Brandi Leve SupportSquadB

First post: Nov 16, 2019 Latest post: Mar 24, 2020
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. Courtney and I are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place and also as a way to ask for help and support as we continue on this cancer journey. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting, and thank you for your support! Both Courtney and I greatly appreciate it.

Many of you coming here probably already know me, but for those who don't (or maybe don't know the whole scoop). Hi there. My name is Brandi and I am a creative, silly, sensitive, gender non-conforming, stage 4 breast cancer surviving, astrology-loving queerdo. 

On October 26, 2016, at 35 years old, I was diagnosed with stage 3 triple-positive breast cancer with a small suspicious spot on my spine. Shortly after, in May 2017, it was confirmed that cancer had spread to my spine (up and down my entire spine), clavicle, ribs, hip, and pelvic bones, and I was now living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, a terminal diagnosis. 

I have done the following treatments thus far:

- Chemotherapy
- Zometa
- Herceptin
- Perjeta
- Kadcyla
- Aromatase Inhibitors
- Immunotherapy
- Cryoablation
- High Dose Vitamin C Infusions
- Mistletoe (sub cue and high dose infusions)
- Various Marijuana approaches including working with an MD specialist
- Too many supplements to list lol
- Acupuncture, cupping, and Chinese herbs
- Bodywork
- Energy work (Reiki, Cranial Sacral, clearings, etc)
- Talk therapy
- Plant medicine journeys
- Art / Magic / Astrology

While I have had some real successes (such as great improvements on my bones) for the most part, it has been a challenging road. Just when I think I might be making some traction towards being awarded the coveted "remission" label, something inevitably shifts and I am faced with a new adventure to unravel and understand, 

The most recent adventure I have been asked to embark on is having a secondary tumor growing on top of the original tumor throughout this year (2019). One month or so following a cryoablation and immunotherapy treatment to this new tumor, I started developing some strange red spots on my skin on my breast near the tumor site. By August 2019 these spots were becoming nodules and I had some open sores forming. A punch biopsy confirmed that I now have skin metastasis and it is VERY aggressive. As of today, only months later, skin cancer is covering almost my entire breast with fully fungating ulcerated tumors that are continuing to grow and spread on a daily basis. It is unsightly, unnerving, and very painful. I tried a targeted chemo drug called Kadcyla and was unresponsive to it so I am now on another round of chemotherapy with a plan to have surgery as soon as they can get it knocked back enough to get good margins for full removal of my breast.

As I said, it has been a challenging journey to be on, but it also been a very rich experience that I am quite grateful for. While I am currently living with active cancer in my body, I still identify as a survivor because every day that I wake up and take a breath is another day I have survived. That alone, to continue to be in this incarnation and allowed to enjoy this life, is such a gift. So rather than to be so focused on "beating" this cancer, I have decided to just be focused on healing, in any way I can, and finding joy in every moment.

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