It's not quite the exciting package one hopes for that appeared on the front porch today. No fun new pair of shoes from Nordstrom or random gadget from Amazon. This package is filled with potential to cause a range of symptoms from nausea, vomitting, diarrhea, fatigue, low white blood cell counts and mouth sores...just to name a few. But, this small box of 21 capsules is also filled with hope, potential stability and the return of healthier days. The only thing I do know for sure is that this package is filled with a whole lot of uncertainty. And although I am used to living with a great deal of it, this time the unknown seems a bit scarier.
This new medication is one of two new drugs I will be starting this week. This oral medication is called Ibrance, and is also known by the generic name of Palbociclib. Ibrance is what is known as a "targeted therapy". In very simplified terms, targeted therapies aim to attack the cancer cells without harming the body's normal, healthy cells. Therefore, targeted therapies, while they come with their own list of side effects, aren't as toxic as traditional chemotherapy agents. Ibrance is a targeted drug that blocks proteins in the cancer cell which in turn helps prevent the cells from dividing to create new cancer cells.
I will be taking Ibance daily for 3 weeks, followed by 1 week off which will allow my body some time to recover and for my blood counts to bounce back up. Due to the high risk of my white and red blood cell counts dropping significantly, I will have blood work drawn every two weeks to make sure I am safe to continue on this treatment.
Not only does this week mark the start of Ibrance, but it will also be my first time receiving Faslodex. The drug has the generic name of Fulvestrant and is the intramuscular injection that I will receive every two weeks. The two of these drugs together have shown very promising results in recent studies. You could read about that here. Faslodex is known as an "estrogen receptor downregulator" which means it binds to the estrogen receptor site of cells and causes the receptors to break down, thereby preventing the normal cellular responsen to estrogen. This is important since my breast cancer is fed by estrogen. Even though I am in medically induced menopause, we want to make sure there isn't any other way these cancer cells can by fed by any stray estrongen that may be floating around.
I will receive my first injection of Faslodex on Thursday, along with my monthly injection of Zoladex that keeps my ovarian function supporessed. On Friday I will meet with a gynecological oncologist at Karmanos to discuss my surgery to have my ovaries removed.
Fingers crossed that I tolerate this treatment well with as minimal side effects as possible. And of course, that this treatment plan is successful! I have blood work next week to check how my counts are responding and will then see Dr. F the week after that to see how I am tolerating the treatment. It sounds like I will have scans in about 3 months to see how things are looking.
As always, thank you so much for the love and prayers. Please keep them coming!
ps - We just got back from a trip to California where I was invited to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Metastatic Breast Cancer Collateral Damage Project. I am really looking forward to sharing more about that soon. But until I have the energy to write that post, enjoy these little snapshots of my free day spent with Mike. :)
Night time used to be my favorite part of the day. The time when Mike and I would cozy up in bed together and I would half jokingly, but half seriously, prod him to tell me his "hopes and dreams" for the future. In a particularly funny voice, I would say it the same way every time, "Sooo....what are your hopes and dreams?" He would always laugh and roll his eyes at me and it became a silly game we would often play. But all joking aside, I loved those conversations about our dreams for the future....where would we want to live, what trips were we going to take, what did we want to name our kids. Mike has always had this incredible way of simply living in the moment and being completely content with that. While I have always been a planner and a dreamer. Not to say I wasn't content with where we were in that moment, but I loved dreaming of the future and what our life would look like. It's one of the most difficult things that cancer has taken from me.
I am grateful that after almost five years of living with this disease, I have learned how to plan and dream again. But it's simply not the same. I have to add little disclaimers to my hopes and dreams now when Mike and I talk about them...."If I make it to 40, let's do _______", or "let's go on that trip next year...if my scans are okay." Have you ever seen "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"? When I think and dream about the future, it's like a scene from that movie with these incredibly beautiful landscapes, bright and vivid colors....and then all of a sudden it's as if my dream balloon pops and I am struck in the face with the reality of living with an unpredictable disease, and my dreams turn to black and white, void of all the magic in that colorful fantasy world. No matter how hard I try, I cannot dream with the same reckless abandon that I once could.
