Before I get to some of the latest news, there was someone that was a little upset over not being included in my previous post with all of the other 3 Day cheerleaders. I apologized repeatedly but he said he would only forgive me if he was featured front and center in this weeks post.....
A big thank you to our pup for being the sweetest, furriest Team Malley supporter. This guy always knows how to make us smile and brighten our day.
The Thursday before the amazing 3 Day For The Cure weekend, I went to chemo bright and early in the morning just as I always do. I was a little excited this time because I had been waiting for a couple weeks to see my oncologist and show him the shirt I proudly ordered online. I cracked up when I saw it one day and had to buy it! Well, Dr. F loved it too, and thought it was hilarious. He even had Mike take a pic with his personal iphone, and you know I had my camera on hand to capture a shot too!
As a little gift, I gave Dr. F one of our Meghan Malley Rally t-shirts. I chose the green one because I figured as a breast cancer specialist, this guy probably owns more pink than he cares to admit. Dr. F really liked his shirt - he thanked me and we parted ways so I could head over to the infusion side of the building to begin chemo. Well, I couldn't believe it when about 10 minutes later, Dr. F showed up on the infusion side (which he NEVER does) and he was sporting his Meghan Malley Rally t-shirt over his shirt and tie! He said, "We have to do this right and get another pic!" All of the nurses and some of the other patients came around the corner to see what all the laughter was about and they got a total kick out of it too! We took some more pics and then I found out later from one of my nurses, that Dr. F wore his t-shirt all day long under his lab coat! What an awesome guy. So, when you say your prayers for me - please throw in a few extra ones for my homeboy, Dr. F! :)
Speaking of my visit to Chemoland, I actually got some exciting news that week. Dr. F informed me that I don't have to make up the one chemo I missed earlier this summer due to my low counts. So...I will be done on September 1 as originally planned! YAY! I was very surprised and super excited because we had already planned our little family getaway to Florida for Labor Day weekend and it just wasn't going to be the same "end of chemo celebration" if I had to come back and have my last treatment on September 8. It just seems so crazy that I only have two rounds left - it is so odd how it seems like it's been a lifetime since this journey started, but somehow at the same time it has flown by in the blink of an eye. Not sure if that makes sense, but it's somehow the way it feels.
We discussed a lot of other issues with Dr. F at chemo that week, most importantly the fact that all of my testing needs to be redone now that we are reaching our conclusion of the first line of attack against this monster C. Dr. F ordered a CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis for Monday, August 29 and an MRI of my spine and full body bone scan on Tuesday, August 30. To say that I am anxious and nervous regarding what these tests will tell us, is putting it very lightly. You guys know me - I am optimistic, upbeat and very hopeful. But this will be the first time we have checked back on the status of these crazy cells, and it is nothing short of terrifying to think of the possibility that they have further infiltrated my body-which is always our #1 fear. Please start storming the heavens with prayer that this chemo has worked wonders for my body and that the tests do not reveal any further spread of this disease.
I will go back to see Dr. F on September 8 to get all of my test results and will definitely update everyone at that time. Later that same day, I go back to see Dr. B, my breast surgeon at the Beaumont Breast Care Center. She will have all of my test results as well which will further guide some of our decisions during the mastectomy process. I haven't had the chance to update you all on another new doc who was recently added to our cast of characters. Dr. M is going to be my plastic surgeon and we met with him a few weeks ago. I will save all of that info for a later time to dedicate an entire post to what that process entails, but he will be the one initiating the reconstruction process on the day Dr. B performs my mastectomy. Anyways, on September 8 we will again meet with Dr. B to go over all the final details leading up to surgery and hopefully nail down a date for when my bilateral mastectomy will be taking place. Lots of important news, big decisions, and major surgeries coming up in the very new future!
Aside from the great news about concluding chemo a week early, I was also over the moon with excitement that Brinley, Andy and Andrew came to visit for an entire week, from August 10-17. Of course, Brin was just a "little" busy with walking 60 miles over the weekend - so it was so nice to have them here for a few days before and after the 3 Day so Mike and I could spend some extra time with them.
