Oct 12, 2018 Latest post:
Nov 13, 2018
Metastatic Breast Cancer......Colleen was first diagnosed with breast cancer in August of 2015. From that moment forward, our life together forever changed. The beginning was agony, waiting for test results, scans, labs just to get the exact diagnosis and type of cancer we would need to begin treatment for. Triple positive (ER+PR+Her2+) with lymph node involvement (Stage 2b) took over a month to finalize, then we began consulting with her local oncologist as well as trips to Dana Farber in Boston to confirm treatment plans together. Colleen would begin neo-adjuvent treatment (chemo,surgery,radiation). I have always known how strong Colleen was but watching her go through chemo, still working full time, and also finishing her degree full time still astonishes me. Watching breast cancer strip her dignity, beautiful hair and obliviate her spirit was so heartbreaking it still can bring me to tears today. Colleen continued to push forward and do everything asked of her. She underwent a lumpectomy in Feb of 2016 then began a month and half of daily radiation treatments. She also continued infusions for the following year to target the Her2 portion of her cancer. We believed everything was going well and were hopeful that she would be in remission and cancer free.......fast forward>>>>2018. We decide to sell our house and down size as we are soon to become empty nesters. While packing, Colleen slips on the stairs carrying a tote and bruises her back falling on the stair. We don't think much of it, as we begin to move and Colleen struggles with some of the back pain. Over months we go to doctors, physical therapy and x-rays all in hope of finding the route to the back pain. Colleen's oncologist becomes concerned and orders a bone scan as well as a CT scan of her spine. After waiting a week for results the diagnosis comes in.... Stage IV breast cancer with mets to the bone. CT scan confirms tumors in L2,L3 and L4 of her spine along with a fracture probably from the initial fall. Next step is grueling, we have to wait and get a PET scan to find out if the cancer has spread anywhere else. Typically with breast cancer, it often spreads to bone, liver lungs and brain. The wait is terrible, but the news finally is once in our favor. No other mets and the treatment begins immediately with a 14 course high dose radiation to the tumors in the spine to relieve the pain. We also begin the journey with consults again in Boston and agree to a new plan of treatment. Unfortunately with MBC there is no cure, only treatment for life. Colleen has to endure multiple injections, hormone therapy and a new oral treatment t for stage 4 cancer with great outlook, but horrible side effects. Our new life and new "normal" is not what one ever envisions. Colleen's strength is something surreal and I do not know how she is able to hold it all together. She is fueled with love from family, friends, co-workers and of course our beautiful grand daughter. We know the statistics, 155K people living with MBC in the US alone and 40k sercum and die each year. Median survival rates are discouraging but we are hopeful that new therapies and research will give her opportunities that others have not had before.