Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Time and Attention

Today I am checking in from Austin, TX y'all!! I'm here with my band mate, Angela playing some gigs and loving up on this town! SO much good food, so much good music and such great friends here-old and new! Currently I am writing in Cedar Creek Studios while Angela records a guitar show, we are simply having the best time living our dream. We have a few more shows left in town and I will be sad when it's all over. Traveling and playing music brings me so much joy, and helps me get out of my ruts and routines. I've spent much of this year adjusting and readjusting and adjusting and readjusting. Sometimes it still feels like my head is spinning, I can't quite believe the year I've had. Six months of chemotherapy, brain radiation, getting a port (for the second time), being told I most likely had about 6 months to live and fighting that with everything I had. 2017 was by far the most interesting (for lack of a better word I guess) year of my life!

I spent so much …

Thankful

Another Thanksgiving under my belt, and I for one am incredibly thankful that I was able to be here and be healthy enough to enjoy it. I can't say that enough, how thankful I am to be ALIVE. I cooked, I cleaned, I drank my (organic/sulfite free!) wine and ate more food than I ever should. I had a combination of family and friends (and dogs!) over and it was one of my favorite days of this entire year. For me these major holidays are a little reminder that things could have turned out very differently for me. They remind me to stay rooted in the present and enjoy the moment. That is no easy feat, especially now. I can't help but wonder about my future and if I'll be just as healthy come next Thanksgiving, or if things will have made a turn for the worst. Some days I worry about the future and I think about everything I've gone through, some days I completely forget it all. I can't help but have moments of worry; worrying that if I'm not totally on top of it, thi…

Beating the odds...

Two years ago today I went to the ER with a swollen left arm and trouble breathing. I was concerned about what was going on as my arm seemed to have gone from normal to swollen quick. Having started chemo a month before hand I was scared and worried. It turns out it was simply a blood clot in my catheter line (my port for my chemo was in my left arm and it is fairly common for a blood clot to form in the line). What I wasn't expecting was for the doctors to tell me I had a nodule that looked concerning in my left lung. I relayed this information to my oncology team and nothing was done. Not until July of 2016 when I had surgery to remove the nodule, which turned out out to be my metastatic breast cancer. So today, this day, is my only reference point to when I KNOW I was Stage IV, which means today marks the day when I know for a fact that I am beating the odds.

I have connected with other women with Stage IV MBC on Facebook and I see the stories, some are beating the odds and hav…

They say it's your birthday, gonna have a good time....

I have officially entered my mid 30's. How did that happen? I've never been one to complain about getting older, having two older sisters I was always scratching to keep up. Aging has always felt like a badge of honor to me, you live, you learn, you grow. I couldn't wait to see who I was going to become and what life had in store for me. I didn't anticipate life throwing Stage IV Breast Cancer at me that's for sure, but we can't always control the cards we are dealt. I've always been ALL about a birthday celebration (ask my cousin Jeff-he won't EVER forget my birthday because as a child I DRILLED it into his noggin), this year felt different though, it felt interesting-for lack of a better word.

I've written about the day I broke up with Google (that saucy little minx keeps me coming back for more-but the trust shall never be the same!). I googled "Stage IV Breast Cancer" and reading the first thing that popped up was like being punched in…

Chronically Yours

It's weird the way life works out. This month I'll turn 34 years old, and needless to say this isn't at all how I thought my life would look on my 34th birthday. I'm not complaining, it's just strange. We all make these plans for ourselves; I'll go to this college, then get this job, then move here, get married have babies and live happily ever after. What I couldn't plan was getting diagnosed with a terminal illness, or any serious illness. How could I have planned for it? You don't anticipate getting sick, you don't see it coming, there aren't exactly warning signs leading up to a breast cancer diagnosis. It just happens, quite literally out of nowhere. And then from that moment on, your life is changed. Time keeps moving forward and you can't go back, you are forever changed. The thing is though you aren't prepared to be forever changed. My life turned on it's head, just completely upside down. For a long time I thought of it as t…

