PET Scan Results Are In

Just wanted to let everyone know that there was some good news today....PET was negative! Thank you all for the prayers and healthy thoughts, it really helped.

Dissapointing News


Not writing much because i just got home from surgery & very groggy with a ton of pain. As I wrote before we were going to try to remove these awful stents this time. When Dr. K tested to be sure that my ureters would drain on their own there was absolutely no draining going on at all. So, the stents went back in which really sucks! Im in a lot of pain and pretty dissapointed. Next we are going to take out the left Kidney. This will probably happen sometime this year.

I'll be writing more later.

Birthday Card From Bryan

I got a wonderful B-day card from my boyfriend, Bryan. Its all black with write writing:

"To LAUGH often and much, to win the RESPECT of INTELLIGENT people and the AFFECTION of children, to earn the APPRECIATION of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to APPRECIATE BEAUTY, to find the BEST in others, to leave the WORLD a bit BETTER, whether by a HEALTHY child, a GARDEN patch...to know even one life has BREATHED easier because you have LIVED. This is to have SUCCEEDED! " -Emerson

What a great card and great words!

Surgery Is Soon

* Picture of a butterfly that I took at the Boston Science Museum.

Tomorrow is my 31st Birthday and then Monday is the big surgery! If this surgery is successful that means I will be that much closer to being "normal" and recovering from my cancer. Let me explain....

I was misdiagnosed for a while. At first I misdiagnosed myself. I had spotting for about 8 months but thought it was simply stress. Law school was certainly stressful as was the day to day life as a young adult. Unfortunately I ignored the bleeding.

Then the pain began about 8 months into the spotting. A sharp pain in my left side, kinda like runners cramp. To help with the pain I took tylenol and eventually I was taking about 20 a day. The pain increased as did the bleeding. Finally I went to the doctor.

The first doctor actually gave me the correct diagnosis but I just couldn't believe it. Cancer....No way I thought. And that is what everyone else said too when i told them what the doctor had said. So, I got a second opinion.

The second opinion said no cancer. The PAP from the first doctor also came back negative for cancer. So I kept on going to school and trying to live life but the pain and blood kept on increasing. Finally I was bleeding so much I couldn't leave the house and the pain was so bad I stopped sleeping. Thats when I got a third opinion.

The third doctor said I was just extremely stressed. He gave me sleeping pills and psychotropic medication. Still I couldn't sleep.

Finally I brought myself to the ER, it had been 2 months since my first doctor appointment. At last I got a CT scan and the findings were not good. I did have a tumor and it was crushing my ureters which caused both my kidneys to swell. My left kidney had actually ripped open and the fluid was spilling into my gut. In short, I was dying.

The chemo, radiation and surgeries were successful and I am now cancer free. BUT, my ureters and kidney are still not well. I have stints in my ureters to keep them open, allowing fluid to flow freely from my kidney to my bladder. Unfortunately the stents are very painful and require surgery every three months. My previous doctor said that this was how I would live the rest of my life. However, my new doctor thinks the stents can be removed. If the surgery is not successful then the kidney is coming out.

We did try something like this last year and it was not successful. They took out 1 stent but I became very ill a few months later and they had to put it back in. Now we are taking BOTH out, im pretty nervous.

I will let everyone know how it works out and what my PET scan results are. Fingers crossed :)

#9 on Top 30 Inspirational Cancer Survivor Blogs


I just got an email letting me know I was listed as one of the Top 30 Inspiration Cancer Survivor Blogs. #1 is Jonathan's Blog, which I wrote about a few posts back. I really think everyone should take a couple minutes to check out these blogs. Its a wonderful thing when those struck by cancer use their experience in a positive, life inspiring way!

Click Here To Check All 30 Out

Having a Blast!

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple days. Bryan and I have been touring around Boston and its been a blast. We did the freedom trail and walked 7 miles on Saturday. I was shocked that I was physically able to do it, great sign. We have done literally everything you can think of during our visit to Boston and its been so much fun. Its a bit on the chilly side but nothing we can't handle. Here are some pics of our trip:








My First Blog Video

I have decided to start adding some video's to my blog. Watch and let me know what you think.



video

Hate Cancer and Love coffee



Just wanted to remind everyone that Bryan and I also have a coffee site where we sell gourmet coffee and fight cancer. There is a tab called "Charity Coffee". If you drink coffee and hate cancer please think of purchasing one of the coffee's under Charity Coffee. You can click on the coffee's listed there to see what cancer fighting charity proceeds will go to.