Of course every situation has two sides to the story and I like to believe there is always a silver lining to be found. Over these last few years, I have come to appreciate living in the moment more than I ever did before. I have learned that I can still have dreams of the future, but instead of 10 or 20 years down the road, I talk to Mike about my dreams for next year and what we want our life to look like. I suppose it's all about learning how to handle the cards that are dealt to you. It reminds me of one of my very favorite quotes....
I am so grateful that many of my hopes and dreams have come to fruition over the last few years. And even more recently, a big one was a family vacation we all took to Mexico the day after Christmas. The older I get, the more I realize that we really don't need much to be happy in this life. All of the material possessions just don't do it for me anymore. I have the hardest time trying to give my family ideas for gifts for Christmas or birthdays. All we really need is to be surrounded by those we love and share experiences that bring us joy and memories we can hold onto.
I was so happy when my family agreed with me last year that rather than exchanging gifts for Christmas, we should take a family trip together. I don't think I had been on a vacation with my brother since I was in the 7th or 8th grade! We all left for Mexico the day after Christmas and not only celebrated the holiday there together, but Mike and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and we all rang in another new year! I am so grateful for this time together and it was a week I will cherish forever.
I have been feeling really well overall. Just dealing with some fatigue that seems to be worse lately and some aches and pains that truthfully probably have more to due with aging and having a physically demanding job. Can't blame everything on cancer I guess. ;) I am scheduled for another round of scans on Monday, March 13th and will get the results that Thursday, on St. Patrick's Day. I am taking that as a good omen for this Irish girl! And hey, if the results aren't good, at least I can drown my sorrows in some green beer, right?! :) Please keep us in your prayers at that time in particular, because I am still enjoying a very good quality of life on these current meds and truthfully, I am fearful that treatments down the road might not be so kind.
I am going to try to make more of an effort to keep up with the blog. Not only to share what has been going on with me, but also because it is a cathartic experience and I think it's important I make it a priority for myself. There are times when I am feeling down that it really helps me sort through my feelings, or look back on all I have been through in order to help give myself a little pep talk to keep on truckin'. I am also grateful it has served as a time capsule of sorts since this journey began and I want to make sure I contine that. I can't believe I only posted twice last year so hopefully I will take some time to document some of the great things that happened, like throwing out the first pitch at the Tigers Game! It was a pretty amazing experience!
So, now here I sit during my new favorite time of the day...the very early morning (of Saturday or Sunday in particular), before the sun rises. If I haven't run myself ragged the day before, I am able to crawl out of bed when Gracie wakes me at 6:00am. The house is dark, as is the entire neighborhood. After feeding the dogs, I start the fireplace and sit with a cup of coffee on the couch. This is the one time of the day where I allow myself to bask in the quiet, in the stillness that surrounds me, and be alone with my thoughts. It is in this time of the day that I enjoy the gift of another sunrise, another day full of hope and possibilities...and that in itself is enough...a dream that has already come true.
ps - Happy Valentine's Day to all of you...just an extra excuse to tell those you love just how much you appreciate them. Nothing better than that. So with that said, I hope you know how much I genuinely appreciate all of you who continue to be amazing friends and devoted family and those who keep us in our prayers even if you have never met us. Sending you lots of love today!
Well, a delayed "Happy New Year" seems to be in order. It's been a couple months since my last post and as I revisited my last entry, I am once again reminded of the roller coaster of emotions this disease is. But I suppose that's just life for all of us. It ebbs and flows, oscillating between the good times and the tougher times.
The new year started off perfectly while Mike and I continued our road trip throughout California. It was truly a trip of a lifetime and I am so incredibly grateful we decided to check this off our bucket list. We arrived in San Francisco the day after Christmas and explored for a few days before venturing through Carmel and Monterrey on our way to Big Sur. After a few phenomenal days there, we made our way down to Santa Barbara for some relaxing and wine tasting, then Pasadena for the Rose Bowl (pinch me!) and finally to San Diego for a few days! We couldn't believe that each day seemed to be even better than the last and that we packed a lifetime of memories into 9 days. It was incredible!
