Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Life After Stage 4 Cancer...My New Normal

September 11 took on a new meaning for me last year.
As the country remembered the horrific events and fallen heroes from 2001,
I was given the most exciting news...I was cancer free!

My oncologist was cautious, as she always is, but I was elated!
No evidence of disease, or NED.
It's as close to remission as a stage 4 patient will ever get.
Although, they can't detect any cancer in me with all their tests and scans,
there could still be microparticles too small to see.

Because of this, I will always be in treatment, but no more chemo for now!
I will receive the drug Herceptin by IV every 3 weeks.
The hardest part is finding a vein.
It is extremely painful, despite my best efforts 
to stay hydrated and pump up my veins before infusion.
I have become very good at NOT screaming.
I kind of have a reputation.
But I can take a few minutes of pain, as I have no side effects from this drug!
I get an echocardiogram every 3 months 
to make sure my heart is not damaged from the Herceptin treatment.
They will also scan my body every year 
and do blood work every 3 months to check for growth.

I also take an oral drug daily, and receive a shot in my belly once a month.
The needle is HUGE!
Every time they stick it in my belly, I think I'm going to spring a leak!
These keep me in chemically induced menopause.
Hooray for no periods, but boohoo on the hot flashes!
My cancer is estrogen fed, and so every effort is made to suppress it.
The side effects from these have been mild too; so blessed!

In October we took the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii!
I researched for months and made a list of everything I wanted to do and taste!
We had never been, and it was a dream come true to be in that beautiful place.
We swam with sea turtles, saw countless rainbows, and ate amazing food!
I want to go back every day!
We are so appreciative of all the wonderful bloggers 
who contributed money to make our trip extra special!
We are the luckiest!

As I approach the second anniversary of diagnosis,
and the year mark of the regrowth,
I am super, super excited to begin this year with no cancer!
This will be the first year since 2013 
that I will be able to celebrate my birthday without chemo 
and eat all the berries without food restrictions!
My 40th celebration will be epic!!!

I have a new appreciation for a whole, well body.
I still marvel when I do my hair without clumps falling out.
I can climb the stairs again without aching legs, well, one flight anyway.
I have been blessed with a doctor who meticulously walks the tightrope of treatment, 
carefully evaluating what will be the most effective and least harmful.

I do not take for granted the miracle of survival.
I know the fragility of life and the blessing of each day.
It is a new normal, but still so wonderful.



Cam B said...

I love how you find the positive in everything! Here's hoping another trip to Hawaii in the near future! So so happy for you friend. You deserve every bit of good health and happiness! xoxo

Maribel Reyes said...

This is the best news! I'm so happy you're cancer free and I'm sure your 40th birthday celebration will be epic. Since your diagnosis you've shared every detail with us and I thank you for including us, you've given hope to so many women diagnosed with cancer and also reminded us to always be positive and thankful and always have faith.

Lisa Robertson said...

You inspire me and give me hope. One of my friends (only 45 years old with three kids--one in preschool, one in middle school and one in high school) was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (she has never smoked) that has metastasis to the brain. I have told her story over and over as a symbol of hope. Thank you for continuing to be an example of strength!

Organized Island said...

So happy to hear the great news Jaime! You are an amazing inspiration!! Happy New Year! XO

Kyla Armstrong said...

Woohoo!!! So thankful for fab doctors, drugs that work and a cancer free 40th birthday!!!! Love you!

Lisa@hooplapalooza said...

WOW! what a wonderful light you are for all!!! God bless :>D

Kelly Prososki said...

what great news!

ana@carpe_diem said...

Great news, indeed! I sm so happy for you. I know it was horrible for you and very hard for your family, so now is time for you to relax and have normal life again. Have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Good site.

De Gulle Aarde said...

Very good news, loved reading it! Greetings from the Netherlands/

Trece said...

I am thrilled that NED is in the house!! I continue to pray for you daily, and rejoice with you at this good news!!


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