Aug 27, 2017 Latest post:
Apr 15, 2022
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting, and we will be keeping the information current so we can share updates with everyone at the same time. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
UPDATE - FEB 27, 2022
Dear family and friends, after a little over 4 years of having the status of "No Evidence of Disease", I am now, once again, in treatment for cancer that has recurred. The culprit is anal cancer. Luckily, I was being monitored every 6 months when a lesion was discovered 12/2/21 and the sample came back as precancerous, but the surgeon wanted to do surgery 1/11/22. Surgery went well and the call from the surgeon came the morning of Jan 18th. The call started with, "Valerie, I'm so sorry to have to tell you ....", and then it all began again. Every sample came back positive for anal cancer, and I had NO margins, so the stage was set for it to grow and spread. Since it was caught early, it is very treatable and there's a good possibility that after treatment, the anal cancer will be completely gone, at least that is our prayer.
I've started to write and relaunch this site so many times but for one reason or another, I walked away before I could finish. I started to write using the nickname (Hector) I used for this cancer last time but have decided not. This is a different season and so much has happened and is currently happening, personally and on the world's stage that my plan is to be very honest because my desire is for your honest prayers my friends. So, once again for many, and now for my new friends, I ask that you take my hand (figuratively) and walk with me on this journey. I'm counting on God's grace to lead us through. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
After not feeling well for quite a while and thinking it must be this or that, I went to one doctor which led to another and so on and so on... On May 3rd, 2017, I got a call from the surgeon, the kind that stops you in your tracks:" I have the results of your biopsy, you have cancer... there will be chemotherapy...radiation...." those all became words on a page. The stage was set for more tests, I hung up the phone and just stared at those notes: what does this mean???
I will fill in bits and pieces as I reflect back in my journal writing but now, we've jumped forward to 8/26/17 and I have not one but 2 cancers to fight and we're all a bit more optimistic with this. After major exploratory surgery it was determined that I do not have stage 4 - Praise God! So, the 1st cancer will wait as we deal with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. That news was confirmed last Friday afternoon and the show went into high speed with a bone marrow biopsy on Monday, chest port placed on Tuesday, then blood work and heart function tests Wednesday to be able to show up Thursday morning for my first chemo infusion day at the Kaiser Chemo Spa!
As this journey began, we thought we could keep it with family and friends and that we'd be able to handle things on our own. For a time that seemed to work but telling the story over and over again was slow and exhausting. My real hesitation was and still is that I don't want to ever see any mention of my journey/ battle/ cancer adventure on social media or anything that would draw interest, attention or questions about "what's going on with Valerie"? This is a wonderful, safe place to stand with me, in community, encourage me, my wonderful husband Bill and my amazing family. As time goes by Bill and my daughter in law, Brooke Menconi will be co-authoring the site with me.
The plan is to update frequently and to journal for the sake of sharing with my family, especially my granddaughters and to reflect back on myself, how God has and will sustain us all through this; of that, I am confident! For this reason, I'm asking that you use this site as a place to show love, encouragement, offer help.... be our friends and walk through this journey with me. With that said, my hand is extended - join me and let's explore the riches of God's grace together. As my kids said "Mom, you got this!!"
I will journal tomorrow. Thanks for reading this and coming on board. Love and Blessings to you all. Valerie