The Self-Appraisal

Life has been busy lately, and it's been strange to get used to that pace again. Living with MBC (Metastatic Breast Cancer) means living your entire life without a solid answer to anything. Going with the flow takes on an entirely new meaning. The tides don't follow a predictable schedule, it may be high tide one minute and very low tide the next, finding your own steady footing is a challenge. But I like a challenge. In fact I've complained about them most of my life but I think deep down I actually love them. Attempting to flourish in the face of this disease is one of the biggest challenges I have faced in my life. I have changed in immeasurable ways and have been forced to not only look at my own mortality (we ALL have an expiration date), but learn to live with the knowledge that my expiration date may come a hell of a lot sooner than that of my peers. And please don't hit me back with the comment about how "I could get hit by a bus tomorrow," not only i…

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

It has officially been one month since my last round of chemo. Which is kind of INSANE, considering the level dis-trust I had in chemo after the first ones failed. This chemo lasted longer than my previous chemo, doubled it actually. I have now spent 9 months of my life putting a poison into my body to help eliminate the cancer that was trying to eliminate me.

I'm not sure I'll ever really wrap my brain around this whole experience. Two years ago when I was first diagnosed (Stage II) I was anxious to be done. I tossed on wigs, sipped on some beer, saw my friends and tried to say that this was a "temporary stop" before I returned to my life. It's just a test of the emergency broadcast system, we will return to your regularly scheduled programming soon! But it wasn't just a stop, and it wasn't a test, turns out this IS my life. Looking back at the person I was two years ago is strange for me now. I do not feel like her....at all. I am still me, but I b…

Defining Moments

EMPATHY-noun
  the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

SYMPATHY-noun
  1. feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune
  2. understanding between people; common feeling


I've been thinking A LOT about these two words this year. A WHOLE lot. For a multitude of reasons; the most obvious being because I got sick and I needed a whole lot of empathy and sympathy. But it's gone beyond that now. It's gone beyond wanting my family and close friends to display these qualities during my time of need. It's become about these two little words working their true meanings into my every day life. Working with the awareness that I have no clue what's going on with anyone else isn't always easy, but it's also not that difficult.

Let's be honest going on social media these days can feel like entering a war zone. Political opinions flying everywhere, people who once broke bread and shared pitchers of cheap beer are at each other's thro…

The Dangling Carrot

8 rounds (16 separate infusions-2 of which I was too ill for so technically 14) of chemotherapy in my body and hopefully that is THE LAST of it. For now.......

Having MBC (metastatic breast cancer) means I will ALWAYS technically have cancer. I feel incredibly redundant typing that sentence, but it is the truth of my life and can be easily forgotten. When I feel/look healthy it's hard not to want to forget about that cancer and to truly believe that everything is going to be fine. In fact it's healthy to do that, I can't live in a constant state of fear. But the fact remains that I have a disease that western medicine hasn't discovered a cure for.......yet.


Throughout the past year I have been working on developing my new normal. It's been a challenge and there have been many ups and also many downs. I have been fearful, overwhelmed with sadness and anger, and uncertain about everything, I have also been hopeful, filled with love and certain that I was headed down …

Explore Your Options...

As I approach my last (for now-aka this better be the last one for a while) round of chemotherapy I'm thinking a lot about what my next move is. I got an extra week added on to the end of this chemo because my body has had enough and wants a break. Cancer treatments destroy a person's body all for the end goal of hopefully being "healthy." It seems back-asswards to me from a logical stand point but I'm not sure any of this has been logical at all. Cancer defies logic most of the time; a treatment that works for one doesn't work for another. Even if the numbers are EXACTLY the same, individuality also applies to medicine.

Knowing that cancer can have a mind of it's own is the scariest part of this disease. In the past couple of weeks I've talked to several cancer patients, younger, older, breast cancer and other forms as well. Friends of mine have contacted me and asked me to help other people, even if they don't listen to a word of advice I give t…

Dog Days Of Summer

Summertime has officially hit Los Angeles!! With 75% humidity and temperatures in the 90's it definitely feels like an east coast summer out here.

