We had only been in our new house in lovely Ramsey, NJ for less than 2 months. Literally still unpacking into our new life when I received the original diagnosis of Breast Cancer, Clinical Stage 1. It was September 29, 2014. Of course I got my team in place and moved ahead with surgery. I had a lumpectomy in my left breast, then chemotherapy over 3 months or so, then 33 rounds of radiation. Lost all my hair and had some fun with wigs – especially that purple one. I did everything I was supposed to do! I even juiced and exercised and tried to be as healthy as possible.
Then cut to 2 years later, (around this time last year) my family was driving back from a camping trip in the Adirondacks. For some reason I was feeling the side of my neck and I felt a bump. I just knew. A biopsy about 1 week later confirmed by dreadful suspicion. Indeed, the cancer came back. A petscan soon revealed the cancer had also metastasized to my lungs and bones. I am now stage 4, Metastatic Breast Cancer. The stats are gloomy. Metastatic Breast Cancer claims approximately 40,000 lives a year in the U.S. The Median survival after a Metastatic Breast Cancer Diagnosis is 3 years. The mere thought of not being here to take care of my 2 daughters, Izzy and Abby, leaving them without a mother sends me into a tailspin, and utterly breaks my heart. To leave my loving husband Bill to raise them alone saddens me and fills me with worry. To think my parents will have to bury their only daughter, and my brother his only sister brings pain like nothing else. This is the nightmare I have been living this past year.
I am already on my 3rd line of defense in terms of treatment in only 1 year. Now the cancer is also in my liver. This reality is hard to take. Some days I cry. I scream. I hide. I suffer. Other days, I feel almost normal. However, I am determined to write my own story. I want to test the theory of mind over matter. I have always been a positive person, and am thinking now this aspect of my personality can really come in handy. When the cancer came back, my friend Jane said to keep a vision of me holding my grandchild. I do that. It helps. I also have been doing a lot of Reiki Energy healing which I find fascinating and incredibly healing. More on that in future posts. Tomorrow is my 3rd chemotherapy infusion at Columbia Prysbeterian in NYC. I feel so fortunate to have found with the help of my incredible Team Heather – a clinical trial in early phase 1. I am the 13th person in trial. The trial is testing chemotherapy (Abraxane) in combination with a drug called Ricoclinistat, an Hdak 6 inhibitor. The science is something else all-together and I believe in it. We just need more research! Did you know only 7% of Breast Cancer funding goes to research for Metastatic Breast Cancer! #Stage4needsmore. This I will talk more about in future. It is very important however that we focus on research for MBC. Too many women are dying.
I do have a good feeling about this trial that it will stabilize me. It has to. So please friends and family, I need all your healing prayers for tomorrow (and as i move ahead on this crazy rollercoaster ride) as I get my 3rd chemotherapy infusion. Tomorrow, September 29, also marks 3 years to the day of my original diagnosis. I have never been a religious person, but I do believe in the collective power of prayer. This will be just one of the many many ways I battle this disease.
Morning Glory, you are SOOOO beautiful and I just want to awake each morning to the beauty our mother earth has to offer, and the great love from family, friends and community that surrounds me. I took this photo this morning. These gorgeous flowers greeted me as if to say, HI HEATHER! ENJOY THE DAY! THIS LIFE IS A GIFT. It is glorious.