Another Cancerversary Has Passed

I passed my 5 year cancerversary last month.

I’ve survived over 5 years with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer.

Only 27 out of 100 women live past 5 years with this disease.

I’m very thankful to be one of them!

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Chemo, MRI, Fluid on Lungs….

I love this new quick chemo! My blood work came back quickly today and the chemo takes between 3-5 minutes to give. I love how quick that is! Today, I also got a bag of fluid as I waited for my labs to come back.

While I was there today, Dr. Leung stopped by. We talked about how my pain is much more under control and how I’m not having to use short acting pain pills during the day as often. He was pleased that I am less bloated. (I am pleased as well, although I think I still have a little bit more to go.)

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Back Home, New Chemo and Pain Management

A lot has happened since I wrote last. My attention span isn’t very long, but I’ll try my best to give you an update.

I came home from the hospital with a pain management plan and a bowel management plan. Ready or not….we were headed back home!

Once we got home, thanks to Amazon and a medical supply store near the hospital, we got a few things to make things possible for me to function at home without Tom having to help me with everything! I am using a cane to keep me steady as I walk. We have a long reach toilet aid tool…quickly moving on…a bed assist rail, a beautiful new toilet seat with handles, a handle in the shower for balance and a grabber/reacher tool so I can pick things up off the floor (or try and pinch the girls).

I feel so old!


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I’m Home

I’m very tired, but wanted to post that I got home from the hospital around 6 pm. I will write more when I am more alert.

Reporting from the hospital

It’s Friday night and I’ve had a busy day at the hospital. People have been coming in and out all day to check vitals, to get me medicine, to talk about test results, etc.

I had the fluid around my right lung drained today. It was about 1 liter of fluid. We decided to drain it because when we compared yesterday’s CT to the CT that was done a week and a half ago, there was quite a bit more fluid. 

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Getting Away for the Night

I was having a lot of pain on Tuesday evening and by 3a it became unbearable and my oncologist recommended I go to the ER.  Tom called 911 because I wasn’t able to get out of bed, much less into the car on my own. 

The ambulance arrived and somehow managed to get me out of the house without waking the girls.  Tom let them know what was going on and one of my friends came over super early to be with them when they woke up.  The ER was a pretty slow process, but they did run a number of tests and started an IV to get my pain under control.  The two main concerns were the pain in my back and my difficulty breathing.  The most recent CT scans showed some fluid accumulating around my right lung and hinted at a possible infection. 

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Scan results

Good news! I still have hair.

Not so great news….the CT showed some new and enlarged spots. The growth isn’t huge, but it is still growth. That, combined with my current symptoms, confirms that Taxol (the current chemo I am on) isn’t effective.

The fluid around my right lung has increased a little and there is now a spot on my left lung. There is also an inconclusive spot on my liver that is suspicious. There are a lot of spots on my bones still, one large one at T4, which hasn’t really changed since the last scan. Maybe that’s the one that is causing my back pain.

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Cards for after I’m gone

Warning….this might be a hard post to read.

I wrote an email to Tom today because I didn’t think I could tell him what I needed to in person without sobbing.

Last night I finished writing my letters to the girls, Tom and our parents for big milestones after I’m gone. I wrote letters for right after I die, high school and college graduation, weddings, pregnancy and if Tom remarries.

This has been on my to do list for 5 years. I think with the thought of another scan coming up next week and thinking about how we have not received one good scan report since the cancer returned, I just needed to do this while I am feeling ok and while my mind is working well.

I had planned to handwrite them, but my writing is pretty messy right now because my hands are a little shaky (especially as I sobbed as I wrote the letters). So they are typed and in cute cards for each occasion.

I pray I get to throw them all out and that they never read them! But if I am gone and one of those things happen, I want them to know how much I love them!

I have no idea if this is a good thing to do or not. I’m sure they will be hard to read at the time. But I needed to do it for me, the me right now, how I am feeling right now. It somehow helps me feel like they will be ok without me when I’m gone.

I also wrote a final blog post so Tom or someone else can post that.

So that’s my uplifting post for the day. Sorry. But like I have said before, I want to be transparent on this journey so people know what it’s really like to fight terminal cancer.

Having terminal cancer is hard. It’s messy. There are tears of joy and sadness. Thanks for walking the road with us.

Scan update and crazy emotions

My CT scan is scheduled for next Wednesday, the 30th. 2 days later on October 2nd, we have a telehealth appointment with Dr. Leung to find out the results.

Yesterday was the hardest day I have had in a while. Physically I struggled to get up and do anything, and I was an emotional mess. Chemo and the steroid were making my face very flushed and it felt like it was on fire. Looking back at the day, I should have taken some medicine to help me calm down. I finally did at 7pm and went to bed really early.

Mentally I have been preparing for my next scan to be in late November. To find out that it’s next week was a little bit of a shock. I’ll be glad to know if the chemo is working, but every scan we’ve done since October has not been good.

I’m not ready to have another bad scan. I’m not ready for another discussion of what chemo we move on to next. I don’t want to continue to make things harder on my family, especially my husband. I don’t want to look at my calendar, not knowing if I will be able to do anything on it until the morning of. I just don’t want to be sick anymore. I just want to feel good and have a lot of energy so I can be like one of those crazy people who is reorganizing their house after watching The Home Edit. Seriously. Do you know how much I love organizing?

I’m thankful that today is a little better than yesterday. I’ve been out of bed sitting in the recliner. Cortney and I discussed our James Bible study over video chat. I’ve done a few loads of laundry. I changed out the hangers in my closet. I swapped summer and winter clothes in my closet. I tried to help with some geometry. I prioritized my to do list. I put up a few fall decorations. I wrote a few letters. Each one of those things took a very brief amount of time. Between each of them I had to sit down and rest because I was very out of breath. But, I got somethings done and I’m very thankful!

As you pray for our family this week, will you please pray for peace in our home. Please continue to pray for the girls as they do school from home. Pray for Tom as he manages everything. Pray that as I parent in the midst of pain, my words will be gracious and kind. Pray that I will not worry about the scan coming up next week.

Also, thank you to everyone who helps provide meals for us a couple times a week. It is very helpful! October dates are up on the calendar if you are able to help.

Seeing the Dr. at Chemo Today

Very quick update tonight because I’m so tired. I couldn’t make myself open my eyes and stay awake this morning. At 9:30, I really struggled, as I had no choice but to get ready and go to chemo.

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tom-and-jennifer-ovalMeet Jennifer

Breast Cancer Patient, Chef Wife and Mom

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What to Expect:

Breast Biopsy
PET Scan
port surgery
neuropathy after chemo

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