That's right, folks....the breakfast menu for tomorrow morning is a whopping serving size of barium sulfate! Woohoo! Just how everyone wants to start off their Monday morning, right?
In case you aren't following my late night, exhausted attempt at humor...this means I am getting my next round of scans done first thing at the morning tomorrow. I will head to the hospital with Mike around 7:30am and we will likely be there until mid-afternoon getting a few different tests and bloodwork done. Downside - it's a long and exhausting day. Upside - Mike took the day off to go with me so at least I get an entire day with him by my side. We have both been so ridiculously busy lately that I am really looking forward to spending the day together, even if it means sitting in the lovely Nuclear Medicine Department all morning.
If you have some prayers, good mojo or healing thoughts you could send my way, I would sincerely appreciate it! It truly does ease the "scanxiety" knowing you are all cheering me on and sending positive thoughts into the atmosphere.
I have lots of updates it seems, especially about all of the hard work I have been doing to promote MBC and young survivors at the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure this year! It is late and I have to get to bed, but I promise to update soon. If I don't get a chance this week since it's going to be a nutty one again, please at least spread the word to anyone who is local, to please register for the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure this year and come see what we have been doing - especially for those women who are metastatic. Here is a little sneak peek at one of the great things we have in store for race participants.
Please join us next Saturday at Chene Park in Detroit or make a donation to "Team Malley Rally" here.
Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers. Won't see Dr. F until a week from Thursday for my results. Waiting is soooo....fun. (insert sarcasm here)
And because I can't possibly have a post without sharing some pics...here are some quick iphone shots of the fun we had together on Mother's Day while cheering on the Tigers!
This is definitely the longest I have ever gone without updating the blog. I'm sorry for worrying some of you. I started hearing more and more comments like, "I hope everything is okay - you haven't updated your blog in awhile." Rest assured that you can take it as a good thing and it just means that I have been busy living my life and trying my best to not think about cancer...although there isn't a day that goes by that I escape it. The past month or so has been a full one - we celebrated my birthday (and 2nd Cancerversary!!!), Mike started his busy baseball season, photography sessions are picking up, and....we bought a house! Woohooo! We closed on our house the second week in April and we are very excited about it. Mike and his best friend, Justin have already gutted a ton of the house. We have started some major renovations and can't wait to see it all come together. We will continue living at my Mom and Doug's house until most of the remodeling is complete. It is an exciting time for us and we are so grateful to have found a home in our favorite area - where we have more space, less noise, and are surrounded by deer and all sorts of beautiful wildlife....all while being only 20 minutes from my Mom, 10 minutes from the Karmanos satellite I am treated it, and even closer to work. I'll keep you all posted on our renovation process (which has become a part time job!) - you know I will document it all with my trusty camera. :)
I continue to feel pretty good and I couldn't be more grateful for that. My hot flashes have been a real annoyance lately and I have been dealing with sleep disturbances for quite awhile now. I know that insomnia is extremely common with cancer patients and although I don't think I truly have insomnia, I can't remember the last time I have been able to sleep through the night. My back has been feeling good and I am so grateful to be able to work and exercise with minimal pain - although it always does remind me when I start to over do it and need to rest.
I saw my oncologist, Dr. F on my birthday and he was pleased with how I am doing. He agreed with my thoughts that we should just stay the course with my current treatment as long as it's working. I continue on my oral meds as well as my monthly injections into my abdomen. Dr. F even went as far as to say that I don't need to see him for 12 weeks (instead of 8), and that I could even bump my scans back to every 9 months instead of 6! Although I love the idea that I don't need to see him for 12 weeks, I am not quite ready to push the scans back to every 9 months. The thought of that just really scares me right now so we are going to stick with the 6 month schedule. I have friends scanned every 3 months and it's terrifying to me how much has changed with their disease in that short time, so I don't want to go too long between my tests. I am just happy to be doing well enough for him to even suggest that. And to think that I don't have to see him for 12 weeks when there used to be a time that I saw him every single week - it just makes me very happy, relieved and grateful. My next round of scans is scheduled for June 5 and then I will get the results on June 13 when I see Dr. F next. Of course, I always appreciate extra prayers around scan time, so thanks in advance for that. :)
I also want to extend thanks to all of you that offered words of encouragement and prayers for my dear friend, Jeanne' that I wrote about in my last post and for all of my Mets Babes. Little did I know that while I was actually writing that last post, Jeanne' had passed away. I found out the next morning - on my birthday. It was a very difficult time for many of us - to say the least, but I am grateful to know she is in a better place, and finally able to rest her tired body.
I hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for your continued love and support.
ps-Team Meghan Malley Rally is once again participating in the Detroit Race for the Cure. Please come join us on May 18th (even if you don't officially register). More info can be found here... http://www.active.com/donate/detroitRFTC13/2013MMalley
Some quick snapshots of all of our happenings lately....you can also find my "picture a day" challenge over on Instagram - follow me @megmalley to see what I am up to, including more house updates!
Some sneak peeks of the new house projects....
Do you ever sit back and take a minute to reflect on exactly where you are in your life? Not in the sense of a geographical location, but where you are spiritually, psychologically, emotionally. How did you end up there? What events throughout your life led to this exact moment? Where would you be if you chose the other path when you came upon the fork in the road?
We have all ended up exactly where we are based on a series of choices - and those choices have likely been influenced by a number of different people and circumstances throughout our lives. I think one major point of this crazy thing called life, is to learn from those choices - to reflect on where they led you - and to decide if that is a path you should continue to travel down, or perhaps it is time to venture out and try something new.
Are you truly happy in this moment? If not, what can you do about it? Are there steps you can take to actively participate in the direction your life is heading? Or are you willing to sit back and watch it all unfold without attempting to change the angle of your sails and steer yourself towards what brings you joy in this world?
The only way that I have found to live with true happiness while facing this disease, is to try to turn it into something positive. To try to somehow make a difference - to educate, to support, to befriend, to create awareness, to speak out. If I simply sat back and wallowed in self-pity about this hand that's been dealt to me, I would be miserable. What good would that do for anyone? For me, Mike, my family, and my friends - it would suck everyone down into a deep, dark hole. Instead, I have tried to do what I can to turn this situation around and make something good come from it.
I am grateful that New Balance and Chris Pearson, the director of the Mid-Michigan affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure gave me the opportunity to share my story last Sunday at the Race for the Cure in Lansing. I nervously stood on the steps leading up to the State Capital building and awaited my introduction. Just moments prior, I almost lost it as the opening ceremonies began and young dancers performed in front of the crowd. As I watched my mom and saw the tears stream down her face, I was reminded of how hard this is for everyone. But, I knew it was important that I take this opportunity to share my experience and try to make some kind of positive impact.
As Mike and I walked up to the podium, I felt a wave of nervousness wash over me. But after bobbling the first few words of my speech, I took a breath and simply spoke from the heart. I shared my story and emphasized what I believe to be the most important aspects of my journey - that it is a myth that young women are not affected by breast cancer, and that there needs to be more research and awareness for metastatic disease because no one dies from breast cancer unless they become metastatic. Research investigating why cancer cells metastasize and how to stop this from happening are the only ways we will actually find a true cure!
Thankfully, I was able to get through my entire speech without breaking down. That was one of my goals because once those flood gates open, good luck getting them closed for awhile! I want to thank Mike for literally and figuratively always standing right by my side, no matter what. There is no one I would rather travel down this road with than you! Thank you to my family and friends that came out to support me and to all of you that sent me well wishes and good luck vibes from afar. I am so thankful that I have received such amazing feedback from this - especially from my friends in the metastatic breast cancer community. I truly wanted to represent them well and speak on behalf of every single one of them.
If you would like to see my speech, please click on the link below. Looks like I can cross this one of my bucket list..."Share your story in front of 5,000 people!"
Here are a few pics from the day that Kyle captured...
I don't know what made Mike happier - listening to me speak or meeting MSU's football coach, Mark Dantonio and hearing him mention me in his speech to the crowd.
I love all of you guys - thank you so much for coming! Sorry we missed Aunt Erin, Mary, Melis, Brad and Payton in our group pic.
Well, tomorrow at 6:30am we are due to check in at the hospital for my next scheduled surgery - never a dull moment around here I guess. :) My surgery will begin at 8am and will last a couple of hours, followed by a couple of hours in recovery before I am able to head home. This is (hopefully) the last major step in my reconstruction process. Tomorrow, Dr. M will open up my scars from the double mastectomy and he will proceed to remove the tissue expanders and replace them with implants. He will then make some fine-tuning adjustments to ensure a proper fit, size and shape. Dr. M has informed me that I will likely be sore and down and out for a few days. I will have strict restrictions to avoid any lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling for 2 weeks at a minimum, and no returning to work for at least 4 weeks. Thankfully, momma nurse Jan and Mike will be here all weekend and into next week making sure that I am doing just fine. I am expecting surgery to go smoothly and that I will have an uneventful and speedy recovery.
