Journal

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

Quick update....Had bloodwork and saw my oncologist this past week.  New chemo is working on cancer to prevent progression, however, it is literally pushing my liver to its limit.  My liver enzymes are at a critically high level.  Drugs are metabolized and changed into their active form that works in our bodies by the liver.  So the liver is quite vital if you need to take ANY medicine let alone chemo.  Unfortunately, I have to stop taking my chemo for a week to let my liver relax, then take my remaining chemo pills every other day, followed by taking the same medication at half the dose.  Weekly bloodwork and scans likely to follow as well.  Not the worst news and not the best news.  Disappointing, I think is a fair statement.  I also can’t take any other meds either - so no Zyrtec as I see pollen on my car or Advil when I get a headache and DEFINITELY no Quarantine Wine!!! In the meantime, we are staying safe and sound at home.  Glad to have such amazing and funny kids with a supportive husband to have fun with and oodley doodley dogs to cuddle with.  Thank you for continuing to be a part of our cancer trip.  (And Remember, I’m not on FB these days, so I don’t see your comments).  Much love to you and yours......STAY HOME!!!
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Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

It has been an interesting time while we all adjust to dealing with this pandemic virus, isn’t it?  I’ve been off of FB for over a week now and that has really been the best decision for me so far - it was just too darned stressful seeing people that I know flaunting the reality of WHY we are to STAY AT HOME.  “Safe Playdates” are not safe and never were during this period.  Standing in grocery store lines is not safe.  Hanging out with “safe” friends is not safe.  Your home isn’t a safe and welcome haven for other kids.  Hanging out at bars and restaurants is not smart.  Everyone could be spreading it and picking it up from THE AIR from someone who went by 30 minutes ago.  So, yeah, if it isn’t a breezy day, your neighbor that you’re walking behind on the sidewalk, just gave it to you and you will give it to your family who will then keep passing it around.  Blah Blah Blah - infuriating!  And I was getting so darned angry seeing how many people were sharing these things.  Why get so angry about it?  Because I’m at risk, my child is at risk, my husband is at risk, my parents are at risk of DYING.  And just dying, dying ALONE drowning in own own body surrounded by air BECAUSE PEOPLE WON’T STAY HOME!  So, when we DO get this, because we all will, I would like to there to be supplies and a bed to give us the opportunity to live.  I would also like this virus to move on so that we can all get back to life and look back at this time with lessons and gratitude in our hearts.  Okay, it seems I found my soap box and didn’t intend to - I will put it away now.

Soooo, being off of FB has allowed me to breathe and given my mind some wonderful space to look around and appreciate so very much.  I am so grateful to have a family that truly enjoys being with one another - yes, even my kiddos are good together; they’ve never been ones to fight.  I am grateful for games and movie access.  I am grateful for the daily joy and silliness from my kids.  I am grateful for happy and spoiled dogs, Dyson & Roux.  I am grateful for a week of gorgeous weather to sit on either porch and just enjoy the fresh air.  I am grateful for access to grocery delivery and Amazon.  I’m grateful that because of raising pups, we have lots of sanitizer and cleansers. I am grateful to not have puppies again until September.  I am grateful that I worked for an amazing company that has given me access to a fantastic long term disability plan that keeps money in the bank for those grocery deliveries.  I am soooo grateful that timing worked out so that I started my oral chemo regimen just before quarantining ourselves so that I don’t have to go to the cancer center 3x a week right now.  I am grateful for a comfortable home to be crazy busy in while we finish the final touches on our home to sell so we can move when this craziness is over.  I am so grateful for an amazing school that had plans in place and started full day lessons/videos/online checkins with their teachers and classmates right away last week - thank you so much O’hara!  I am even more grateful that Shawn will not be doing is 12 hour shift IP in the Emergency Department at the hospital with this pandemic and that for his last quarter, he will have his classes online and be able to prep for his licensing exam once it is safe to take it.  I’m hoping you can all look around and find those moments to enjoy.

