Happy holidays, everyone!
How are we already here? I am sure I say it every year (and have probably even written it here before), but time truly does fly by fast and faster each and every year!
I am happy to report that I am feeling much better than I was a few months ago. The end of the summer and fall brought a type of unrelenting pain that I had never experienced before and it was a true test. Living with chronic pain became one of my greatest fears once I learned the reality of what bone mets can do, and it terrified me to think that the symptoms I was feeling might become my "new normal".
After many weeks of forced rest, which involved little else besides going to work and then straight to the couch or bed, I finally started to have reprieve of my symptoms. Not only did this give me great physical relief, but mentally and emotionally too. On top of that, it allowed me to hold off any potential radiation therapy to my spine.
With each day, I feel stronger and more hopeful that I will get back to where I was. I am not as scared of hurting myself at work while trying to do all I can for my patients. I am able to walk the dogs with Mike each evening. I am back to the gym with modified workouts, and learning how to be more patient with myself. I continue to have some symptoms that remind me that I need to take a rest and sit down for a bit. I am learning that I have to respect these signals from my body and that they cannot be ignored.
The fall and start of winter has been full of enjoying time together, and with family and friends. We took a trip to Connecticut to visit our friends, Beth and Ben and their kiddos, celebrated our nephew's 2nd birthday, hosted over 30 people for Thanksgiving and started a complete bathroom remodel!
I did meet with the team at the Karmanos Phase 1 Clinical Trial program and I'll save those thoughts for another blog altogether. In a nutshell, it was a very eye-opening and pretty overwhelming appointment for my mom and I. Thankfully, it's not a road I need to travel down just yet.
My counts have been good enough to stay on my current treatment and we are praying that it continues to be effective and prevent the spread of any further disease. We will know if that is the case or not after my next round of scans which is on Christmas Eve. Isn't that how we all want to spend the day before Christmas?! I will have scans that day, return on the 27th for my injections, and then again the following Thursday, January 3rd to see Dr. F for results. Please include us in your prayers that these scans show improvement in my spine and no new disease anywhere else!
I will have some pretty great distractions during that time as our dear friends from Florida (the Johnson family) come visit! Brinley and Andy are surprising the boys with a trip to Michigan for Christmas! They have been begging to come up here and see some snow. We are heading up north for skiing, tubing, snowman building and all sorts of other winter fun!
I can't help but feel a real sense of gratitude at how joyous this holiday season has felt for me. As I reflect back, I know that the holidays have been very difficult for me since I was diagnosed with cancer. I used to love Christmas so much but after my diagnosis, it became a time of year that left me feeling sad - whether that was due to wondering how many more Christmas' I would have, or because of how quiet our house felt when it was supposed to be filled with the laughter and chaos of children...it just became a hard time. But this year feels different. I am enjoying every part of it, without feeling stressed, overwhelmed or sad.
I feel excited to celebrate Christmas with those dearest to us....to celebrate another wedding anniversary with Mike...and to enter a new year feeling full of hope and optimism.
Thank you for riding the waves of life with me. And for following my journey, as I am constantly learning, growing and navigating life with a chronic disease as best as I can.
I hope that each of you enjoy the love and joy of the Christmas season and have a very Happy New Year!
My blog to keep you all