Here are a few of my favorite images I was able to capture with Canon 5D Mark iii ...
And since I didn't take my "big girl camera" into the Rose Bowl with me, here are a few iphone shots I caught during that incredible day!
The week after we returned home from California, my mom celebrated her retirement. Although I was so happy she was able to do this, it also meant that she would basically be moving down to Columbus to help care for my Aunt Bev. Since that time, my aunt has endured a lot. She has seemed to suffered complication after complication due to her ovarian cancer and has been in and out of the hospital since. She was recently stable enough to start chemo again but was once again hospitalized on Monday. Please keep her in your prayers so that she can get through this time and become healthy and strong once again.
As if all of that wasn't hard enough, my mom also suddenly lost one of her best friends of nearly 40 years. You might remember me talking about John & Paul and our visit to their vacation home in Florida here. Losing John was so tragic and unexpected - it sent all of us who loved him reeling. His funeral service in Michigan was just last Monday and was beautiful and heart breaking all at the same time.
Then just last Saturday, I attended yet another funeral service. This time it was for a dear, sweet friend who was part of my support group at Karmanos. My friend, Susan was kind, compassionate and courageous. She started her battle with metastatic breast cancer about a year before I did and we had come to be friends once I started our young women's group. The celebration of her life was beautiful, but of course it was especially difficult knowing she died from complications of the disease that I also live with. My heart breaks for her wonderful husband and children.
So the first couple of months of 2014 have definitely been trying at times, and reminders of how precious and fragile life is.
Despite all of that, I have been feeling really well - aside from being freezing cold all the time in this polar vortex. Thank God for the occasional hot flash, right?! I have really been enjoying work lately and have been treating a great group of patients, spending lots of time with family & friends, and enjoying the occasional lazy Sunday with Mike and Wrig just hibernating by the fire. I'm also grateful that I have been feeling stronger mentally and emotionally lately, especially so I can try to support others going through similar experiences. I can't tell you how often I receive emails, phone calls or facebook messages asking me to reach out to women who are newly diagnosed, or someone who has recently become metastatic. Or how often I receive emails from women who have somehow come across this blog and can relate and want to connect. Although I often feel guilty that I can't stay in close touch with everyone I hear from, I am grateful that I can try to be of some support to others as they experience a similar journey. However, with that gift, comes a price. I have lost more good friends than any 31 year old should ever have to experience, and each time I hear of another survivor going through a hard time - a treatment failing, a disturbing scan, or new side effects with negative impacts on quality of life - it is heart wrenching. After losing Genevieve, Lorri and Jen last year, it made me question whether or not I even wanted to reach out and become close with other women because it is so hard when I lose them. But, there is no way I could ever really do that. I would never turn my back on someone that needed a shoulder to lean or someone to talk to while they travel this road. And I would never want someone to treat me that way either - to give up on me during my hour of need because it was "too hard". I have had a few people pull away from me after my diagnosis and it just hurts. I tried not to take it personally and realize it was just that they didn't know how to cope with what I was going through - but it's painful none the less. I am really grateful for a close group of friends that I have who are all young women in their 30's living with metastatic breast cancer. I am grateful for their love, guidance and the support we all give to each other on what sometimes is a daily basis. Please always continue to show your love and support to someone who is ill or struggling, or who might seem fine but deals with chronic illness - you might never know what a positive impact that can have on them.
I hope everyone is surviving the longest, coldest winter EVER! I know all of us around here in Michigan are definitely ready for it to be over. I am so excited we are almost to March, which means that spring will be around the corner. I can't wait to open windows, see green grass and enjoy my beautiful backyard.
Thanks for all the love and support. Thank you to those of you who I may have never met but come across the blog somehow and reach out. I wish I could respond to every comment and message. Each one means so much.
I'll post an update again after I see Dr. F on March 13 - which will hopefully be a pretty uneventful visit.