What is going on with cancer stuff?  Well, with my tumor markers jumping weekly the way that they were, we did not take any break at all and I started the maximum dose of Afinitor on the 10th.  Overall, I feel so much better than I did on Abraxane.  Until a couple of days ago.  The medicine causes my saliva to be acidic.  I do use a steroid mouthwash 4x/day, but it wasn’t enough it would seem.  I also brush my teeth with a baking soda toothpaste as well as rinse my mouth before and after eating with a baking soda solution to help neutralize my mouth.  The end of my tongue is inflamed and owie which makes talking and eating a bummer.  The inside of my lips aren’t perfectly happy either.  Not quite the diet plan I was hoping for, needless to say.  So, for the moment, I am trying to eat soft things like cream of wheat or tuna or eggs.  Nothing too hot or cold or my taste buds get angry at me.  I’m sure it will get better eventually.  The steroid mouthwash makes it harder to sleep at night but I’m fine.  Really.  I do have to go and get my blood drawn from my port at the cancer center next week to see if the markers are going down and that my immune system is holding up.  I did call to see if the follow up appt to talk about those results could be done remotely over the phone, but no - which is annoying, but I will just not breathe when I’m there.  That’s sure to work, right?!  So please pray that Afinitor is working wonders for some regression.  It is the 4th treatment regimen for me in 8 months.  I need this to work for a long time, much longer than the average 7 months, okay?!

Still looking forward to our late summer camping trip making memories with each other.  Seriously soooo excited for that!  So please just stay home and let our amazing health care workers do their jobs so they can be safe when they come home to their own families.  Then we can all get back to life in a few months.  Be well.  Find joy.  And laugh with me knowing that everyone is going to have the most organized closets and taken care of yards we’ve ever seen when this is all over!  LOL!!

Big Far Away Air Hugs!!


Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

Sitting here avoiding finishing packing 📦 up the kitchen 🍽🥣🧂before we put the house 🏠 up for sale.  It’s been a bit stressful 🤪 this week to process the new information.  So, the last time I shared, even though my scans 🔬🧬🩺 looked good, the tumor marker result taken AFTER the scans were taken is going up 📈!  Went from about 70 points up in a month ☹️.  Cut to this week where it went up 60 points in a week 🥺.  It was a bit nerve wracking to have to try and communicate with my oncologist after making that last plan because of this change in tumor marker direction.  I know he wasn’t quite as concerned as I was 🙁, but I needed to know that we were moving forward with the original plan, even though it was sooner than he had thought.  But as I experienced 6 months ago, once The Bitch 🤬 figures out this game, she takes off, replicates and spreads like wildfire 🔥.  The tumor marker is how we get clued in that she is looking for matches 🧨 and where to light them.  Last time, she spread so far and so fast in just 6 weeks, so any amount of waiting does cause me some major anxiety 🥴.  Literally every single day counts.  I don’t want her to spread to my lungs or brain 🧠 or new bones or, well, anywhere.  LOL!!  😂.  The Bitch doesn’t wait and I don’t have the time to really deal with this.  And I keep having to talk to people on the phone that are making the process take longer. ⏰ .  I am very grateful that Express Scripts contacted me to let me know that a new medicine was approved 💊, which told me that a plan was being acted upon, even though I hadn’t been able to confirm that.  Yesterday, when I was at the cancer center 🧬, a nurse did confirm that so I could relax a bit.

Cut to today and YAY! I was able to get in today with him.  So what happened at this appointment.  There will be no one-two month break from Abraxane (the IV chemo).  That, as we know, is just not possible at this juncture with how The Bitch behaves 🧫🦠🧬.  My meds have been ordered and I will not be doing IV Abraxane any more, but switching to Afinitor which is an 💊 oral chemotherapy treatment and is specifically for the mTOR mutation that showed up in my DNA 🧬 panel.  It is the only current drug for this particular mutation.  I will not be taking it with an aromatase inhibitor since those have proven to not have any effect for me.  Afinitor has to come from a specialty pharmacy 🧑🏻‍🔬 so will likely be between Tuesday-Thursday📆 before I can start the chemotherapy.  There is quite a range of potential adverse events that can occur, the most likely being mouth sores 👅, nausea 🤢, diarrhea 💩, tired 🥱, elevated lipids 🐷 and elevated glucose🍬 - but it will all be worth it to hold the Bitch 🤬 back!  My doctor has already prescribed some special steroid mouthwash 🧪 to keep the mouth sores at bay.  I will also get some baking soda and salt water stuff to rinse with 🚰.

