Tuesday, January 31, 2017

#507 Discombobulated...again.

The Torture Chamber

Late post getting out today. Can you tell I'm a bit discombobulated?  Quick update--had the MRI but no results yet.  Stay tune to the drama of Days of Our Lives...

It is getting late on this Monday night as I stare at the computer screen thinking of a profound statement to make...and there is nothing.  Why am I at a loss of words when there is so much yet to say?

Cancer slowly creeps in leaving me totally exhausting or frustrated on a day to day basis. As someone once said, "If it's not one thing, it is another".  And the other is what has thrown me for a loop this time around and has left me wordless.

A brief history because you are probably shaking your heads trying to figure out what the heck the whining is all about.  Last week I received my monthly shots in each bum and one in my arm.  No problem; and as I walked out of the onc office a giddy feeling swept over me for the relatively painless ordeal.

Until..Wham!  The next day arrived with my neck screeching out in pain and a headache that should be X rated for the obscenities spewing from my mouth. Must be a reaction to the prior day's injection fest as I took a few extra pain relievers and slowly went about my day thinking that tomorrow has to be better--with the sun coming out, etc, etc, etc. A big negative on that score.  Right now it is pain 10, me--in fetal position-- 0.  For six days it has not let up and the mega pain relievers aren't making a dent in the torture chamber I'm locked in with the key thrown across the floor.

After a number of calls to various docs, I am scheduled for an MRI or better known as the tomb of terror.  Nervous? Apprehensive?  Scared shitless?  Oh yeah to all of the above.  And nothing to say except, "let's get 'er done".

Ahhh! The life of a metster.  Ups and downs and ins and outs but we keep plugging along hoping the next day will be a bit brighter, a bit easier, and less of a pain in the neck than last week.

I will not apologize for this whining blog--my good buddy, Bob, tells me it is completely unnecessary  for ever saying sorry about this mess--but will continue to shake the bushes for some more of your cold hard cash that may give me a few more years on this planet or at least something that will eliminate the side effects of these wonder drugs.  Please go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate.  It will brighten my day.

Thanks for reading #507 of 7777.

Monday, January 23, 2017

#506 GPS--Where In The World Am I?

Physical activity has always been a big part of my life and now with cancer cells taking residence in my bones, my body has been compromised and not able to handle any prolonged exercise.  To deem it frustrating is putting it mildly.  ^#*$($# is what I say on those days when moving hurts or getting out of bed is a struggle.

What happens when your identity--an active maniac--has been stripped, shredded and spit out as undoable?  I loved pushing myself to the limit and getting that "high" from the exertion.  There is nothing like sporting a sweaty body, bursting lungs and then collapsing from exhaustion after a hard workout.  Presently, even a minor exertion is completely out of the picture as I struggle to hike a mere few miles without repercussions the next day.

But then something happens and I rethink my limitations.  What began as an easy five mile hike turned into an adventurous nine miler as we tried to find the elusive car in a mountainous desert area.  Every trail looked the same, no one was around to help us out so it was planting one foot ahead of the other as we tried to climb our way out of this maze.  Was I concerned about my old cancer-filled body not making the journey and crumbling in a heap to be food for the desert rats?  Perhaps a moment or two made me cringe with moderate terror, but on the whole, the camaraderie of the group sharing hilarious stories motivated us all and eventually the lost car was within hiking range.  I, for one, was ready to get down on my knees and kiss the blessed mode of transportation but didn't want to look too much like a drama queen.  I pictured the headlines to read something about a terminally ill woman dragging her friends on a death march.

While I was hiking I thought of the similarities of hiking and cancer.  Day to day it is one step forward, a couple steps back. When my blood work is in the pits and my treatment is temporarily suspended until the white blood count behaves itself, I must be reminded to keep on going. The oncologist knows what he's doing and, as frightening as it seems, he tells me the cancer isn't raging through my body with the stoppage of medication.  We will get to the goal of finding the right combination, however, are not there yet.  For a metster, it is a scary time.

I must take a deep breath, and even though cancer--the ripper of dreams and who I am--tends to be my primary focus, I must remember those days when a nine mile hike unfolds in front of me and I conquer it.  Reconfigure and redo with new hobbies to be discovered is now my mantra while others are laid to rest.  It is not what I wanted but it's what has been handed to me.  Frustrating? Yes, but not life stopping so will continue onward with a half smile/ half grimace on my face.  Let the good times roll when they can.

As always, go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate so I may hike many more hikes but will promise to have a compass in my back pocket.

Thanks for reading # 506 of 7777.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

#505 Bucket List Worthy

Green Bay Packers!

Bucket lists.  Where did this interest begin? There are over 58 million sites on the internet varying from: what to do before you die, what to do before you marry, what to do before you have kids, etc. etc. etc.  Bucket lists and terminal cancer seem to go hand in hand thus I began thinking about making my own.

Watching the Packers in the Super Bowl is probably top on my list. Actually going to the Super Bowl to watch the Packers play is number one. After that it begins to dwindle to something as elementary as making sure I live to see 2018. I'm not sure that one qualifies as a bucket wish but none of the sites addressed specific rules on what should be and shouldn't be included.

But then something extraordinary happens, and I think, "That should be on my bucket list".

