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Showing posts from 2018

Giving IN

Throughout my entire career as a professional cancer fighter I have pushed the limits. I have performed, taught yoga, continued to socialize, exercise, write and be as "normal" as possible. Pushing through exhaustion so that I may have the gift of experience. My perspective on the need for experience is beginning to shift though and I feel as if I'm entering a new phase. Leaving the need to prove that I could live and experience life despite a cancer diagnosis behind, and nuzzling into the comfort of staying home, resting and HEALING. The anxiety of missing my life has begun to ease and I have found myself craving sleep, quiet and some nothing-ness. My mom has been here staying with me and taking care of me-making sure my every need is fulfilled, cooking my food, taking care of my dog and supporting this entire operation. Which has allowed me to give in and let go. Notice I did not say give UP. I said give IN.

Giving IN. It's such an interesting concept, I didn't…

Here comes the rain again...

The rain has arrived and with it brings my favorite time of year in LA. I love the rain, I love the weather, I love how the whole city basically shuts down because we all forgot how to function in actual weather. I love how the news stations talk non-stop about it with their various "storm watches," really pumping up the drama for what in New England would just be called rain. I LOVE it. (Really praying for no mud slides though!) There's something about the rain that changes the attitude of the city, it's like the rain comes in and washes all the soot away and for a day or two you get to see just how beautiful this place can actually be. With it's clear blue sky and it's 67 degrees in December, with it's snow capped mountains in the distance and miles of coast line right here in town. If you can't tell I love LA when it rains, and it's perfectly matching my current hibernation plan.

I'm now one full round (2 infusions) into my new chemotherapy…

The Bad News Bears

This past week I had a PETscan to check in with how this current chemotherapy is working inside my body. This month would mark the 4th out of 6-9 months of this chemotherapy so we were getting our progress report. My tumor markers (for those that are unaware tumor markers are in your blood-they check them about once a month to notice if they're going up and down as that is usually indicative of what's happening inside your body) after the first month cut in HALF. From 215 to 110. I mean it was CRAZY, full blown confidence from my team of doctors and me that the chemo was doing it's job. But then the next month it stood still. One of the markers (I check 2 every time CA27.29 and my CEA) had gone down slightly while the larger one stayed put. We initially had confidence the larger one would soon follow suit as the tumor marker that did drop a little is generally considered the trend setter. So month 2 FULL CONFIDENCE, month 3 confident but disappointed, and now to month 4 an…

Opinions are like a.........

We've all heard the saying.....we all know what it means. And we certainly all know people with pretty strong opinions, but everyone has got one. You aren't original for having one, however original you may think yours is. Having cancer means being subjected to LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of opinions. From EVERY direction. For those who have gotten married or had children I'm sure you are familiar with how common it was for just any ole person to give you parenting/pregnancy/wedding day opinions, as if you had been waiting for the right person to come along and tell you how to live your life. And that maybe you'd be lost without it, if they didn't share. Please don't misunderstand, I am a highly opinionated person, and I'm generally highly willing to share my opinion no matter how controversial it may be. And while most of us truly believe and truly may be helping another person by sharing our opinion, some of us may also consider learning HOW to share said opin…

A Week In The Life

There are a lot of aspects about my life that don't exactly fall into the "normal" category anymore. 3 1/2 short years ago I was working at a bar, teaching yoga and working on Roses & Cigarettes. I had a pretty full social life, that generally revolved around drinking, and felt like a fairly normal 31 year old. The day I was diagnosed my life changed, and I knew everything would always be different. I knew that day that nothing would be the same, that that was a moment, maybe THE moment that my life would be forever changed. At the time I didn't know how dramatically it would change and I spent the first almost year of my diagnosis thinking this was a terrible dream I was bound to wake up from. It wasn't until that year later when I was diagnosed Stage IV that my life took a HUGE shift. My focus took a huge shift and now, over 2 years later I can't imagine going back in the other direction.