It is hard knowing that I’ve now already gone through 3 different classes of drug therapy in 8 months.  That’s what rattles around in my head the most.  I don’t have much more left out there to try.  But, think positive thoughts that this one will work so much longer and cause regression.  At least we have this one!!

I’m really glad that I’ve seen my doctor 👨‍⚕️today, my concern is still present but not the worry.  I’m really not a worrier, so it is not like me and makes me on edge when I am.  Looking forward to really having the house mostly packed up this weekend so we can just prep it to sell and then I can take it a bit easier with the daily stuff.  It is better for me to have other things to work on rather than myself.  

Thank you for tolerating all of my entertaining emojis 😜 in this update - it was distracting and amusing for me.  Back to packing up the pots/pans/bowls 🍽🥣🍴!  Looks like I will need more boxes 📦📦📦 today!  Thank you so very much to everyone for supporting my family with your loving prayers  🙏🏻 and how often you all reach out and talk🗣👥 to us.  Every moment counts - have some fun at home with your family this weekend and wash your hands!! 🧼👐🏻

  

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

Scan Review, Consultation and Chemo Today.  I promise to not be nearly as dramatic as the last time!  No tears!  

Scans did not show any further progression, which is good!  The tumor marker result hadn't come back while I was still with my doctor.  So he was very insistent that we make a plan to take a "break" for one to two months so we could start the next treatment in order to minimize potential side effects.  Because by 6 months (which is where we are at), the efficacy begins to wane, typically.  So, let's be real, I don't want to take a break, I'm not comfortable with that idea at all.  Which is why I flat out told my very caring and exceedingly intelligent doctor that I would lie to him then and say that I'm doing wonderfully, even if I'm not.  I'm not wanting to go on an effing "break" so that the Bitch can wreak her havoc in my body.  Nope - no thank you.  So we agreed to one or two more cycles and I went off to chemo as usual.  As I was leaving, the tumor marker had come back at a 249 - prior was 182, 171, 181 - so it is a jump of 78 points 2 cycles ago.  No, I did not go through a box of tissues like last time - I got that out of my system.  I had planned on calling the office to discuss this when I got Payton home from school, but they called me on the way.  Now the plan is to take another tumor marker reading next week and decide if we are starting affinator now or finishing the cycle first.  My interpretation?  Abraxane has done an AMAZING job beating the Bitch back and holding her back, but is weakening it's hold on her.  Even though the tumors aren't spreading or growing, that tumor marker is telling me that she is gearing up for another assault.  So, I'm guessing we start the new treatment soon and likely without a 'break'.  Am I nervous about the side effects - very much so yes.  But I am more hopeful of it's efficacy.  Doctor and I also spoke about anything new on the horizon.  So much has been coming out for triple negative, pre-menopausal or PIK3 mutations etc - but nothing for cancers specifically like mine.  But he knows that different labs are really trying the new technologies and they are almost there - so he's hoping we can keep me healthy enough for long enough for them to be released or studied nearby so that I can be on them.

For now, I will distract myself with puppies and packing up to sell our home in a month.  I'm not very fast about it, but it's getting done.  No sense in sitting around feeling sorry for myself, it certainly doesn't help anything.  And I'm just too plain busy to let this stuff slow me down.

Looking forward to the kids being in a musical production at school soon.  First and last time that they will be in it together.  This year is the Wizard of Oz - which is pretty magical for this mama.  It was so nice to see Payton at her presidential presentation today.  She did it completely by herself and her ending was very sweet and in tribute to me.  My kids are incredibly sweet and make me smile every day.