How is it that time just passes in the blink of an eye? All of a sudden, here we are at the end of another year. It never ceases to amaze me at how fast life continues to roll on - no matter what we are dealing with. I suppose that is a good thing in many ways. It helps drag us along during those tough times, until finally we can feel the weight start to lift and the sun shine on better days.
As I sit here reflecting on this year, I feel such a mix of emotions and thoughts - all of which culminate to one overriding message. Perseverance.
The year has been filled with many up's and down's - which is true for all of us - although especially lately, it seems like the lows have been more frequent and deeper to crawl out of. We have had many blessings including a new home, continued good scans, and countless great memories with family and friends. But, this year has also brought many challenges for us emotionally which have tested our faith and trust in the greater plan that God has for us.
The past few months have been the most challenging for me emotionally since my initial diagnosis. Due to a variety of issues, I hit a new low and struggled to even find the joy in each day. For the first time, I truly wondered if I was being punished for something. I felt an overwhelming sense that we were continually knocked down and made to endure heartache after heartache, while it seemed like others around us, received abundant blessings and joy. It is a very dark and lonely place to be.
As I have worked through these times, I have simply resigned myself to the fact that our lives will forever be filled with pain and heartache. Living with this disease has impacted our lives in countless ways, many of which I am just now starting to fully understand and experience. The continued physical toll is heavy, but the emotional toll is often times unbearable. I have recently felt as though this can turn you into a pretty selfish person - focusing on how hard you have it - how sad you may feel - how your future will never look like what you always thought it would. I fell down a slippery slope of sadness and guilt and failed to see how I was pulling Mike down right along with me.
The one positive aspect of hitting your own personal rock bottom, is that you have no choice but to go up. To make the slow climb out of the darkness and back into the light. It allows you to take time to reflect, to evaluate, and to reset your life's compass back on the path that you would most like to travel.
I share these personal struggles not only as a cathartic tool, but to also help remind myself that it is okay if I am not able to feel grateful, positive and optimistic 100% of the time. I have struggled with guilt and feeling like a fraud when I experience these tough times because so many of you always think of me as being so happy and positive. I am trying to release myself of these chains that bind me to the sense that because I am alive, I must be grateful at all costs - because I have lost friends that would trade places with me in a heartbeat. I am learning that because I have been able to stay in remission, doesn't mean the collateral damage of this disease will leave me - and that it's okay and perfectly human to have moments of despair, sadness and even self pity. Yes, I am so grateful - for so much - but this life is also very difficult at times - more difficult than I would have ever imagined.
Life is about perseverance. It is about riding the waves of the good times, but being able to pick yourself back up when you get knocked down with your face in the sand. It's learning how to brush yourself off and get back out there to try to ride that wave of happiness once again. Because in the end, those moments of pure joy are worth every second of despair and defeat that may be encountered along the way.
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Seems like I have sand and surf on the brain, huh? :) Well, that's because Mike and I are leaving for California the day after Christmas. To say that I am excited, is definitely an understatement. We have wanted to take this trip and venture along the Pacific Coast Highway for years and I am so glad we are taking the time to do it. That is one gift that living with disease can give. It makes you realize that there is no sense putting off your hopes and dreams if you have the ability to make them a reality. Do it today. Do it now. We never know what tomorrow will bring. We need this time away together so badly and I cannot wait to see the ocean, and the Redwoods and watch the sunset with Mike by my side.
Not only will we be celebrating our 6th anniversary on this trip, and New Years Eve, but we will be celebrating another round of great scans! I saw Dr. F last week and found out that everything still looks great! He is very please and so are we - to say the least! I will continue with my current meds and 6 month scans - no need to change course. Thank you all so very much for your prayers and support. Going through those tests is such an anxiety ridden time, and your loving words of hope and encouragement mean so much to us.
Thank you for loving us and supporting us along this journey. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your nearest and dearest. We look forward to great things in 2014. See you in the New Year!
Can't wait to share our images from California in the next post. Until then, a few iphone pics of my beautiful friends, family, pup and yard. :)
It's often quite overwhelming and daunting to think about how much can go on in the span of a couple weeks....how many emotions I go through...how many highs and lows there are...and how my the status of my health can change.
