On Friday, July 21, 2017 I had my 4th surgery. Back in April I had developed an infection, which left me with a hole on the side of my left breast. During that surgery my plastic surgeon had to remove my expander. I had to wait until after radiation before he could put the expander back in. When they scheduled my surgery I was excited. Finally I was going to have a left boob again. Finally, I could feel a little more normal in my own skin. So you can imagine how upset I was when my Plastic Surgeon’s office called to try to bump my surgery to August. Honestly, I feel like I have been very patient through all of this, so at that point I was over it and had to advocate for myself. Richard and I called my surgeon’s office and refused to be bumped. We have plans and things we are doing. I needed this surgery out-of-the-way. It’s sad, but if you don’t advocate for yourself, no one will. I am grateful that they were able to accommodate me.
Below is a picture that Richard took right before they wheeled me into surgery. He was having a little fun with Snapchat. You really have to just laugh at yourself sometimes. It’s the only thing that keeps you sane. ** Side note: 11 years ago on July 21, 2006 I met my husband Richard at a Salsa class. What a way to spend our anniversary. LOL
I applied for the Clinical Trial and ended up with the placebo group. That was a huge blow to the heart for me. I was really hoping and praying for the study group, but God has other plans for me. We are not giving up. Plan B here we come. The Good news is that I was finally able to start the Ibrance, which is a chemo pill. I wasn’t able to start it earlier because my White Blood Cell count was still low from radiation. My numbers were finally up and I was ready. That’s another reason why having the surgery was so important. I needed to make sure I got that out-of-the-way, so that I could start the pill. I am currently taking Letrozole ( a hormone blocker) and adding Ibrance to my treatment is supposed to help keep me stable. I don’t know if I will ever hear the words “remission”. I don’t even know if that word applies to my case, but I am shooting for NED (no evidence of disease).
In August I will be flying to Canada for Stretch Heal Grow, a yoga and wellness retreat for young women with Breast Cancer. It was something I came across and thankfully it was meant to be. I remember when one of the employees of the organization called me because they don’t usually get applicants from Florida. They cater towards Canadian women, but the fact that I am metastatic and there are not a lot of services for women like me, made her want to allow me access to such a great experience. I am forever grateful to Shawna and RETHINK Breast Cancer. I am so excited to connect with other women and to have some “me” time to heal. August is the perfect month for this, because it will be a year that I was diagnosed. I hear from other women that it can be an emotional month. I want to say a special “Thank You” to my Boston Latin Academy family. The money raised from the Green Chemo Ninja T-shirts paid for my airfare to Canada. To everyone that purchased a T-shirt, Thank you for being a part of this journey.
This has all been a full-time job. Eating healthy. Taking all my supplements. It’s exhausting keeping up with all the doctor’s appointments and keeping track of everything else, like mommy duties. I feel like I still have chemo brain and I have to write everything down so I won’t forget. Just like everyone, I have good days and bad days. I really try to focus on having more good days than anything. If I feel myself getting into a funk I have to take a minute to just cry and get it out of my way so I can move on.
I have joined a few groups on Facebook for women with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. Sometimes reading their stories depress me, other times they give me the fuel to keep fighting. God, I know my situation could be worse and I am grateful for your mercy and your blessings. I am blessed to have such a great support system. I am blessed with an amazing family. I am grateful that I was born so feisty. I have never been so determined in my life. I plan on seeing my boys graduate from College. I am a positive person and my attitude might not “cure me”, but at least I will have a better quality of life. I rather have a smile on my face and laugh with my boys then feel sorry for myself. We always have a choice. I choose to have HOPE!