Wow. I am truly shocked at the amount of people who have reached out to me after I shared my story. I honestly had no idea how many people would even read my blog. I was thinking the majority of those who read it would be related to me! I have no words. Not great for those of you who want me to keep blogging! No, in all seriousness, it has been more meaningful than I can express and I’m very, very grateful. Saying thank you doesn’t seem to represent my gratitude, but thank you.
My friend Laura shared her battle with cancer and she is the reason I had my mammogram. Her blog was titled “Tata to Cancer” and she has passed that on to me. I’m so honored! Ya’ll, she’s a good one. So strong and such an inspiration. And I know she’s the reason many of you are now reading about my journey and, more importantly, thinking of and praying for me. I owe her a lot more than I can ever repay, but I’m hoping paying it forward will be a good start. I’ve had ladies reach out to me telling me they have already scheduled mammograms. That makes me feel like I’m doing something good. It’s amazing! I cannot encourage people enough to advocate for their own health. Protocol for beginning mammogram screenings in women is about 40 years old. Laura and I, and so many more, are proof that cancer doesn’t discriminate. If sharing my journey does nothing else except to motivate women to pay attention to their bodies and to ask for screenings even if it hasn’t been recommended, then I feel I have made some impact.
I do have some good news to share. I get bloodwork done every week and last week we got some positive results. As I mentioned before, the cancer has spread to my liver and my spine. Now, I don’t know exactly what these numbers mean other than there are normal ranges that I want to be in, but I plan to find out more specifics. For now, though, here is where I’m at. The normal range for a liver is 11-66. Before my first treatment my reading was 267. I know; shocking. But after two treatments my reading is 28. Yes, 28! I’m within the normal range! As for bones, the normal range is 38-126. Before my first treatment my reading was 564. Yep. That’s still hard to look at. But after two treatments my reading is 138. I’m still above normal, but just barely! According to my oncologist, this is all very positive. My body is responding to the chemo. Thank God! These numbers are after only two treatments and I’ve had three. On the day of my fourth treatment they will draw more blood to run this particular blood panel again. Fingers crossed.
Now, don’t get me wrong, these numbers almost brought me to my knees. I cried tears of joy. I got excited. But, I’m hesitant to consider it a guarantee. I wish I could just push all the pessimistic thinking out of my mind for good, but it lingers. When I just take it day by day, I’m usually good. I can look forward to tomorrow without any emotional response. But when I look into the distant future, that’s when it hits me. Last night we were watching Toy Story 3 with the boys. Seems like a safe movie, right? Well, when Andy was all packed up and about to leave for college and his Mom was in his empty room getting emotional, I lost it. Because I’m scared still that I won’t see my boys off to college. Or get married. Or have children of their own. Or worse, that I won’t even make it long enough that Sutton (my 2 year old) will even remember me. I wish I didn’t think like that. It’s all still very new, though. We haven’t even hit the 3 month mark from diagnosis yet. And I know it really, really bothers my husband when I express these thoughts. He wants and needs me to believe to my core that I will be ok. That I will be here for a long time. Because he does. And I’m so lucky for that.
I think I need to give myself a break. I feel guilty when I have bad days. When I let the cancer rule my mind. But its normal for everybody to have bad days so its ok for me, too. What I’m going to try to do, though, is focus so much on all the wonderful parts of my life and the blessings I have that maybe, hopefully the bad days will be few and far between. My boys definitely keep me busy and entertained. So I’m going to appreciate them now instead of worrying about later. I have two weeks in between treatments that I actually feel good enough to go to the gym and get some work done and do all my normal daily activities. And that is a really big deal and its important that I do my normal routine during that time. Because when I’m normal, I’m ok. And I have to remember that being strong doesn’t necessarily mean never crying. But I can’t let it swallow me; and I won’t.
Thank you again for all of the support and prayers. I am overwhelmed with the positive outreach. I tried to respond to everyone, but I don’t think I was able to. If I didn’t, its not because I don’t care. And don’t be surprised to see pictures of me with my family and friends doing (almost) all the same things that I did before. I want to keep you all updated, but I don’t want to and just can’t revolve my life around cancer. I’m actually trying to kill it, not give it life. And if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. My next set of scans is on the 16th of this month and treatment will be on the 18th. I will let you all know how it goes!