The past few weeks have been nothing short of exhausting and overwhelming. There are times when I want to share with you all what has been going on but I don't even know where to start, and it makes me feel exhausted just thinking about trying to catch everyone up to speed. I apologize for that because I know you are all waiting for updates and want to know how things are going. Prior to my last post about the loss of my uncle, I was prepared to tell you about my trip to Vegas for my friend Nikki's wedding. It was great to see my old college roomies and have a few days of R & R - although I actually got a little extra time than I bargained for since I accidentally booked my flight home on the wrong day. :) So, I got a little extra fun in the sun and enjoyed not only the warm desert air and sunshine, but laughs with friends, good food, a great Cirque du Soleil show and even won a few bucks! I am grateful for feeling well enough to travel and spend time with friends!
After I got home from Las Vegas, it was back to full blown busy mode with 2 or 3 photo sessions each week, an amazing acoustic Ben Harper concert in Ann Arbor with Mike, doctors appointments & my monthly injections, support group meetings, and a fun fall baking day with girlfriends.
The past week or two so has been an especially difficult one for me. Of course, it all stems from the loss of my Uncle Kevin and all of the emotions that brings. Then last Wednesday, Mike and I were invited to an impromptu small dinner with Ambassador Nancy Brinker - the founder and CEO of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. My local Komen affiliate has been wonderful about listening to my concerns regarding how isolated the metastatic breast cancer community often feels in the midst of all the Komen events and fundraisers. I will write a more in depth post on this another time but the meeting was my opportunity to voice my concerns and opinions to Ambassador Brinker herself - and that's exactly what I did. I would say that dinner went well but it was the start of another emotional few days for me involving a lot of talk about cancer, cancer, cancer.
The following day, Mike and I left straight from work to be with my family in Grand Rapids as we prepared to lay my Uncle Kevin to rest. Thursday night and Friday were spent remembering what an amazing guy he was and what a great impact he had on so many people. As I said before, these things are even more difficult for me now that I am living with this disease. It makes me wonder - what songs will be at my service? Who will speak? Is this how my family will be talking about me? I am thankful that Mike lets me be free to talk about whatever I need to, at any time. So, as we left Grand Rapids and drove to Chicago, we talked a little bit about my funeral. No, I am not dying - and I don't plan on heading that way for a very long time. But the reality of this disease forces us to discuss these things sometimes. And contrary to what you may think, it actually makes me feel better to talk about it. It doesn't help when someone says, "don't talk about that" or "that's not going to happen". Let us talk about it because the thoughts go on in our minds anyways and if we are free to discuss it, it lifts some of that weight off of our shoulders. ("Our", as in those of us living with metastatic breast cancer and other incurable diseases.)
We arrived to Chicago on Friday night and I was looking forward to just relaxing with our good friends Beth & Ben - and that's just what we did. We were not only in Chicago to visit our friends, but we went so that I could attend the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network's Annual Conference. Although, it was great to meet up with some of my friends living with MBC, the conference was difficult for me emotionally. I think I will talk about it more in my next post, but let's just say I was hoping to feel encouraged, uplifted and empowered and instead, I left feeling emotionally exhausted, frustrated and very sad.
First thing on Monday morning, I found myself back in my plastic surgeon's office. Haven't had the chance to tell you guys, but the swelling in my left breast returned a few weeks ago. I know Dr. M told me that if the swelling ever came back, surgery was inevitable. Well, after discussing the issue once again, asking more questions, and shedding a few tears - I left my appointment with surgery on the books, as well as a decreased sense of confidence that this will be the last of these problems. Of course, I trust Dr. M very much, but there is just no telling what will happen after he opens me back up. He will be removing the mesh tissue that we think is causing all of the problems. He will also remove the implant and replace it with a new one. Not only am I worried about the usual side effects from surgery - infection, pain, and the fatigue that it brings over me - but I am worried about what will happen once that mesh is removed. I obviously needed that mesh the first time around because my skin wasn't strong enough to support the implant on it's own. I am now praying that somehow I will be able to successfully support the implant without the mesh, because if I cannot, it means more complications and more surgeries down the road.
