I felt like I was going to die last year. In August, I had a liver biopsy done, due to concerns of a liver lesion and also to find out my Her2 status. It was determined that my cancer is Estrogen positive and Her2 Negative (not Her2+). After my biopsy, my liver started acting up. It went downhill after that. I had so much pain in my stomach, nausea, diarrhea, you name it, I had it. I just wanted to lay in bed, cover myself with blankets and sleep forever.
I put a brave face on, even went to Maine for a few days. Due to strict Covid rules, Maine adventures were limited to sightseeing in the car and getting takeout. I did not have the energy to stand in long lines to shop at some of my favorite stores. It sucked and I felt bad for Mike.
Continued days of feeling ill, you contemplate is life worth living? Is this fair to Mike having a once active crazy wife to struggling day to day? I know my thoughts were due in part of the pandemic which brought depression, loneliness, apprehension and much more! Complete the selection with a layer of feeling like shit, it made the perfect storm of my life.
Part of my feeling like shit was my stubbornness to WAIT on a new treatment and to clean out my body of the poisonous chemicals of latter. Dr. D and even Dr. K from Dana Farber insisted that my new treatment start immediately.
When I am in pain, I go into a deep meditative state. My world becomes surreal. I dream and pray a lot. I close my eyes and let it all go. This time, I surrendered my fears and some obligations and responsibilities that I have no control over. I felt such relief and understanding that I not only said the words, I felt them! I thanked God and the universe. I talk to my body, (don’t judge I’m not crazy), for the strength and energy for this long battle we have been fighting physically and mentally together.
September came and I had so much bad juju in my body and mind, that I went to see my friend Lou for a Reiki treatment. I have a strong connection with Lou and when I reached out for help, she was there. I know there is a lot of skepticism about Reiki, but it works for me and can work for everyone if you have an open mind and release yourself to whatever can happen during your treatment. When I had Reiki, I could feel the negativity leave my body and when she was directed towards my head, I felt the release of my pollutants. It was the most incredible visual physical treatment I have ever experienced! I left feeling tired, grateful and exuberant. Life was good again. Now I was ready to try a new chemo.
After discussing my options of treatment, I decided on Abraxane.
ABRAXANE is a chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a type of medicine that is used to keep cancer cells from growing or to kill cancer cells. Treatment with Abraxane may help control or slow the spread of cancer cells. Abraxane may help stop cancer cells from dividing and making new cells. It works by blocking the action of proteins called microtubules. These proteins help cells divide.
Systemic treatments like Abraxane are used to treat metastatic cancer. This is cancer that has spread from one part of the body to another. It is also known as advanced or stage 4 cancer. Systemic treatments travel through the bloodstream. This makes it possible to reach cells in many parts of the body, including cancer cells. ABRAXANE may also affect normal cells. Abraxane is given to me every other week.
Once a month, I am given a shot called Neulasta. This is used to help your body make more white blood cells. White blood cells are important to help you fight off infections. Neulasta is given to people whose ability to make white blood cells is reduced due to chemotherapy. This may cause side effects, (of course!)
I am cautiously optimistic and hope this treatment continues to work for a very long time
Let’s talk about the good and the bad that’s happened since I’ve been on Abraxane which I started October 6th. I have had good results! My counts have gone down and my liver has been stable. Yes, I am bald but my hair is growing back and it’s a salt & pepper color and I’ll take it! I hate being bald. My son Tony surprised me in October by doing a fund raiser which he shaved his long locks in support of my future baldness. What a gift of love! I thank everyone for their contribution, it was very humbling and I was grateful for the donations to help pay my medical bills.
I dislike wigs. So I live in hats and bandannas till this hair is long enough to go uncovered. I have heard it all…at least your alive, bald is beautiful etc., etc! Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the medicine working and obviously being hairless wasn’t an issue if it keeps me alive longer. My other side effects are tolerable, bone pain and fatigue and neuropathy in my feet (which we are keeping an eye on). My first week after chemo, I take it easy by drinking plenty of water, eating bland foods, heating pad for the bone pain and also taking naps due to the fatigue. My treatments are done on a Tuesday and by Saturday, I’m usually better and can do some of my usual routine. Bone pain in my left femur is constant and pisses me off that it’s not healing faster. I had an x-ray taken and all is good with my femur however, it was a bad break and I have a feeling I will always struggle with it. I swallowed my pride and got a handicap parking placard which my kids insisted I do months ago!
I am thankful for the love and support I have from my family and friends in this walk of the unknown.
After Tony did his fundraiser, I decided that I will not sugar coat my cancer. I am more open and honest with my kids, step daughters and grandchildren. Some of my grandkids were there when Tony’s head was being shaved and some watched on face time. They have seen me bald when I visit. I explain to them, Mimi can’t do some of the activities she used to and they show so much love and thoughtfulness towards me. I was able to watch 6 of my grandkids play this hockey season. The younger grand girls are so much fun and no matter how much I beg them to become a ballerina they refuse! Bella will be 18 soon! I love going shopping for crystals and plants with her and of course we have to go out to lunch! I also enjoy painting with her. My grandson Gio is now a year old! He is beautiful and fills my heart with joy.
I also have been looking at my jewelry, (believe me there is nothing of much value, more sentimental pieces). When I see a piece that reminds me of someone I love I just give it to them. I love the smiles on their faces. It’s so much nicer this way than when I’m dead! I have some put away for the younger ones and have some pieces I still wear but I know who will get them.
I am not being morbid, I’m not planning on dying soon, but you never know. I am being realistic and want to be prepared with personal matters. I am very lucky to be able to be open and honest with Mike with my wishes.
So my wish for 2021? To visit with family and friends, hang out on my deck and listen to some good music, turn on the fire pit and watch the sunsets. Plant in raised garden beds with No FALLS! Take the camper van and go fishing and to the ocean. Most importantly to thank God every morning and night for another good day.
There are hidden blessings in every struggle
A bad hair day for Tony lol!