My life was seemingly normal, I worked, I partied, I saw my frien…

A Sigh Of Relief

I finished my first cycle of chemotherapy in August and then hopped on a plane to fly back to Massachusetts and try and forget about this cancer stuff for a while. And while forgetting may not exactly be the easiest thing in the world I was able to give myself a break from the rut I had gotten into at home. I had spent the greater part of the summer at home not able to do much while I waited for and then recovered from surgery. My brain and body needed the change of scenery and I feel like I finally could breathe when I got to Cape Cod and spent some time lounging with family.

I begrudgingly returned to LA and returned to chemo this week with my fingers and toes crossed that last months chemo made a difference in my body. That the chemotherapy did it's job killing lots and lots of those little cancer cells that keep threatening my very existence. And low and behold that chemo DID do it's job. And it did it well! I had been freaking out because after my first round of chemo bot…

Stuck In The Middle With You

2 chemo infusions down, 16 to go. Tomorrow I'll get my third and final infusion of this first "round" of infusions. Each round consists of 3 infusions so all in all I'll go to the hospital 18 times for this chemotherapy over the next 6 months. 18 times. My perspective can shift from day to day and at times it seems like 18 times in 6 months? No problem. Other times those 18 visits feel like a mountain I have to climb. Today I'm somewhere in between the two, stuck right in the middle of "hey this isn't so bad" and "are you kidding me? THIS is what my life look like?".  There's not always a  rhyme or reason for these shifts in mood and perspective, sometimes it's just the side of the bed I wake up on, other times it is decidedly not just the side of the bed I wake up on. Sometimes it's the weight of everything I deal with bearing down on my shoulders. That invisible weight that can't be seen by others but can be felt by me.

I…

Here We Go Again....

Tomorrow begins my third time entering chemotherapy and I am having a WHOLE lot of mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I am very excited to start because in my case we know that chemo has worked in the past. It brought me back from the brink last year and I am confident it will again this year. But what I know for a fact is that chemo is not a cure. It has never been a cure and it will never be a cure. And those aren't the words of a girl who has read too many alternative healing books. Those words came straight from my oncologist when I asked him what is the point in doing this again if every year or so I have to lose all my hair and give up my life for 6 months? Honestly, what kind of life is that? His response was "Because you're young, and chemo has never been, won't ever be, and isn't now a cure. But it will keep you alive, and I want to keep you alive until we see one." Needless to say he convinced me to once again go into chemotherapy, and he rega…

Hurry up and wait

It's been a week since I saw my oncologist and we formulated the plan to once again bring me back to some sort of semblance of health, and nothing has really changed. That's the thing with cancer, it's a WHOLE bunch of hurry up and wait. We want to see you RIGHT AWAY!!! Also I can't get you an appointment for 3 weeks, but it is IMPERATIVE I see you right away! To me right away means today, not 21 days from now. Well in the medical world now, could also mean two weeks from now. So here I sit, pain increasing by the day, waiting.

Many people have asked why I'm getting the surgery on my hip, mostly asking if it's to remove a tumor. And no, it's definitely not to remove a tumor. If a tumor is on the bone then that is where it shall remain. I will be having surgery because the pain I have is being caused by a tumor yes, but it's really because the tumor is massively weakening the bone which means at any moment if I stand on it and it's decided it's h…

Do Not Pass GO, Do Not Collect $200

When I was growing up every single summer my family would head to my grandparents house on Cape Cod. No matter where my family was living we always returned to the place that we considered home. Along with my immediate family, my cousins and aunts and uncles would all get together for at least a week of family fun. A big part of this family fun was playing games; we loved 'em! Saved for the rainiest of days was Monopoly, we all love the game but during the summer it can really put on a damper on your beach time! While playing Monopoloy we have all gotten that one card, that one mean little card that stops us from GROWING OUR EMPIRE and defeating our beloved family members; Go To Jail, Go Directly To Jail,  Do Not Pass GO, Do Not Collect $200  (slightly aggressive but that's neither here nor there). It's a mean little card that can turn your Boardwalk Empire dreams into dust. We've all been there right? And I'm not talking about just playing Monopoly, I'm talki…

