Friday, September 30, 2011

09/30/2011

I'm writing this from the pre-op room, ready to get to my exchange surgery starting at 10am. My IV doesn't hurt this time, so we're off to a great start.

More info to come!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

09/22/2011

Just a little over three hours until my final Herceptin infusion. Its such a bittersweet time in this whole journey. I think if I could afford to, and the medical community would support it, I would just continue the Herceptin until I couldn't anymore. I know they say there is no benefit to another year, but I'm such a "more is more" thinker. I've changed my diet and lifestyle for the most part- with a couple big slip ups in the past week. But I know its going to be my actions and lifestyle from here forward that keep fighting without the drugs.

Hopefully, I will be one of the lucky women randomized to the Neratinib on the trial. This remains to be seen. For those of you with good vibes, please send them toward OHSU, for those with prayers, we need those as well. We have yet to determine what plan "b" will be.

This week has been a roller coaster, happiness about the end of treatment, fear about what is to come, sadness over the loss of a friend and fellow survivor, and appreciation for all of the support I've received from my friends and family. I've even had the opportunity to foster some new friendships with an amazing couple who knows this battle even better than we do. Next week will be my final surgery.

There isn't much to do this month except look back and realize how far we've come. Since I was diagnosed, we have celebrated our 3rd and 4th wedding anniversaries. Shane has completed college and just got a new job as a Counselor. I have finished all my Master's level coursework, changed jobs and began mediating with Neighbor to Neighbor. We have held each other up through a major surgery, I have gone from hair to no hair to hair. We have driven to OHSU hundreds of times, met hundreds of people, and felt so much love from people we already know. We have cried ourselves to sleep some nights, been elated at how blessed we are, and sat confused at what's next. Regardless, we are here, together, at the end of all of this treatment and all we can do is start our normal lives again and hope and pray that history doesn't repeat itself.

Today is a day of celebration and hope for us as we start our next journey. This is not a time to take things for granted - and I needed that reminder this week. My friend Claudia posted that we should never take second chances for granted, and there wasn't anything else I needed to hear at that exact moment. I won't be taking this chance for granted! Thank you to everyone who has touched us in one way or another for getting us to this point.

Love and hugs,
Heather & Shane

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Its been over a month since Shane and I have posted anything to our blog, but that isn't to say that there haven't been updates in our life. Mainly, we have just been enjoying whats left of the summer and planning our future now that Shane is finished with school and i'm almost finished with treatment. September 22nd is the official last date of my treatment. I'm excited and scared to say goodbye to Herceptin, as it has become my security blanket in so many ways. As I've mentioned before, i'm planning on jumping into some clinical trials as soon as they'll allow. My exchange surgery for my new "squishy foobs" will be September 30th. I'm likely going to be out of comission for about a week afterward, but am hoping that the recovery will be relatively quick and I can move forward with life AND WITHOUT EXPANDERS!!! There are so many things I can't wait to do: sleep on my stomach, wear a shirt without looking like I have oranges shoved under my skin, give someone a hug and not worry that they think i've stuffed my bra with rocks, and finally begin to make peace with what my body is going to look like from now on. I have the utmost faith in my amazing plastic surgeon, so I know she's going to do the best she can with what I have (or don't have).

This coming weekend is the Komen Race for the Cure in Portland. I don't have a team setup this year, but Shane and I are planning on walking and hopefully being joined by some family and friends. I've had mixed emotions about the Komen Walk because of thier focus on "awareness" as opposed to "curing". I mean, the truth of the matter is, a corporation or business can't make money on breast cancer if it doesn't exist anymore. And trust me, I'm well AWARE that it exists. Awareness may have been the reason I caught my BC before it became late stage...unfortunately, it doesn't stop my breast cancer from Metastisis to late stage anyway. I'm not sure that many people are aware of this fact. Basically, people seem to believe if you catch it early you're fine. Thats not always true. To hell with awareness, in my opinion, lets work on funding some research so no one EVER HAS TO BE AWARE AGAIN. But, in the meantime, Komen and I will continue our love/hate relationship and i'll support them as long as they are funding some research and helping those women who may not have other resources. If you are planning on giving a significant amount of money to Breast Cancer, however, I would consider looking for a non-profit that supports research. Research is where the cure is, not just more of the same.

The walk is always an amazing inspiring event, however. There are thousands of survivors there who have taken this disease head on and won. There are also thousands of women there who are dying of this disease and facing it with strength and courage every. single. day. I feel so connected to all of these women because we have all experienced, and continue to experience something that is impossible to explain. We have all had our dreams shattered in one way or another, and we have all pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and moved forward. I love my fellow survivors - they know a part of me that no one else in the whole world can understand.

In other life and cancer news, Shane and I have started a new diet/lifestyle that is really supposed to be a huge hit to my cancer-issue. We picked up a book at Borders (which is closing BTW) called Life Over Cancer. The book is written by Dr. Block an oncologist who started the Block Center for Integrative Medicine. The program gives recommendations for diet (vegan except for Fish), no alcohol, supplements (such as fish oil, indinol-3-carbinol, etc...), exercise (daily), and prayer/meditation. Shane is following the diet with some modifications just to be supportive and I am trying to follow it to the best I possibly can. So far I have lost 3lbs of my chemo weight and exercised every day but one this week. I think the program is going to be great for me, but SOOOOO hard to follow.

Anyway, I'm celebrating my last treatment with dinner with my Alice then a Beaver game with my mom, Shane, and my amazing Grandad. We are going to have an amazing time together, as we always do!

I hope everyone is well. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we go through my final (hopefully) surgery and begin the next phase of this journey.

Much love,
Heather