While we love fighting cancer and selling coffee things have been very slow at Get The Bean. We want to keep raising money to fight cancer but with the slowed economy and super slow business we may be shutting our doors down. So, please think of us when you go out to purchase coffee from one of the big chains. Our coffee is delicious and we raise money to battle cancer, could it get any better.

Visit Get The Bean by CLICKING HERE

"Dear Zachary" An Amazing Documentary

Heart wrenching, warming and inspiring! This is an amazing documentary. At first I was not interested in watching it but it just kept popping up on my Netflix so today I just hit play.

I would LOVE if some of you would watch this documentary so that we can discuss. Its just such an amazing piece.

If you have a netflix membership you can watch it instantly on your laptop. If not please go out and rent it. This is a story that should be heard.

www.dearzachary.com

Newly Diagnosed With Cancer...Read This!




I've mentioned the magazine CURE before. Its a great magazine/journal for those fighting cancer, surviving, supporting or care giving. There are countless articles with information on medical breakthroughs, suggestions on how to deal with difficult recovery, steps to take when newly diagnosed etc....

This magazine is FREE for those who have been touched by cancer. I signed up for it several months ago and was very impressed when I received my first copy. If you are interested just visit their website and sign up, its easy. www.curetoday.com

An article that I would like to discuss in this post is entitled "Dealing With Emotions, How to recognize normal reactions at diagnosis and when you need help" This is a great article for those who are newly diagnosed. The article talks about 3 stages: initial response, distress and adjustment.

For me being diagnosed with cancer was a relief at first. I had gone so long not knowing what was wrong and being told I was "crazy". Now that I knew I was sick and that I was not alone relief set in. But after the initial Shock and response I experienced I didn't know what to feel. I knew that I was suppose to feel something but I just didn't know what or how. I still feel this way and that is one of the reasons why I blog. To put my feelings out there and see if others feel the same.

This article talks about the many emotions that come along with a cancer diagnosis including, anxiety, depression, positive thinking and guilt. I have to say that a lot of the article is spot on. Guilt was one feeling I had and still have a lot but not something I would have expected.

ANXIETY:

This is one of the first emotions discussed in the article. For most people when they are first diagnosed they are given options. You get to help decide what treatments you will have, what hospital you will go to, when you will start etc...This is a lot of pressure and you don't have all the time in the world to make these decisions. How can you help but feel anxiety and stress. The article suggests you educate yourself on the type of cancer you have been diagnosed with, the types of treatments available and what hospitals and doctors available.

Personally I skipped this step. When I was diagnosed I was pretty far gone and there were no decisions left up to me. I was flown to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and they, along with my parents, decided which treatments were best. We got started right away as time was of the essence. One concern for me that did cause anxiety was wanting to harvest my eggs. However, the doctors informed me that because I had to start treatment there was no time for that. Therefore, I did not have to make those big decisions, weigh options and educate myself on my disease. I can imagine how difficult that must be.

This article also provides information on how to obtain all the tools you need to help during this first phase of anxiety. They tell you how to find reliable information online and discuss treatments with your doctors.

If you would like to read more about this article and ways to navigate through your cancer journy please CLICK HERE. I have linked this post to the Cure Website and to an amazing resource they have there.




Whats on Your Mind???

I would love to hear some topics that you all would be interested in. Whats on your mind? What things do you think we should discuss? There are so many things that I would love to chat about some new things so let me know whats on your mind!

Can't they kill characters off with anything other than cancer???



Just a quick little post about something that ANNOYS the CRAP out of me!

Every TV show, movie, book and bar prep course hypothetical kills people off with cancer! What is the deal with that? People die of all sorts of things so why, when the ratings call for a tear jerker do they have to give the big C diagnosis??? Its starting to drive me crazy, literally. I think "OMG is this an omen? A message from God? Do I have cancer again!?!

Just off the top of my head the shows whose characters have cancer are:

1) Greys Anatomy (Izzy)
2) Ugly Betty (Daniels new Love Interest)
3) Desperate House Wives (Lynette)
4) Scrubs (at least one of the patients in every episode)
5) Lost (Ben)
6) Christopher from Nip/Tuck
7) The little girl on Private Practice tonight
8) Weeds (Celia)
9) Sex & The City (Samantha)

Those are just a couple, please feel free to add to my list. I swear every time someone is sick on a tv show I say to Bryan, "How much you wanna bet its cancer"

I feel better already!