I would greatly appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers as I head into surgery tomorrow - not just for me but for my family as they anxiously await the outcome, and for my medical team that will be taking care of me. Thank you all so much for your enduring support and we will be sure to update you soon once I am out of surgery.
Hi-ya friends...the Malley household is hustling and bustling like the good ole' days lately. Mike is in full swing with the baseball season (pun intended...hehe), I have officially started a new business venture (which I'll fill you in on soon), and I have been super busy juggling all sorts of other things like meetings about returning to work and getting tons done around the house before my next surgery...which is in 8 days! yikes! It finally feels like we are back to a little bit of what life was like before I was diagnosed - full schedules involving both work and play, cooking & eating dinner together every night (and at the kitchen table - no longer eating while laying on the couch or in bed), and just enjoying feeling well enough to tackle all sorts of things.
I realized that my 30th birthday came and went without me ever wrapping up my ambitious "30 before 30" list. I will admit - I didn't accomplish everything. But I will say, it was a valiant effort and I will definitely continue to cross off the rest of my list as the year progresses. Here is how I fared....
I have some pretty big things coming up in the next week. This coming Sunday, April 29 is the Mid-Michigan Race for the Cure in Lansing. I am proud to be the "New Balance Honorary Survivor" of this years race and I will be speaking at the opening ceremonies on the steps of the Capital building. I am using this opportunity to not only share my story, but stress the critical importance of further research in the field of breast cancer. I think that Komen and other organizations have done a great job of spreading awareness - but it's time for more! We all know what a pink ribbon means. Now it's time to really step up our game and put our money where our mouth is and find a cure! I am nervous to be speaking in front of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people but I feel like it is my responsibility to advocate for myself and the other men and women that are battling for their lives right along side me. Publicly speaking about myself and what I have been through is always an emotional thing for me so I am grateful that some of my close friends and family members will be there to support me. That truly means so much to me. The opening ceremonies begin at 1pm at the Capital in Lansing. If you would like more information, want to join our team, or donate to this cause, please click here.
The next big thing on the agenda after the Race for the Cure is that I will be having surgery next Friday, May 4. This is the next step in my reconstruction process. The surgery itself should only take a couple hours and I will come home that same day. I will share more details on that next week but needless to say, undergoing surgery is always an anxious time. I will once again be asking for all of you prayer warriors out there to start storming the heavens again.
In the meantime, here are some snapshots from my iphone to show you what I have been up to lately....weekly trips to the farmers market, lots of Kettering baseball games, new tasty recipes, juicing my veggies, roughly 30 or so pills every morning and then again at night, zoo trips with friends, doctors appointments, and babysitting our sweet Goddaughter...life is good!
Hope you all have a great weekend and that I see some of you on Sunday at the Mid-Michigan Race for the Cure in Lansing!
Sorry for a bit of a hiatus...life sure has been busy around here lately. The past two weeks have been jam packed with plans. Mike threw me a wonderful 3oth birthday party on the 24th and we had the best time! It is always so much fun when we are able to get so many of our family members and friends together at one time. Thank you so much to my loving husband for planning everything, and thank you to all of you that were able to come out and celebrate with us!
The fun continued when we traveled to Chicago last weekend. Our main reason for the visit was actually a medical appointment at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care. We spent almost 7 hours at the Block Center and I will definitely fill you all in on that very soon. After spending all day Friday at our appointment, we spent that night and the rest of the weekend with our many friends that live in the city. As always, we had a great time in Chicago and can't wait to visit again soon!
This past Thursday was Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park! For those of you that aren't from the D, you may not know what a huge deal this is. Basically, the entire city turns into one huge party. You may remember from this post, that I went to Opening Day for the first time last year when my big bro asked me to go with him. I remember that it was just a few days after I got my port placed in my chest, and Jeff was being so protective in the bar before the game - making sure that no one would bump into me since I was so sore. It's crazy to think of all that has happened since then.
Mike and I were so excited that we not only got tickets to the game (thanks Uncle Ed!), but that we were going with Mike's cousins, Brian and Diana - who we adore. Mike and I are really close with Brian and Diana and we always have the best time together. It worked out perfect that Diana was visiting from NYC, and Mike had the day off for spring break.
