My cancer journey began in August 2014 when I found a lump under my left arm.
After multiple tests and an insuration of a port, I underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy and then had a double mastectomy in February 2015. There seemed to be many obstacles along the way, including stents placed in my tear ducts, blood clot in my right arm, blood thinners and all the side effects that come with chemotherapy.
After healing from the surgery, I ended the school year with 30 rounds of radiation to the area and began hormone therapy that required quite a few trial and error medications to find one that I was most able to tolerate. In the process, I had several reconstructive surgeries.
That journey lasted until the spring of 2017, the first year of my retirement after 35 years of teaching. I found a couple of "new spots" under my left arm again and the disease had progressed to the bone in the left hip area, so once again, radiation to the breast area. I began a new oral medication that seemed to work for several years.
Petscans were kept up routinely, up and down with good and bad news, but we did eventually do radiation to the hip area, due to progression of the disease (hip, femur, vertebra, etc.)
Then in the late fall of 2019, disease seemed to be progressing again. After several attempts at various oral chemo pills, with many negative side effects, we "landed" on one that did seem to work for several months.
This allowed me to focus more on Michael and his battle with ALS and ocular melanoma, many trips to M.D. Anderson and us taking a "last hoorah trip" to the Grand Canyon (thanks to the excellent planning of my older brother Blaine) in February 2020, literally right before the pandemic shutdown.
I lost my sweet Michael on April 17, 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. We were not even allowed to hold a "celebration of life" until one year later, April 17, 2021, but it was truly beautiful, though still restricted by numbers, unfortunately.
Unfortunately, my disease continued to progress with more activity in the bone, along with a brain tumor located in the area of the brain responsible for balance. Therefore, another port was implanted and I began chemo infusions once again. After successful targeted radiation treatment, scans indicated radiation had been successful, but Petscan results proved "mixed". We stayed on the same therapy until I had a bad reaction, which caused me to abruptly change my chemo regiment.
However, symptoms from the brain tumor seem to continue, so more MRIs of the brain, upper, middle and lower back, along with a spinal tap. Those results should be back soon and a "plan of action" should be close behind. The headaches (due to swelling of the brain putting pressure on the skull) nausea, confusion, dizziness and fatigue have been severe and very debilitating!
However, I am so very thankful for my family and friends who have been my "rock" through all of this.
Until then, continued prayers are always appreciated. This will be a public site, so anyone is welcome to join my Caring Bridge site and receive regular updates. Family and friends are very important to me and I would like to use this platform to communicate updates-to make it easier for me and my family/friends who are supporting me. Sometimes it just seems overwhelming to simply "stay updated" with everyone who reaches out to me, so please do not take it personally, if I am unable to respond, just know I am doing my best!