MEXICO

I’m so happy to tell you our trip to Mexico was a success!  No hospitals, no doctors, only good times and precious memories.

This is Naucalpan,  where my Javiee grew up and where we stayed while in Mexico.  I imagine it looks scary to some of you.  So many people talk about how dangerous Mexico is.  I never felt that and we visited so many places during our stay.

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This trip was so special to us.  It had been twelve years since my Javiee had seen his family and I had never met them.  I’ll share some family pictures.

 

 

 

Family is a priority in Mexico.  Everyone gathers together in the morning for coffee and bread.  There is no sitting in front of the computer or TV all day.  It’s  family time, work and then more family time.  I think we should all disconnect and focus more on quality family time.

Food is a big deal.  If you visit or have someone visit you, you eat.  They expect you to eat.  That’s exactly what I did.  More pictures…..

 

 

 

I loved the street markets!  A definite must if your visiting Mexico.  The difference in the size of the produce is crazy.  It’s all so tiny compared to the produce you get at your local grocery store.  It will make you think about what’s in the food your buying here!  More pictures…

 

 

Here are a few pictures from one of my favorite days.  I climbed the sun and the moon pyramids!  I told my Javiee I deserved a Wonder Woman shirt after accomplishing that!

 

 

Here’s a few more of my favorites… I took so many pictures!  If you want to see more you can find them on my Facebook page.

 

 

Why the picture of me coming out of the bathroom??  Because you have to pay to use the bathroom.  Then you tip a lady inside the bathroom for toilet paper. 😂 Keep pesos handy if your visiting Mexico!  That was lesson number one for me!

I loved Mexico. I loved meeting my Javiees family.  It was all about love and family.  Life in the United States is so fast paced.  Slow down and make time for yourself and your family.  Share a cup of coffee and a doughnut with someone special today.  Life is short!  Get out and make some memories! I love you guys!💕💕💕

New Brain MRI Results

I don’t like to do scans in December. I love the happiness that fills the air this time of year.  Bad scans could dampen that.  I’m so excited to tell you that 15 rounds of WBR and a CyberKnife session gave me a good brain MRI!!  Can we all do a happy dance!?!?!

This doesn’t mean I’m dancing with NED again.  I was on Ibrance and Falsodex for the mets to my lung, hip and spine.  It did nothing to keep those areas stable.  I was on it for four months and my tumor marker went up monthly.  My last scan showed progression in all those areas.  My oncologist changed my medication to Afinitor and Exemestane two months ago.  I have a new PET scan in January to see if it’s working.  I’m praying it is. The side effects are easier to deal with than the ones I had on Ibrance.  I’m dealing with mouth sores and little bumps that randomly appear in different places.  My pain medicine is keeping my spine and hip pain under control and I’m no longer completely exhausted. I’m actually feeling pretty good right now!  I feel so blessed to be here for another holiday season.  I think my New Years resolution will be to make everyday a holiday!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Life is busy, slow down and spend quality time with your loved ones.  Keep your family traditions alive and make memories (they last forever!).

Thank you for all the prayers and love you’ve showered me with over the past 4  (almost!) years.  It means so much to me! 💕💕💕

Now I have to share family news!  Remember how I wanted to live to be a glamma?  Well, now I will be glamma again!  Kori and Emily are expecting in May.  Jax will soon have a little brother or sister.  I’m so excited!  I love being a glamma!  He will be 2 when his new brother or sister arrives.  Look at how big he is!image

What you should know before an Oophorectomy

One day after completing 15 rounds of whole brain radiation I went in for my Oophorectomy.  It was an out patient surgery.  My surgeon told me the recovery would be easy.  I shouldn’t be in pain and I should feel ok the next day.  Just take it easy and no heavy lifting.

Here’s what he didn’t tell me.  Don’t lay down after surgery.

I went home and went to bed.  I woke up the next morning in horrible pain.  Not abdominal pain, it was shoulder pain.  The gas that had been used to expand my abdomen during surgery had set up in my shoulder.  I should have slept sitting up in a recliner and I would have felt fine the day after surgery.  I wasn’t told that and I took pain meds and cried with shoulder pain for about five days.  It was bad!  If this surgery is in your future remember that and you should have a fast recovery.  I have four tiny scars from the incisions and they healed within two weeks.

