progression but am delighted you are finding the support system for your new plan. Sending nothing but love and light and hope that your days are as pain free as possible.

  2. Judy
    I continue to be beyond overwhelmed at your open and honest sharing as you move through life. The beauty and the not so beautiful are so often running parallel to each other and when they cross you use your strength and the strength of the community that supports you to continue.
    You are loved and I am proud to be one of those who loves you❤️❤️❤️

  3. Judy – You are loved – for who you are, the legacy you continue to build, and for being the person we should all aspire to be each day. Our honest, human and realistic optimist. See you very soon.

    Mary

  4. Your story really hit home for me. One thing guaranteed with mbc is it will change usually by traveling to other organs in my body. Currently in my bresst, lymph nodes and lungs.
    I too am a believer in quality of life! I choose how to spend my time and cherish sharing family time when possible. I realize this is a desease few understand and I’m tIred of explaining so I will continue to look forward to each day and the joy that waits for me! As things change I hope I have the grace & serenity to accept what is happening. Thank you! God bless you as you continue to fight mbc!

  5. Judy, First of all, that dog is adorable! A comment above thanked you for your CANDOR postings. Even if she meant to write CANCER, your candor is admirable, energizing, and very appreciated. None of us like this mets journey, with all the nasty surprises we worry about before they happen, try to be brave about when they do happen — over and over again.

    So much love,
    Dorothy

  6. Judy, First of all, that dog is adorable! A comment above thanked you for your CANDOR postings. Even if she meant to write CANCER, your candor is admirable, energizing, and very appreciated. None of us like this mets journey, with all the nasty surprises we worry about before they happen, try to be brave about when they do happen — over and over again.

    So much love,
    Dorothy

  7. That was so beautiful you look so beautiful and healthy in spite of everything God has blessed you you are so strong and have a great attitude I wish I could eat just like you

  8. Oh Judy, First off I’m sorry about the progression and everything that goes along with that. But secondly, that pup is so cute ❤️ and congrats to both sons, who are doing so well. I think about you often. I hope some targets show up and clinical trials and/or better drug choices appear.

  9. Judy you are so strong and so well spoken. I am proud to be your friend. I hope this new treatment plan is successful! Stay strong! Love you! Kris

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