I know that this is nothing major in the scheme of things and that things could be WAY worse. I get that -believe me, I do. But, for the first time last week, I finally hit a point where I just didn't want to try to find the silver lining. I didn't want to have a pity party, but I just wanted to be able to feel sad and discouraged and know that it was justified to feel that way for a little bit. I began to question many of my decisions. Did I do the right thing by having the left breast removed? Should I have just dealt with the mastectomy and foregone the reconstruction? Am I causing my body more harm than good in the long run by going through all of these surgeries and procedures? Once I let myself ask these questions, express these emotions, and work through my feelings, I felt better and could get on with my day.
So, surgery is now scheduled for November 20th - if I told you a later date, that's because there was an earlier opening so they are getting me in a little sooner. Please pray that everything goes very well and that my body can sustain this reconstruction without the mesh, and without further surgeries and complications.
Thanks for your constant love and prayers.
As much as I love my doctors and modern medicine, I have to truly give thanks to the big guy upstairs for this latest news. Thank you God for hearing all of our prayers and allowing these steroids to do their job so that I could avoid surgery! My prayers - and all of your prayers - have been answered and I couldn't be more grateful. Surgery has officially been cancelled!
I called Dr. M's office last week and asked if I could move up my appointment from next Monday to today because I really needed to know if I was headed to the operating room or not. I was done with my course of steroids last week and could tell that they obviously helped decrease the swelling but wasn't sure it was enough for Dr. M to think that we could cancel surgery. Well, I saw him first thing this morning at 8am and he was extremely pleased with my response to the meds. He said all along that he really didn't want to have to operate on me and it posed all sorts of potential problems to go back in and open me up. So, when he saw me today he was very happy and said that the risks of the surgery don't outweigh the benefits right now. He said that there is a 90% chance that the steroids have calmed things down enough that my body won't have any other reactions to this mesh device he implanted. On the other hand, if it flares up again and I notice more swelling, I definitely have to have the surgery. But, we will cross that bridge when (and if) we come to it. As for today, I am just rejoicing in this good news and thanking God for giving me the break that I so desperately was praying for. I know I could have handled the surgery but I was definitely praying that it wouldn't be necessary. Now I will pray that my body starts to accept this mesh tissue as it's own and that no future problems arise.
These last few weeks have been filled with many tough moments for Mike and I. Any time something like this comes up with my health it reminds us of the demon we are fighting. Not that we ever truly forget but we got back into the rhythm of our busy lives and started planning for the future and didn't let this disease dictate each and every move. All of that comes to a screeching halt when a complication arises. This latest course of events brought a lot of emotions, fear and worry back to the forefront of our minds. It reminded us yet again that the future is unknown - for all of us. It reminded us that we need to be thankful for each and every day because we don't know what is ahead around the next corner. It reminded us that although we can try to plan and set goals for the future, this disease has the potential to rear it's ugly head and interrupt our lives at any given moment - and that is a hard pill to swallow. As much as I feel like I have handled this roller coaster pretty well since March 23, 2011 - there are many moments along the way where the sadness and despair could easily take me over.
I truly thank God for Mike every single day for riding this storm out with me and for being there for me in my darkest hours. I truly don't know how he does it - how he holds it all together for me - how he watches me break down and then he ever so gently puts the pieces back together and makes me feel whole again. In my heart I know that we were put on this Earth to be together and that if I have him, I can make it through anything. Mike - I love you through the depths of my soul in a way I never even knew possible until my ability to grow old with you was threatened to be taken from me. You are the light through this darkness and it is because of you that I can see my way to brighter days.
Thank you to everyone that has kept me in their prayers. I am so, so grateful for each and every one of you and so blessed to have the amazing support system that I have.
I am off to Vegas this Thursday to celebrate my college roomie, Nikki's wedding! I am so excited to spend the weekend with my Miami ladies and now I feel like I have even more cause to celebrate. Watch out Vegas---here I come!