Case in point...Rob and I gave a "cancer" talk to a group of about 90 people out here in the desert. Despite my lack of confidence in public speaking I thought it was going well as I explained the facts and statistics of metastatic breast cancer and what living with this disease feels like on a daily basis.  At the end of my speech I thanked all who came and suddenly I looked out at the crowd and everyone was on their feet applauding.  My first thought was I had gone over the time frame and they were sick and tired of hearing me rant and rave--which sometimes happens--and were heading for the door.

It then occurred to me they were giving me a standing ovation.  ME!  A standing ovation.  Bucket list worthy as far as I'm concerned and I never had given it a thought prior to this meeting.  My confidence in public speaking has now shot up 100% with this gift and "Getting a second standing ovation" has been added to the forever evolving list.

Of course high on the list is raising a million bucks for metastatic breast cancer research before I kick the bucket.  The last count on our fundraising moved the thermometer to over $340,000 with $90,000 coming in from last December's big campaign.  You can help fulfill my dream by going to UW Carbone Cancer Center--More for Stage IV and donating.  A million dollars moves the Packers (my number one team) to number two on my bucket list.  I think they will understand.

Thanks for reading #505 of 7777.

Monday, January 9, 2017

#504 Do You Feel Lucky?

Who said black cats aren't lucky?

Someone in a movie script once asked, "Do you feel lucky?".  Lucky?  No, I have cancer--bad luck abounds in all directions and hasn't been kind to me lately...however, the past few days may have given me the opportunity to make a shift in gears in the hall of fame luck category.  

Football lucky.  Yesterday a group of our fun loving football fans gathered to watch those amazing Green Bay Packers win.  Of course we had to create a pool to make it interesting--throw in five bucks and then there was something about adding the numbers together (Math and football are not entirely my thing).   Not sure what transpired but on the last touchdown the numbers worked in my favor to proclaim me the big winner of a grand $20 bucks.  

Life saving lucky. That's not the only luck happening around our household in this new year. Our monumental campaign for metastatic breast cancer that began in December generated a whopping $87,000 with the match.  Luck for me and 250,000 women and men living with this disease all happened due to your generosity.  Luck for our families that the tireless researchers can proceed with this windfall and discover that "landing on the moon" cure.  Holy Toledo! It not only thrilled us but surpassed our original goal--raise 25 grand and match it to get to 50. Surprise! Surprise!  You nearly doubled that goal.

This proposal provides our researcher, Dr. Josh Lang, to continue his vital work on the use of circulating tumor cells to interpret cancer progression and discover targeted therapies specifically geared to HR+ breast cancers.  He had success with prostate cancer cells and feels breast cancer research will benefit from his revelations.  

You, our supporters, held us up and raised us beyond our goal with your generous donations.  I know you gave because of your kind hearts; and my thank you card, my verbal thanks and kissing of your feet does not adequately share my utmost gratitude.  You are my shining stars and these gifts give me hope that I will have more time with my family...especially my one and only beautiful granddaughter. A gazillion thanks to you.

If you missed this campaign you can still donate.  100% of all your donations will continue to fund innovative stage IV breast cancer research at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.  Go to UW Carbone Cancer Center.  Please share with your friends and others so our researcher can find the answer to make this a chronic disease. We all know research is our best hope.

Thanks for reading # 504 of 7777.

Monday, January 2, 2017

#503 The Gentle Must Inherit the Earth

A new day!
I was intrigued when I discovered this New Year's poem by May Sarton.  Not only insightful and perceptive on the approaching 365 days but I felt she conveyed my thoughts on this upcoming twelve month period and saying good bye to the past.

After a bit of investigation on the internet I found she had died at the ripe old age of 85 of breast cancer. Unfortunately I could not locate any more information about how long she had lived with the disease or her views on what was happening during her declining health.

  She was a year older than I hope to be when I leave this earth (Remember my 7777+ days mantra?   That number would take me to 84 but I would love to hang on one more year to match this gifted writer's departure).  She left us with numerous writings and comforting reflections.  Read and enjoy.

New Year Poem
by May Sarton 
Let us step outside for a moment
As the sun breaks through clouds
And shines on wet new fallen snow,
And breathe the new air.
So much has died that had to die this year.
We are dying away from things.
It is a necessity—we have to do it
Or we shall be buried under the magazines,
The too many clothes, the too much food.
We have dragged it all around
Like dung beetles
Who drag piles of dung
Behind them on which to feed,
In which to lay their eggs.
Let us step outside for a moment
Among ocean, clouds, a white field,
Islands floating in the distance.
They have always been there.
But we have not been there.
We are going to drive slowly
And see the small poor farms,
The lovely shapes of leafless trees
Their shadows blue on the snow.
We are going to learn the sharp edge
Of perception after a day’s fast.
There is nothing to fear.
About this revolution…
Though it will change our minds.
Aggression, violence, machismo
Are fading from us
Like old photographs
Faintly ridiculous
(Did a man actually step like a goose
To instill fear?
Does a boy have to kill
To become a man?)
Already there are signs.
Young people plant gardens.
Fathers change their babies’ diapers
And are learning to cook.
Let us step outside for a moment.
It is all there
Only we have been slow to arrive
At a way of seeing it.
Unless the gentle inherit the earth
There will be no earth.

Remember gentle souls, we are still raising money for metastatic breast cancer--it will not end until we have a cure.  Go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate today.

Thanks for reading # 503 of 7777.