 While this week I planned to have chemo and beat the heat by planting myself in front of my a/c unit and having a Netflix binge session alone, my body had other plans. After arriving at City of Hope and testing my blood it was determined some of my levels were too low to receive chemotherapy. As disappointed as I was, I've had to learn to roll with the punches. This one annoyed me only because all summer long I have had August 8th marked in my calendar as my LAST DAY OF CHEMO, and now that day will be the 15th. What's a week in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely nothing. But it can feel differently to the person who has been receiving the chemotherapy.

There have been MANY times during this process that I have wanted to quit, many times that I almost have. Thank God a good night's sleep can change your perspective. I am

On A Tuesday

Two years ago today, it was a Tuesday. Tuesday July 14th, 2015. Around 1030 a.m. I decided I would get ready and take my dog for a walk. I had gotten a biopsy done on my right breast the Friday before and still hadn't heard anything so I thought "Hey, no news is probably good news. Off for a walk I go." But as we know that wasn't the case. I've talked about this morning more than one time, because it was probably the most surreal moment of my life. I was alone (besides the dog, she was never great with soothing words in a crisis though) and I never in my life have felt more alone. Falling to me knees crying harder than I have ever cried before, screaming through tears. Calling family members and friends frantically trying to get anyone to me because I didn't know what else to do. The first to arrive was my band mate in Roses & Cigarettes, Angela followed by a few of my best friends and finally my mom and oldest sister arrived. The rose flowed like w…

Caught in an identity crisis...

I am now 6 rounds of chemotherapy in, 2 rounds of chemotherapy to go. For now....

I'm tired guys, just tired. I didn't think I would be doing this many rounds of chemo, and maybe that's a good thing. Knowing you've got 8 rounds in front of you can be daunting, sometimes taking it one step at a time is the better option. The side effects come and go, some days my energy is boundless! Most days it is the opposite, heading to the refrigerator for a glass of water can seem like a huge task. Some side effects are cumulative, like the pretty little brown curls that keep falling out of my head. What began as a small amount of shedding has resulted in a George Castanza bald spot on my head. I keep saying I'm Kosmo Kramer in the front George Castanza in the back. Like a reverse mullet, if you will. I can't say I'm thrilled about it, but it is what it is. My health is more important.

As I've experienced these side effects, and believe me the hair is the least of …

A small light at the end of the tunnel....

I have now had 6 1/2 rounds of this current chemotherapy. Total I have had 7 infusions, with 5 more infusions to go.

Just this year.

If you count it all up now I've had 14 rounds of chemotherapy. 35 rounds of radiation (breast), 1 round of radiation (brain), and 3 surgeries. Fairly aggressive for a girl who would barely go to the doctor for a sinus infection.

Recently it's been hard for me to see that light at the end of the tunnel. When you have an "incurable" disease it's hard to remember that some treatments ARE temporary. Because let me assure you they do not feel temporary, at least to me they don't. Going to the doctor for infusion after infusion and not being certain for how long this treatment will work for, or how much longer you have to endure it is exhausting. Not just on the body but on the soul. Don't get me wrong I am incredibly thankful for the results I have seen so far from this chemo. This treatment is and has been working. My last scan …

Gray Days....

The transition from spring to summer in Los Angeles is notorious for gray days. Many of them, all piled up neatly in a row somewhere between the beginning of May through, let's be honest if you live on the west side, maybe mid July. It is referred to mostly as 'June Gloom' but when occurring in May I hear it most frequently called 'May Gray.'  And I LOVE a gray day. I love the fog off the ocean. I love the smell in the air that inevitably happens when this fog-or marine layer, as it is referred to out here, rolls in. It reminds me of my childhood; many days spent on Cape Cod beaches watching the Chatham fog roll in. Getting my hoodie and eating a turkey sandwich with some Cape Cod chips-SO COZY!

So, we have established I love a gray day (my bedroom has been recently painted this lovely fog gray.) What I DO NOT LOVE is living in the gray. I am HORRIBLE at it. If you don't know what I'm referring to here (because you're not a control freak like mo…