One of my very best friends (thank you, Meg!) encouraged me to sign up for these daily inspirational and uplifting emails back when I was first diagnosed. Some days they are about relationship drama or working out issues with friends, or something that doesn't necessarily apply to me. But, more often than not, I feel like the messages couldn't be more fitting and this one in particular really resonated with me this weekend. I think it is something we could all strive to be better at. I know I will refer to it often as I continue to ride out this roller coaster....
I have to start off by giving a huge, "Thank You!" to all of you that have helped rally around us and boost my spirits lately. Since I shared the last blog post, I have received so many thoughtful cards, messages, and calls from friends and family. I can't tell you how much that means to Mike and I - and how it does truly help us remember how many people are praying for us and how many of you want to help us in any way you can. I truly, truly appreciate it so much and don't know what I would do without the incredible support system that we are so blessed to have!
We have been so busy lately trying to juggle my work schedule, many photography gigs, Mike's strength and conditioning camps that he is running, taking care of the pup and the house, managing medical billing errors and paperwork, maintaining our healthy diets, getting enough sleep, and trying to make time to just relax and enjoy the summer with friends and family. I really make an effort to try my best to not stress about things like I used to. So what if the house is a little messy - or if my laundry has piled up to the ceiling - or if I fell behind on my paperwork at the clinic. Who cares! None of it is the end of the world and all that important in the scheme of things. I know that when I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I carry it throughout my entire body. My shoulders and upper traps feel tense and painful, my back aches, my stomach is upset, and I get a headache. Not only do I feel bad physically and mentally when I am stressed, but there are many, many published studies that document the damaging effects that stress can have on a body that is already fighting cancer - especially a hormonally driven cancer, such as mine. High levels of cortisol (the hormone that sky rockets when your body is stressed) leads to such problems as impaired cognitive performance, suppressed thyroid function, blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia, decreased bone density, decreased muscle tissue, higher blood pressure, and lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body --which we all know are two huge things that I need to avoid in order to stay healthy. So bottom line is, we all need to let go of the stress. It's so harmful to our bodies and our spirits.
Speaking of letting go of the stress, I was so grateful that we had a little mini vacation last weekend and spent a few days up north in Traverse City. It was so relaxing and fun - and the farthest thing from stressful. Interestingly enough, I experienced no back pain! We were there to celebrate our friend Erin's wedding (which was beautiful!), and it was also nice to have some extra time to just enjoy each other and our friends, and to explore a part of the state that we absolutely love!
A few more fun pics I captured via Instagram on my phone...
This weekend we will be celebrating my cousin Devon's wedding and I am looking forward to some fun family time! Next week brings my scans which of course is always an anxiety ridden time but I am trying my best to not get myself too worked up about it. We would especially appreciate your continued prayers during that time.
If I could also make one more prayer request - my Aunt Helen suffered a terrible accident on Monday of this week. She is now in a coma after having half of her skull removed due to severe swelling and bleeding in her brain. The doctors said that it was too late but she is a fighter and still hanging on. Please keep her and my family in your prayers. Thank you very much!
I also wanted to share a few quick notes about the 3 Day for the Cure which is coming up on August 17! My friends have organized a few fundraisers that I wanted to tell you all about. There will be a Zumba fundraiser at Royal Oak High School on Friday, July 13. If you were there last year, you know how much fun this is!
The team will also be hosting a garage sale at Becca's house on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15 from 8am-3pm. We will be selling all sorts of good stuff - including great furniture and gently worn clothes. All proceeds will go directly to the 3 Day team's fundraising efforts. Becca's address is 367 East Saratoga, in Ferndale.
We are also selling some great items for the kiddos in honor of breast cancer awareness. There are onesies, t-shirts, and bibs available with all proceeds going towards the 3 Day as well. Shirts and onesies are $15 and bibs are $10. Many sizes available. Comment below with your contact info or message me if you are interested in placing an order.
Hope everyone is having a great week!
My blog to keep you all