Thank you so much to everyone for checking in, dropping by lovely homemade food and being such a wonderful support to by family with love and prayers.  We need and value all of it.  Thank you thank you thank you!

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

I'm sad.  There is no other way to say it.  I know I will be fine tomorrow, but today...I'm bummed.  It has been a hard few days with my original Cancerversary on Sunday where after two years of chemo, radiation and surgeries I came out triumphant having felt that I had WON!  Cut to today and I have not.  The Bitch was just playing the long game and I really didn't anticipate how long she would bide her time.  Fuck you, Bitch, FUCK YOU!  I HATE YOU!!  You've taken everything from me and I HATE YOU!  So much. So fucking much.  AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!  I'm PISSED!

I don't recognize myself anymore.  It is amazing the roll that eyelashes and eyebrows make on your face.  I just see an unattractive blank canvas and I don't know what to do with it anymore.  And I see me in the mirror every day, but why bother?  No one notices my efforts to look better for them and for me.  I feel invisible.  I want to feel pretty again and I really don't.  I know that's me feeling sorry for myself and I will get over it.  But I miss me, I miss my face and my hair and I don't think I will ever get to see her again and I miss me.  As long as I'm making impossible wishes, I would also like to see me 100lbs ago, I miss her, too.  I had cheek bones and a chin - maybe that would help my lack of a face.  LOL

I had to have a letter written by my oncologist today for something and even though I know it, having it written out that I "am receiving palliative intent chemotherapy.  Treatment unfortunately will not be curative" really hit me.  So final.  Minutes later, while I was sitting alone at chemo, the nurse brought me the results of my tumor marker....its gone up.  Dammit, nonononono.  No.  Please, no.  That fucking Bitch, she figured me out again and is getting around our shotgun approach to trying to beat her back.  We will take more scans and start a new medicine next month - might work for about 6 months but the side effects are hard.  But I'm scared.   I'm sitting here sobbing and terrified.  Did I let my guard down?  I want some control in this and I have none.  I can't do anything and she's just killing me.  I don't want to die.  But I really am.  I really am.  I always know this, but I keep thinking I'm fine and I will have time and maybe I can be there for my kids and watch them become adults.  But its not going to happen.  I'm really not.  My babies, I'm so sorry.  I don't want this for them.  My poor Shawn, my love, I'm so sorry that you have to watch this happen.  Mom and Dad, you shouldn't have to watch your only child go, it isn't fair.  It is so not fair.  But it really is happening and I can't stop it.  

So I'm sad and I'm scared.  I want more time.  Please, make it stop going by so fast.  Just let me be, go away, get out of my body, GO AWAY, get out of my life, leave me alone.  

Soooo, I'm going to have a pity party today for one.  Go live - it's such a gift.

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

And let's not forget - Happy Chemo Day!!  What an unforgettable year this has been!  So many more good things and memories than the yucky ones - but the Yucky stuff (cancer) is kinda big and not really forgettable!  But even with such a huge weight that has caused heartbreak and countless tears for myself, my family and friends - it still brings with it so much love, understanding, togetherness and enlightenment.  I may have concerns and fears for the future, but I am SO grateful for God showing me the love that surrounds my family through everyone's support, prayers and company.  Even knowing that I will not win this war, there are many battles that we have won and will continue to win along the way.  We are HAPPY.  We have TIME.  We have EACHOTHER.  We have FAMILY.  We have FRIENDS.  We have a TRIBE.  We have LOVE.  We have GOD.  AMEN!!!

2020 - I am REALLY looking forward to YOU!  We have so many fresh starts and beginnings to look forward to, new adventures with one another and our closest friends and family, memories to make, new friends to meet and cherishing the friendships we have made along the way!  It will start with packing up Christmas tomorrow and packing up some more of 2019 to see again some day in 2020.  Yes, there will be cancer ups and downs, but I'm determined to have all of the fun and adventures outweigh all of that!  Thank you all for helping us continue to grow in this craziness called LIFE.  I hope that we can inspire and motivate you to focus on the adventure and memories - not the monotony, which is never living.