Now for what was hiding in each of my ovaries:

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That’s a picture of a tumor that was in my ovary.  There was one in each ovary.  This is the largest one (2.0 cm).  How did a tumor this size not show on my scans?   The good news here is that we had it tested and it’s still er/pr+.  That gives me hope that the new medication I’m on can work on my bones and lung.

I go in for new scans next month to see if Faslodex and Ibrance are working.  I’m a little concerned because my tumor marker keeps getting higher every month.  Then in October I will have a new MRI to see what all the brain radiation has accomplished.  Until then I’m staying positive and living every good day to the fullest.  I’m also sleeping a lot.  I don’t know if it’s still exhaustion from radiation or my new treatment plan but there are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone that has messaged, called and came by to share their love.  I even received  care packages from Australia (I ♥️You Emma!) and from Arizona (I ❤️ You Sally!)  You all make my world brighter!

Get out and make some memories!  💕💕

 

Whole Brain Radiation

I have survived 15 rounds of whole brain radiation.  Initially the hardest part was driving to Asheville and back everyday for a treatment that lasts less than 10 minutes. I videoed a session for those of you that may one day have to go through this.

Whole Brain Radiation   Here’s the link

It was a painless procedure.  My mask was latched to the table, everyone left the room and the radiation took a few minutes.  There was a smell that came with the radiation. It reminded me of Clorox.  The first 13 rounds were fairly easy on me.  I was dizzy afterwards and needed a nap.  I was surprised because I was expecting worse.  It hit me at round 14.  My forehead and my ears burnt so bad.  After round 15 I couldn’t hear and my ears smelt horrible.  I was told to take Mussinex to relieve pressure behind my ears.  I did that for a few days and didn’t notice a difference.  I ended up putting peroxide in my ears for a few days and my hearing is back!  I must tell you my oncologist advised against using peroxide.  It worked for me.  My eyesight also got bad with the last rounds of radiation.   I couldn’t read anything!  I’m using readers now and I feel them getting stronger everyday.  It’s been two weeks since my last round of radiation and the fatigue is extreme.  I’m so tired.  I just keep reminding myself that it’s over!  I have had a hard month!!  The day after my last radiation appointment I had my ovaries removed.   I’ll do a post on that soon.  I’m scheduled for the gamma knife and a new MRI in August.  Until then I’m going to get out and spend some time with my guys. I’ll end with some pictures.

 

This is my radiation mask.

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This is one of the Mets to my scalp.  Radiation healed all of them.  Let’s hope it’s working as well on the inside!

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This is a harsh one, but I share my truth with you guys.  My forehead after 15 rounds of WBR.

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Now for one that shows me on the mend!  It’s a wig!

 

 

 

 

MRI Results and A New Treatment Plan

What a week!  I’m exhausted, mentally and physically.  I had an IV steroid treatment last week to reduce the swelling in my head.  I was then put on an oral steroid that I am taking two times a day.  I’m not a fan of steroids.  I hate not feeling like myself.  They make me irritable and nauseous.  They make my blood glucose out of control.  They have relieved my headache, but I have decided I’d rather deal with a headache.  I quit taking the steroids yesterday.  Today I slept until 1 p.m. and I’m feeling a little better.

I saw my radiology oncologist, Dr. Smather’s, last week.  I really love her!  We went over the results of my Brain MRI.   She is confident that this is something we caught early and can control.  There are tiny spots all over the cerebellum (the back of my brain).  It’s almost as if someone has taken a Clorox bottle and sprayed it on my brain from behind.  Because these spots are scattered our course of treatment will be WBR (whole brain radiation).  I have always known I didn’t want to do WBR.  However, this is the plan.  This is what I will do.  My youngest son is 13.  I cannot discount any treatment.   I will do whatever I have to for the chance to see him graduate high school.  So, here’s the plan…

15 days of WBR starting this Thursday.  The following Friday I will leave radiation and then go over to the hospital to have my ovaries removed.  While all this is happening I will also be adjusting to the new chemo I will be starting this week.  When WBR is completed we will do a new MRI and decide if we can do targeted radiation to the tumor behind my eye or if we will gamma knife it.  Geez!   I believe this is going to be a hard month!! (understatement of the year!)

My doctors are confident, as am I.  I have so much left to do and so many more memories to make!  I am hopeful that this is just a temporary setback.