Routines and Ruts

I am a creature of habit. That's not to say I can't adjust, because Lord knows I can adjust. But I do happen to be a person that creates a routine for herself. Once I get on a kick, and I know it works for me I stick to it. That being said my routine at this point is beginning to feel like a serious rut. I have created a life and habits for myself in which I feel safe. My house is stocked with all the food and products I can use so there's no room for error, I know the restaurants near me that I can eat at, I have my vitamins and my health practitioners that work for me, I have my walk to the beach and my spot I sit at, my yoga studio in walking distance and have set my life up to be convenient for my needs. But at what point does this "safe place" really just become a safety net?

When I was diagnosed Stage IV I worked incredibly hard changing EVERYTHING in my life. I knew to survive this disease I would have to be focused, I would have to make changes and they w…

Finding My Foundations

I've always been a person with very little patience, always wanting to skip ahead and get to it ALREADY!! If I didn't exhibit at least some natural talent for something, I'd move on instead of diving deeper into it. And for a long time this seemed to work for me, seemed being the key word here. But with everything I did there was still an element of impatience, like ok yeah I get it take me to the more advanced stuff. So when I started taking yoga classes after growing up my entire life with gymnastics and ballet I was again impatient with the practice. I was flexible and fairly strong so I tossed myself into more advanced classes and ended up with a back that would go out and some very unhappy rotator cuffs, and yet was still being praised for how "beautiful" my practice was. Giving my ego just enough to keep me coming back for more. The problem was I skipped over ALL of my foundations. ALL OF THEM. The more yoga classes I teach the more I discover that most of …

The Results Are In....

Last week I had a PETscan. I hadn't had one since the end of December and at that point things weren't looking good. This was the first scan since the loss of my good friend and fellow metavivor, Michelle. Normally we are texting back and forth about our anxiety and calming each other down. This time felt different without having her around, although I believe she's on the other side helping me out! This past December my PETscan had revealed that the cancer was spreading again and it was happening pretty fast. Fear took hold of me once again and I knew I needed to step it up and re-commit to all the little things I know keep me healthy. I have completely cut out alcohol, it's been 4 months without it which is kind of insane considering how much I used to drink. Saw my holistic health doctors, tightened up my diet, and upped my cannabis oil intake. My oncology team decided current treatments needed to be changed and fast because the Letrozole was clearly not working. I …

A loss...

Last week was a doozy you guys. A real doozy.

I had some things going on in my personal life that wasn't exactly keeping me in the greatest state of mind (don't we all have those things sometimes). I was struggling a bit and on Friday my sister, Sarah came over to hang out. We hadn't had some good quality sister time in a while and were both feeling tired so couch potato/Netflix time it was. As we were relaxing I decided to mindlessly scroll through Instagram, when I came upon a post by my friend, Michelle. I had texted her a day or two earlier asking how she was doing, and hadn't heard back which was unusual for her. Michelle and I have the same disease, and have been on MANY of the same treatments. This is how we became friends, bonding on an online forum and then beginning to talk via facebook messenger. I think we were friends for about a year before we ever actually exchanged numbers! Michelle recently started IV Chemo, which she hadn't done before so we were …

Checking In

Hello everyone!

It has CERTAINLY been a long time. I have no excuse for myself, except that I felt like I needed a break. I love writing, and writing this blog has truly helped me to process everything I've been dealing with for almost 3 years now. But occasionally I feel as if my sharing can leave me exhausted and exposed. And it's my own doing! I suppose I'm still finding my own boundaries. I've always been someone who jumps fully in. I have a hard time compartmentalizing, and I'm generally an open book in all directions, but recently I had felt the need for quiet. I felt the need to fully figure out how I was feeling before I shared.

In December things were not looking good again. My tumor markers shot up and a PETscan revealed new growth in the bones, breast, brain, lungs and again a spot on my liver. How could it be that just a mere 4 months after I finished IV chemotherapy (mind you chemo lasted 6 months) I could be in almost the exact same position as I was…