Newpy Hapyear, as my mother would say!!

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

Merry Christmas, Everyone!!  We had such a wonderful Christmas Blessing at my oncology appt yesterday!!  My CT scans continue to show the tumors in my liver to be less dense (so they aren't growing!) and a few of the largest ones are SMALLER!  Plus the countless tumors in all of my spine are becoming sclerotic from one of my medicines which means they are building back bone!!  How AMAZING!!  My Cancer Marker is down to 171 (from 186)!!  Bilirubin is down to .39 (from .60)!!  And the Alkaline Phosphatase is down to 176 (from 197)!  My ALT and AST did go up, but we are just going to ignore those for now, K? K.  

We are on track to continue Abraxane for the next 2 months before starting on my next chemo called Affinitor.  Usually by that time, the Abraxane isn't quite as effective anymore and the side effects start to outweigh the balance at that point which we are already starting to see which helps me to better understand why we would change.

It was so very much fun to share this news with Shawn's family that came to visit during Christmas Eve last night - so much to celebrate!!  Can't wait to head over to see my parents in just a little bit.  What an amazing Christmas morning with Shawn, Payton and Teagan - so many gifts intended to create fun, memories and love both now and in our future plans together in our move coming soon.  Our family is so close and I am always so impressed with how much love is really under this roof.  This year has definitely had some highs and some lows, but through it all, we gain so much.

Thank you to EVERYONE for your loving prayers, support, hugs and kind words.  We are here because of you, we are getting better because of you and we are eternally grateful to you all.  Enjoy your families and friends, make memories and seek reasons to be joyful.  Life is too short, best to laugh through it all!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Jenkins Family!!

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

So much good to share, but my thumbs might cramp up!  The most important I will share now though!  
My liver enzymes continue to decline as does my tumor marker!  Yay!  Abraxane is working so well!  I’m actually scared for the day I won’t be on it anymore in a few months. My tumor marker is down to 186!  Remember when it was over 1200 in Sept?!  My alkaline phosphatase is down to 197; ALT is down to 115; and AST is down to 80. All still way above normal but soooo much lower than in August and Sept!!  We have scheduled our next scan for Christmas Eve - excited to see regression this time!

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

Abraxane chemo cycle has started up again this week and we have more lab results!  Dr showed Shawn and I the CT scan images and they indicate that the tumors have stopped progressing and are less dense - not quite as bright white.  Yay!  Tumor marker is now down to 346.39 (10x above "normal range) from 517 two weeks ago - excellent!  Liver numbers dropped a few points but pretty much the same.  Such a relief that the crazy spread and progression has finally stopped!  The dr and I agreed that at the rate it was going, surviving a year like that was highly unlikely.

The downside of having had a wonderful career in the pharmaceutical and medical device world, is that I'm always researching and analyzing the next steps.  I'm also a planner, as I've said before.  I understand the data and I'm constantly looking to see if any new research is ongoing or starting with my particular cancer profile.  You see, I can only take Abraxane for a few more cycles.  After that, because of my Mtor genetic allele variant, I will then be placed on Afinitor.  Well, studies indicate that on average it stops progression (no data on regression) for 7.5 months.  And then....well, there are not any more current medication options.  Maybe go back on Abraxane?  We are always seeking studies that I can enter - nothing helpful so far.  So that left me in a bit of a panic last night.  My doctor wisely won't give me any real timeline.  But I gave him some options and let's just say, he wants me to use my time wisely and be one of those people that defy the odds.  So, after I got home, I spent time assessing my genetic tests and what options were currently available.  Which left me a bit panicky.  Because, how do I take care of my family?  What do I do first?  What's the most important?  Which is the right direction?  What do I do for my kids?  What about my parents?  My husband - will he know where to find everything?  It's not like I've ever died before - I don't really know how all of this stuff works!  But I NEED to DO something!  I hate not being able to be proactive in any of this.  I've been told so many times that I can't DO anything to change my outcomes, I can only do things to make myself feel better now so do that.  But that is just not enough for me.  So, I've scheduled time with a lawyer to do my will, advanced directive and business stuff.  At least that feels proactive in planning things for my family.  After that, I'm sure I will find something else to get myself all worked up in a tizzy until I figure out how to take action on it.  That's just how I am - not interested in changing it.