It is so amazing how someone can come into your life and you just instantly click with them - it doesn't take any effort - there are no awkward "getting to know you" moments - you just hit it off right from the start. That's exactly what happened between Brinley and I in the beginning of 2008 as we started our professional careers together at the Rehab Institute of Michigan. Even as I type the year "2008", it surprises me because it feels like we have been such close friends for so many years. Brin, Andy, Mike and I became fast friends and the time flew by so quickly before they moved back to Florida. Since they have moved, we have always made an effort to take trips to see each other, we spend countless hours on the phone each week, and text each other at least once every day.
Since Brinley and Andy welcomed sweet little Andrew into their lives in February, Brin was home on maternity leave throughout the weeks leading up to my diagnosis - when I was having appointment after appointment, and test after test. I was so grateful that I knew I could call Brin after those appointments and she would be willing to take precious time out of caring for her newborn, listen, talk & try to calm my fears. I will never forget sitting alone in my car in the Beaumont Hospital parking deck after my breast biopsy, and sobbing on the phone to Brin telling her Dr. B just told me that she was worried I may have breast cancer. Or when I got the call at work the very next day, and Dr. B informed me that she was right, it was cancer. After calling Mike and my mom, I called Brinley and we cried together as I shared the news. Then again, a few weeks later when Dr. F called me at work to let me know the spine biopsy was positive and I did indeed have Stage IV cancer. I tried to stay at work to see my patients, but I just couldn't do it. I drove home and talked to Brin most of the way - telling her I didn't want to die - asking her to please watch out for Mike. These are not the type of conversations you share with just any friend, or someone you just happened to work with for a couple of years. I am so grateful to be blessed with so many amazing friends, but I just don't know how I could have gotten through all of those moments without Brinley.
Although Brin lives in Florida, it has felt like she has been right here next to me, holding my hand, throughout each and every moment of the past five months. She is an incredible listener and knows exactly when I need to just vent without someone giving me answers or telling me everything will be okay. She has taken time each and every single day since I was diagnosed to send me a quick picture message - usually of adorable little Andrew. Receiving a picture message on your cell phone is usually no big deal to most people, but to me that single gesture means so much more. For five straight months those daily messages have always made me feel like Brin is always thinking of me, and is supporting me through this battle and that always brightens my day!
Brin, there is no way I can possibly thank you enough for your incredible friendship over the years, and especially over the past few months. You have been there for me through it all, every single day, no matter what, no matter how busy your life might be. You have supported me 110% throughout this entire journey, during a time which is supposed to be the happiest and most exciting time of your life - as you became a mother to your beautiful son. During these first six months of Andrew's life, you have never made me feel like you didn't have time to be there for me or that you were too busy or overwhelmed as a new mom to listen - even though I know there were plenty of times when you could have easily felt that way. I cannot thank you and Andy enough for taking a week off from work and coming back up to Michigan to spend time with us. Mike and I absolutely loved having you guys here and I miss you so much already! Your friendship means the world to me and I love all three of you so very much!
I was so excited to be able to capture some family pics while the Johnson's were here. These are a few of my faves from our afternoon at the park...
Thank you Andy for capturing this beautiful image of Brin, Andrew and I.
I absolutely adore it!
What trip back to metro Detroit would be complete without a visit to Slows downtown?! Just think guys, if you move back we can go to Slows all the time!....and no 100⸰ humid weather in the summer, we can go to all the great concerts you miss, and Zumba's, and the gorgeous sand dunes in western Michigan, and.....I could go on and on. Just let me know when you want me to start the house hunting for you! ;)
"Wherever we are, it is our friends that make our world." ♥
Well, things have continued to move at a non-stop pace in true Malley form since Brin and Andy left. Last weekend our good friend, Zak came to stay the weekend as we all went to celebrate a college buddy's wedding. Congrats Mike and Annita - we had a fabulous time at the wedding!
This Thursday is Mike's birthday! I can't wait to spoil him for the day like he truly deserves....although the poor guy will have to start his bday party with me at chemo that morning. If you see my lovely hubby jogging through the neighborhood (like so many of you do), or run into him somewhere else this week, please wish him a wonderful happy birthday because no one deserves a little extra love and attention like he does! I love you so much Michael John Malley!
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