Big birthday celebrations are not really his thing. He hates to be the center of attention and never seeks out the limelight. But on this one day of the year, my fabulous husband begrudgingly allows me to spoil him and give him some extra special attention, which he most definitely deserves. Mike would not be a happy camper if I went on and on about how much I adore him, how much he means to me, and what an impact he has had on my life over the last 12 years...see above sentence regarding his discomfort with extra attention. ;) And with my gift of gab, you all know what I really want to do is just that...write sentence after sentence after how incredible he really is. But the thing is, I don't even need to do that. Most of you that are following our journey, know Mike personally...and to know him, is truly to love him. Period. So, as one last birthday gift to my amazing husband, I will not gush about him - I will simply say that we had a wonderful time last Thursday celebrating his birthday. We had a very special and meaningful day together reminiscing about the past, dreaming of the future, and enjoying time with our family and friends. Happy birthday to my very best friend - can't wait to celebrate many more together!
The time has now come to round up the troops in order to bombard the heavens with prayers and good vibes. A CT scan of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis is scheduled for first thing tomorrow morning. Then on Tuesday morning I have an MRI of my thoracic spine followed by a full body bone scan. This is the first time I will have these scans done since I was diagnosed back in March. I have been so busy lately that it doesn't seem like I have had too much time to worry about these tests. But, I am wondering if subconsciously, I am more stressed about it than I thought. For the past week or two, I have been waking up at least 4 times each night, and have had difficulty sleeping for more than 2 hour increments. I wake up in the morning feeling like a zombie, with a sore jaw on top of that from grinding and clinching my teeth. I am really hoping that it's just due to anxiety and it will resolve after these scans are completed.
Repeating these tests is obviously scary, stressful, and overwhelming for a lot of reasons - one of which is because it brings me right back to the first few days and weeks of this entire ordeal. What a terrifying time that was for us. This time around I know what to expect, which definitely helps - but I don't think the fear and worry will ever go away. For the rest of my life I will be monitored by scans, tests and blood work and the truth is that as positive as I may be, I will always be terrified of what could happen. The reality is that things could always be worse, the scans could always show progression, and we could once again be faced with devastating news. I pray this is not the case, but I feel that preparing for the worst has helped me deal with whatever may come my way.
Early on in this journey, Dr. F explained to us that because my cancer is driven by estrogen, the hormone therapy I start after chemo will actually be my best weapon against this disease. Although we all agreed to start with chemo to try to contain the spread of the disease systemically, it is actually the hormone therapy I will start next that we will expect the greatest results from. With that said, we are prepared that these scans may not show any big changes since chemo started. And that is okay! The key is that we don't want to see any spread of the disease. If I have remained stable, that is good news to us - and if there does show a decrease in the tumor size or spread, that is icing on the cake!
I will finish (yes, I said FINISH!!!!) chemo this Thursday, September 1. I can't believe how fast these 15 rounds have flown by. I have some mixed emotions about wrapping up with chemo - it is my routine now, I know what to expect, I feel comfortable there, I know how I will feel afterwards, I know everyone and everyone knows me. But, I also know that it's time to move on to the next hurdle and get on with the show.
We leave for Florida with Mom and Doug super early on Friday morning. Yay! Our wonderful friends, John and Paul have invited us to spend Labor Day weekend at their beautiful home in Fort Lauderdale. We are definitely excited for an "end of chemo celebration" which will include sunshine, sandy beaches, and visiting with lots of friends! Not only will we get to stay with John and Paul but we will see one of my mom's best friends, Sally - one of our biggest cheerleaders and supporters! Then later in the weekend, we are meeting up with Brin, Andy and Andrew again!!! We are meeting them in West Palm Beach, along with Brin's wonderful parents, and I am so happy we get to see them again so soon. I am really looking forward to a little getaway to mark the end of a huge chapter of this journey.
Next week will bring the official start to the school year and Mike will be back at work full time. I know we are both a little nervous about it, but I am confident it will all work out just fine and I will be okay fending for myself at home. :) Mike is such an incredible teacher and he absolutely loves his job, so I am happy that he will be back in the classroom. I am so grateful to the Waterford Kettering administration and staff for being so amazing and allowing me to have my husband with me each and every day these past five months - I don't know what I would have done without him there with me and I am so appreciative to each of you that allowed that to be a reality for us.
A week from Thursday (on September 8), we will go see Dr. F to find out the results of this weeks tests. That will be a major appointment where we will discuss the next part of our game plan and figure out where we go from here. I am definitely having surgery, but there are also a lot of other treatments we may begin right away in the form of oral medications. Later that afternoon, I will also go see Dr. B at Beaumont to discuss final surgery plans and hopefully set the date for my mastectomy.
Wow, just typing all of that makes me feel exhausted - let alone going through it. Please keep me in your prayers this week - if you do already, maybe you could throw in a few extras. Please pray that the 4+ months of chemotherapy have stabilized this disease, that my healthy cells have continued to fight, and that my bones have remained strong and stable. Please pray that my incredible doctors and medical team continue to seek the most comprehensive and aggressive treatments available, that they are able to guide us along a healing path, and that they continue to push for more research and discovery for metastatic disease. Please pray that my family and I are able to ease our minds, calm our fears, and stay positive and hopeful throughout the many days of waiting for my test results.
I will definitely update everyone next week after our appointments. Until then, I want to pass along a moving and inspirational short film to all of you. It was shared with me by an amazing woman I have met that is also battling metastatic breast cancer. It is a powerful message regarding living with metastatic disease and I plan on playing it over and over again when I need a little boost. Please click here to read a short interview with the film's creator, and be sure to watch the 15 minute movie at the bottom of the page when you have time.
Have a great week and a happy Labor Day celebration. A special congratulations to my friend, Stacy! Sorry we are missing your big day - can't wait to see pictures. You will be a beautiful bride!
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