Monday, December 21, 2015

RIP Adrienne

Adrienne was one of the first pregnant with cancer survivors who reached out to me after I was diagnosed. She had been diagnosed just a few months before me and was following the same road. Even in the young breast cancer world we were oddities -- pregnant, triple negative sub-type. She texted me pictures of her bald head and talked with me on the phone as I was making decisions about surgery.

Like me, after chemo her double mastectomy showed that she had a PCR (complete response = no living cancer left).

When she got her healthy baby and her PCR I thought "of course she did." She just seemed like one of those people who things worked just out for. Her beautiful smile, cheerful attitude, and strength could conquer the world. In my mind, she was just one of those people

But less than one year later she found out the cancer was back in her liver. Stage IV. Mets. "Incurable."

I couldn't believe it. I was floored. She was supposed to be untouchable. The quintessential survivor. So then I just imagined she would be the 1 out of 10,000 that beat mets.

Over the past 1.5 years I saw her health have ups and downs but recently more downs. And on Saturday, Adrienne went to be with Jesus.

She didn't "lose her battle" because she fought like hell and metastatic TNBC killed her.

My heart is broken. I miss her beautiful smile on my Facebook feed. I miss chatting with her in our Kick Ass Cancer Mamas group. I hurt so bad for her sweet chemo baby, Kellen who is just a month older than Elise. No two year old should have to be without their mama. I cry every time I think about him.

RIP Adrienne. Heaven gained one amazing girl this weekend. But you are dearly missed on earth.

Here is as touching news story about Adrienne -- her life and death.

And if Adrienne's story has touched you and your feel compelled to donate, you can donate to her non-profit, Adrienne's Army.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Healthy but Broken

Let me start at the end of the story and work my way back -- Today I'm healthy and don't have any cancer recurrence that I know of.

But I've been on a physical and emotional rollercoaster over the past six weeks. One that's still has me a bit shaken.

It started in late October when I tripped and fell in the stands at Qualcomm stadium and broke my rib. I spent two weeks in a lot of pain wondering if it was hurting so bad because of a bone metastasis. I started to go to a very dark place mentally. Finally I got a x-ray which showed a clean break and no evidence of metastatic disease to the bone. No cancer, just clumsy.

Then shortly after that x-ray I got a cold and then cough that got worse and worse. My oncologist listened to my right lung and said he was pretty sure that the cold plus the broken rib caused me to get walking pneumonia. Often when you have a broken rib you don't take deep breaths, so it makes you more susceptible to pneumonia. I took a good course of antibiotics and I'm no longer coughing or wheezing. Praise the Lord.

Also in the past six weeks I've seen on social media that THREE of the moms from my pregnant with breast cancer group have had a recurrence. They were all diagnosed in the months right before I was. But the one that hit me hardest is Jamie. She was diagnosed with TNBC six months before me, also while pregnant. We met on a milk sharing site (Eats on Feets) and she offered to talk to me on the phone since she'd just been though treatment. She was one of the first mamas that I talked to about the pregnant with cancer experience. She recently reached the 3 years NED mark, but then found out last month that her cancer is back in several places. My heart hurts so bad for her and her two small kids. If you're the praying type, please pray for her.

I want so badly to be "over" cancer, and move on with my life. So often I can trick myself into thinking I am, and then a recurrence scare sets me off and it becomes clear that cancer has left me broken and afraid. I was actually starting to feel so confident in my future that I was considering removing my IUD this month. But the past six weeks made me realize that I'm not ready to deal all the strange physical symptoms and stress that a pregnancy would bring (if I even could get pregnant). And maybe I never will be. I beginning to think more and more that I should just be happy with my one miracle baby and not tempt fate.