Thank you all for your love and support.  I will do my best to keep you updated.💕💕

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Here’s a picture of my Javiee and I on our latest road trip.  I’m focusing on a family cruise when this mess is over!  Take time to make memories!💕

Little Pink Houses Of Hope

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I’m sharing exciting news today!  I was chosen to participate in The Little Pink House of Hope!  Our toes will be in the sand on Carolina Beach this time next week!  I screamed like a ten year old when I got the email saying I was chosen!  The Little Pink Houses Of Hope give people with breast cancer a break from life and a chance to reconnect.  We will be staying in our own private beach house for a week.  Food and activities are included.  Those of you that read my blog will remember we had a beach trip planned last summer.  Instead of the beach I ended up in the hospital.  I was devastated!  This trip is such a blessing to us!  We’ve been through so much over the past three years!  I’m really looking forward to some down time with my sweet Javiee and T.J.  I am full of gratitude!

Here is the mission statement for The Little Pink Houses of Hope:

To promote breast cancer recovery by offering opportunities for survivors to reconnect and celebrate life.

I celebrate life daily, but what better place to do it than the beach!?!

If you want to help people living with breast cancer please support The Little Pink Houses of Hope.  They are helping breast cancer patients get a new lease on life.  Treatment can be so harsh and cancer takes so much away from you.  Sometimes a break from reality can be the best medicine!  Click the link below to help!

Click here to support Little Pink Houses of Hope

Happy Birthday Jaxon!

The joys of being a glamma!  My grandson Jaxon turned one this month!  I felt so blessed to be there when he was born.  I cried like a baby the first time I held him.  I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was to be at his first birthday party!  He is such a happy baby and he has the sweetest soul.  He is the greatest gift and I am so blessed to be his glamma!  Thank you to my son, Kori, and to Emily for making me a glamma.  It is a title I treasure!💕

You know pictures have to follow!

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That’s my oldest son, Kori, Emily and Jaxon.

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This is Jaxon with his cake face.

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Jaxon and his Glamma (me)!

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That’s T.J. my youngest son.

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Grandpa Javiee with Jaxon.

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This is my precious Jaxon! Could he be anymore beautiful!?!

 

 

 

 

 

A Big Thank You To Healthline!

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I received news yesterday that my blog was chosen as one of Healthline’s Best Metastatic Breast Cancer Blog’s of 2015!  I am honored to be included in this list.  I knew nothing about metastatic breast cancer when I was diagnosed.  I found solace by reading some of these blogs.  You can find the list here:

The Best Metastatic Breast Cancer Blogs of The Year

I want to say thank you to Healthline for not only recognizing my blog, but recognizing the metastatic breast cancer community.  I am grateful. I wish more organizations would follow Healthline’s lead.  Metastatic breast cancer needs to be talked about.  More of the billions of dollars raised every year in the name of “the cure” needs to go to metastatic research.  There will be no cure until that happens.

Thank you Healthline!

 

Just busy living!

Just busy living!

My mindset lately has been I’m not in chemo so let’s forget this cancer business!  I’m feeling so good!  I don’t even think about cancer until it’s Zoladex day.  We’re still watching a small spot on my left kidney.  I have scans at the end of the month.  My tumor marker is sitting at 21.5.  I’m not worried about my upcoming scans.  I will not put that negative vibe into my universe!  I feel good.  I am good!  I’m so grateful to be able to enjoy this summer with my family! So here’s what I’ve been up to!

Spending time with this little blessing!  I love being a grandma! You all know there was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever live to be a grandma!  I am so in love with this little man!  He is the greatest gift!

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Tubing in Helen, Georgia with Kori and Emily!  I was the babysitter!! So much more fun for me!

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Tubing in Cherokee N.C. with my guys!

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Dollywood!  I walked around all day with only two pain pills!  Those of you living with stage IV know what a big deal that is!

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As as I write this it’s Saturday night.  Sunday is our family adventure day.  Who knows what adventure lies ahead for tomorrow!  I’m just excited for another day of feeling good and spending time with my guys!  Get out and make some memories!  They are the only thing that will outlive you!

Please send your prayers to one of the strongest and most inspirational women I know. https://saraelhassani.wordpress.com/   She’s dealing with a lot right now and she is as graceful as ever!  All my love to you guys!!! Your love and prayers make my life a thousand times brighter!