We met up before the game with Jeff and some other friends at Coaches Corner before heading to the game to cheer the Tigers on for their first win of the season. It was such a fun day!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter Sunday with your families. I will never forget my Easter last year. I spent the day in bed, suffering from a great deal of fatigue and extremely low blood pressure after my very first round of chemo. The night before, all of my wonderful Beauts came over with dinner, made me laugh, and physically tucked me into my bed that night. I am so grateful for how far I have come since then. I am grateful that I will spend Easter with my family - not in my bed - and that I have enough energy to enjoy every moment of the day. Happy Easter!
ps. - I have been asked to be the Team New Balance Honorary Survivor at this years Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Lansing, Michigan. The Mid-Michigan Komen affiliate is doing wonderful things for the greater Lansing community and I am happy to be a part of their event. My hope in taking part in this is that by sharing my story to hundreds (maybe thousands!) of people when I take the stage at the opening ceremonies, I will help bring about increased awareness about the risks for younger women, and especially educate others on metastatic breast cancer. If you would like to join us on April 29th at the State Capital, please click here to become a member of our team or to make a donation to this cause. To learn more about the great work of the Mid-Michigan Komen affiliate, and to see yours truly in their video, click on this link.
I distinctly remember the moment when I realized that my group of girlfriends and I were unique. It was back at Miami University during my undergrad years and it dawned on me what a special bond I had with my best girlfriends from home. During my freshman year of college, I had pictures of my Beauts plastered all over my tiny dorm room walls. I remember so many people making comments to me like, "you still talk to your friends from high school?", or "I couldn't wait to get out of my hometown and get away from people I went to high school with!" Throughout my college years, I discovered that many of my Miami friends kept in less and less touch with their friends from home, while my friendship with my Beauts remained as strong as ever. Sure, maybe I didn't get the chance to see all of them as much, but it didn't matter - because we could go months without a visit and then once we saw each other, we could pick right back up where we left off. It has been 11 years since we graduated high school and I am so proud to say that my Beauts are still some of my very best friends. We have been there for each other through thick and thin and I am so grateful to have them in my life!
Seven of us, plus one baby Beaut, were able to get together for a girls weekend getaway up to Nanc & Bob's place on beautiful Sage Lake. It was a perfect relaxing weekend with my girls - filled with sunshine, swimming, laughter, and lots and lots of food! I love you guys so much and I am so blessed by the amazing friendships I share with each of you. Jen, Kel & Chels - we missed you lots and I plan on photoshopping you into the pics! ;)
Nanc & Bob - thank you so much for letting us invade the cottage for the weekend! We had a fabulous time and your lake definitely "sparkled" for us!
Trying to get a little color on that bald head of mine :)
Gorgeous sunset over Sage Lake
After arriving back home Sunday, my mom picked me up about 10 minutes later in order to head out to Aretee' Day Spa for the fundraiser that Diana organized. What an incredible job Diana did putting this together! My mom and I were treated to mini mani's and pedi's and massages - it was wonderful. I am sorry that I missed seeing most of you there earlier in the day, but thank you to everyone that came out to support us. A huge thank you to Diana, the Aretee' Day Spa, and all of the therapists and technicians that donated their time and amazing services!
I am so excited to head out to Ann Arbor on Saturday to cheer on my amazing friend Kyle as she bikes 30 miles for the Susan G. Komen Ride For A Cure. Kyle has been one of the most supportive and thoughtful friends throughout this entire journey, and cheering her on is the least I can do to say thank you. I am so proud of you, Kiki and I know you will do great! For anyone that wants to come support Kyle, please click here for more information, including a map of the route. The 30 mile ride starts at 11am at Forsythe Middle School located at 1655 Newport Rd, Ann Arbor, 48103.
Our last fundraiser for the 3 Day walk is this Friday at Royal Oak High School. Come join us at 7pm to workout, have fun, and raise some money so we can reach our $30,000 goal! We are almost there! All fitness levels welcome and if you are worried about making it through the entire workout - just come hang out with me on the sidelines!
I can't believe that the 3 Day is already next week! I am so excited for it but I will admit that I am a little nervous at the same time because I know it will be a very emotional weekend for me. I am so grateful to my wonderful friends that have decided to participate in this event and to all of you that want to come out that weekend to not only support them, but support me as well. I have put together a schedule of events for the weekend and would love to get the chance to cheer on the walkers with as many family and friends as possible. I apologize in advance if the small print is difficult to read - I had to fit it on one page. Feel free to email me if you would like me to send you this info in a word document.
Lots and lots of fun happenings coming up in the next couple of weeks - not to mention the fact that Brinley, Andy and baby Andrew get here next Wednesday! Then my wonderful college friends and sorority sisters, Melanie, Amanda and Liz will all be here for the 3 Day as well. I can't wait to see everyone soon!
My blog to keep you all