Working Together



Thank you for all the words of encouragement! As a cancer survivor its not easy to reach out to others, become close and then lose them to the same disease we suffered through. There are feelings of sadness, anger and guilt. Many people tell me that connecting with people who have cancer is too hard. But, while it is hard, to me its worth it.

There is so much research regarding the treatment of cancer but very little about the after math and how to survive. That means it is up to us survivors to speak to each other and to those who will soon be survivors too. Our stories, experiences, struggles and discoveries are treasure troves for those who are about to embark on the long journey through surviving.

If you are a survivor remember what it was like before you learned all the valuable lessons you did. What it felt like to be embarking on the unknown, how afraid and unsure you were. Take what you learned and share it with someone.

Please leave a comment with a little piece of survivor wisdom. And, if you are still battling share something that has helped you through your battle. If you are a survivor and have questions, leave a comment with as many questions as you want and either myself or someone else will reply with answers to your questions.

Lets all work together and help each other. We are all family and have a connection with each other.

A Life Lost to Cervical Cancer





Sometimes I wonder why I survived my battle with 3b cervical cancer when no one else seems to. It confuses me, makes me sad and even angry.

As many of you know one of the reasons I started my blog was to connect with other survivors like myself. While I was sick I searched and searched for other young 3b cervical cancer survivors, but found none. The ones I did find had lost their battles, leaving me alone in my fight. Dana Farber has a program where they match similar people fighting cancer the same types of cancer, they found no one for me.

Through my search I found an amazing woman in California battling 3b cervical cancer. We spoke and emailed back and forth. Finally I found someone like me, someone who I could really connect with, who knew exactly what I went through.

Today I received an email from her husband informing me that she lost her battle. So, here I am again, a lone survivor searching.

Rest in peace Carrie and know that you were loved by many.

What Have You Been Doing????

Earlier today I wrote a post about what I have done post cancer diagnosis. I would LOVE to hear what you have all done, or your loved ones. I think it is so important to remember that we are much more than just our cancer. Reading what wonderful accomplishments have been had by the manner fighters is more therapeutic than a year on the couch or a bottle of happy pills!

Please leave a comment with your post cancer accomplishments!

And Life Goes On


Here I am two years out from being diagnosed with cervical cancer and I'm alive and well. This is a hard time of year for me as everything reminds me of being sick. I think a lot about where I was and what I was doing, or what was being done to me, two years ago right now. But, what I should be doing is thinking about what I have done and accomplished in these past two years.

I went back to and finished law school. Amazing, if I do say so myself. While I was doing it I tried not to think about it too much, just kept pushing forward. I say this because I want to be honest about how I did it and let you all know you can do it too. There is nothing "amazing" about me individually but there is something amazing inside us all. You have what it takes no matter how scared you are or unsure, its there. I was scared, unsure, angry, sick etc....but I wouldn't let any of that get in my way, I was going to live a normal life and be all the things I wanted before cancer.

I just took the Florida Bar. This was more scary than anything else. It called for lots of work, long hours, being able to remember lots of information and perform under extreme stress. This was my personal nemesis. Having had chemo, radiation and general anesthesia(every 3 months) I wasn't sure if it was possible for me to do all those things. Let me stress that I am not saying the bar intimidated me because it was the bar, it was because of what changes have happened "to" me. BUT, I did it and if you want to you can too. I thought cancer would "handicap" me but it did just the opposite, it gave me strength, courage and fight! I tackled that bar just like I tackled cancer and no matter the outcome I made it through. Its an honor just to say I took the bar and if I pass, well thats just a bonus.

I am preparing for a pretty important surgery. The day after my 31 birthday I will be having surgery, March 30 for those of you who don't know my birthday. This surgery they will be taking out my stents. I was told, not long ago, that this was never going to be possible. Let me point out that there is no guarantee that this will work. To be honest I am pretty scared. As some of you may know I had a surgery last year where they took out only 1 stent. As a result I got very sick for about 8 months, so needless to say im pretty scared. If this works it will improve my life so much! If it doesn't then we are going to start working on having my kidney removed. I'm hopefull because I need to start living a "normal" life. I want to be able to go for a run, not be super tired all the time and not have to plan my life around constant surgeries. I'm ready for this.

So these are the things that I have been doing, me a cancer survivor. I often wondered, as I laid my a hospital bed, what would my life be like after the cancer. Well now I know and its a good life. Cancer has changed me in many ways but in just as many ways I am the same woman with the same dreams, fears and joys. You will get your life back, trust me!