On to better things!  I was interviewed today for a social media post with Willamette Valley Cancer Institute in partnership with "Fight Like a Duck" through the UofO.  Such an incredible honor and I'm looking forward to making some memories at a future game with the kids - it will be so much fun!!  A wonderful friend of mine that I met through Young Survival Coalition wanted to share this opportunity with me and I'm grateful to her always being so thoughtful with her support and advice.  That is what support groups are for.  Even though we no longer attend the meetings, we are always there for one another and that is so powerful and appreciated.  Carol, Misty, Valerie, & Marnie you are forever my experienced support sisters and I value the bonds we started 6 years ago.  During this interview, I was asked what lessons I would give to others.  My answer was Make Memories.  As we enter the Holiday Season, don't give so many gifts of things, you can't take that with you and your family will push them to the side eventually.  But have adventures, drop everything to just spend time with each other, laugh and be with one another.  These are the things that count.  Those of us with Stage 4, we have the benefit of knowing that the end is coming so we can make sure to plan for these things and really make them count.  I ask all of you who are a part of my life to step back and just consider this.  Even though you may not know when your timeline is coming to an end, are you making memories for yourself and your loved ones?  Are you working so hard and stressing so much that you have forgotten to laugh and have fun?  Don't let work or business get in the way.  Don't let other people get in the way with their drama and stressors.  Be free to find joy and make the time count.  With that in mind, I'm planning memory making opportunities for the next year.  Any ideas?  We love road trips and are, of course, going to go camping again in Wyoming this summer.  What are some of the best memories you have had with your families?  Seeking inspiration for the holidays and school breaks.

Thank you for reading my thoughts, news and rantings.  It is how I get what's rattling in my brain out.  Something for my kids to read some day in the future, I suppose.  We appreciate you all so incredibly much.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  We couldn't do this without you, really.

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

Dr office called and reported that the cancer has NOT spread further! 🎉. No new tumors, no noticeable growth of the many that are there. Even appears that the cancer in the tracheal lymph node is a bit less!  All GREAT news!!

Now here is the embarrassing part...it took my Shawn to convince me of this. Yep, Shawn. Mr. Positivity 😉😁 had to sit with me through my “glass half empty” tears to tell me that this was amazing. Because in my mind, I had been fantasizing about regression - less and smaller tumors. A while back I had to remove myself from following various Metastatic Breast Cancer groups because I was feeling so much envy of these ladies that had hardly any tumors and were in NEAD (No Evidence of Active Disease). Envy NEVER feels GOOD. Even though I don’t read those posts anymore, the desire to be heading towards NEAD is still very present.  More so than I readily acknowledged. So when I heard from the nurse that there had been no noticeable changes, I was sad. But Shawn is 100% correct - the chemo IS working. These crazy fast growing and spreading Beasties were STOPPED in their tracks!  The Beasties are SUPER aggressive and they have NOT continued to grow and spread. This REALLY is BIG news!  

I will still hope that we will have some sort of regression in the future. Always hoping for ways to buy more time with my family. TODAY is a fun morning with the kids’ costume strut which is ALWAYS so much fun. Looking sooo forward to seeing all the kids at school in their costumes!  It’s going to be a beautiful and wonderful day, Friends!  Now go out there and make some memories!!

Journal entry by Julie Williams-Jenkins

So here we are.  Time to fight again.  I guess I never should have stopped.  I feel as if I have failed somehow, even though I know that is rather ridiculous to think that way.  But I do, I feel as if I have failed my kids and my Shawn.  I've let my parents down.  I should have done more somehow.  But that fucking Bitch and her Bastard babies (if you knew me during my last fight, this will make sense to you) were still lurking, always lurking.  I think the Bitch is gone, but her offspring have been looking for their inheritance, it would seem.  So, we will have to make sure that they don't build up families of their own!  Gotta kick them out one at a time.  But, I'm getting ahead of the story, aren't I?

So what am I beating myself up over?  On June 11, I went for my oncology checkup which started with me going to the wrong location, AGAIN!  Made jokes with my mom on the way because my brain still takes me to their old location.  I thought they might have to reschedule me, thank goodness they didn't.  I started with blood work and then waited to see the oncologist.  As he is a friend of mine, I always enjoy our chats about our kiddos and the lab results thus far were fine.  I left thinking all was well. Later that afternoon, I get a call that he wants to schedule a CT of my abdomen.  Okay, he's just being careful because those darned liver enzyme levels are always elevated for years now - primarily the alkaline phosphatase.  Then, I get a call the following morning - he would also like a CT of my pelvis and my chest.  Then another call that he would like a bone scan.  Okie dokie.  I was home at lunch and before leaving again, I decided to look up my lab results on the patient portal to make sure nothing was actually going on.  So, as I sat in my driveway I discovered that my metastatic breast cancer tumor marker (CA 27-29) was quite high at 78.8 when the "normal" range ends at 34.  Last year it was an 8.  I went into a tailspin.  Drove straight to the office to get confirmation of what I suspected.  Crying, screaming and praying for my kids and husband - they need me, please don't take me from them.  And I was right - Metastatic Breast Cancer.  But, where?  After the CT results came in, my doctor informed me that it was in both lobes of my liver, my bones and a lymph node under my trachea (who knew there were even lymph nodes there?!).  I've asked for an MRI of my brain since that would take treatment priority if it has progressed that far "north".  Still waiting for that.  I've also had a bone scan and we will hear about that today, I believe.  Tomorrow, I go in for an ultrasound guided liver biopsy which is a minor surgical procedure (think great nap time) and then we will find out what is "feeding" the Bastards so we can try to stop their spreading and maybe get rid of some - a girl can hope can't she?

We told the kids on Monday.  There were tears, of course.  Payton doesn't cry and that was hard to hear her heart breaking.  Teagan was just plain sad.  He remembers the last time and has wanted to be a future counselor at Camp Kesem which is for kids that are or have dealt with cancer in their family.  I promised to always be honest, but that we are so Blessed to be as close as we are as a family.  We talk - a lot.  We do things together.  And I'm always trying to plan memorable camping experiences.  My kids need me.  I can't leave them.  I can't have them go through their teen years without me.  I need to be there for those future milestones.  My husband needs me to balance him as I need him to do the same.  To make him laugh and see the positives.  I can't leave him.  My parents shouldn't have to watch me die.  I'm only 44.  I'm their only child.  It just isn't fair - I know that life isn't fair, but sheesh.  This super sucks.  These are the things that terrify me and make me cry/sob/grit my teeth.  I'm not scared for myself.  I was last time.  I'm just so scared for my family.  That's why I choose to share this with everyone.  My ask is for you to be there for them.  Be their friend, don't give them space.  Invade it.  Show them that you care.  Be WITH them.  Come over and visit with them.  Invite them over.  Be their actual friend.  Help them to know that they are cared for.  And Pray, please Pray.  Don't just type it and move on, please take time to pray for my family.

So, what do we do now?!  We have to wait for those biopsy results to find out.  My oncologist will have to be away for a week and then we will be away for a week making memories which are important, too. I know timing is everything.  But, I know he truly cares and will do what is best for me when he returns and we have the biopsy results.  It is likely that I will start with a daily bill and weekly injections that will make me feel like I'm in chemo again, but it is different.  I have a wonderful community of friends in the medical community that are doing what they can to help and I am so very appreciative.  There is no cure, but they are creating more and more advancements every day.     Maybe they will find one while I Fight.  And I will Fight for every day.
Julie’s Story

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