Welcome to my new blog, Living with Stage IV. Take a seat at your space bar and stay a while.

If you were following me over at CaringBridge, thank you. I wanted a bit more freedom and platform flexibility in communicating with you all (such as being able to answer your comments and questions), and that’s a big reason why I’ve switched over to a fully functioning blog format. And while I plan to primarily use this space to keep my friends and family up to date on my health and to talk about the challenges of living with stage IV cancer, I’m sure I’ll also be veering off into other topics that impact my life and keep me up at night. That’s especially true in today’s political climate where the protection of our civil liberties appears to be as fragile and unpredictable as life with cancer at the moment. But I digress.

Let’s get to a health update first. My latest three-month follow up MRI of my brain was moved up to January due to some nausea I was having. The results were stable – some spots of metastases were slightly larger, some were a bit smaller, but no brand new spots were detected. I’ll go back in April for the next follow up scan.

I’ve had some right side rib pain for the past couple of months, which only hurts when I lie on or place pressure on the rib. When you have stage IV, your mind automatically goes to the worst place when any new ache or pain appears. Case in point – the ingrown toenail I finally had taken care of last week because at first I was sure I had some sort of exotic big toe metastases.

I have to remind myself that I’m almost 50 and of late, have not been very active, so the rib pain may very well just be a strained muscle. My bottom right rib had shown some uptake activity on my bone scans in the past, but nothing on the last CT scan (although the CT is an imperfect test for bone metastases). My oncologist ordered a simple x-ray that should have caught anything major brewing (nothing showed up). When I follow up with him in two weeks I’ll find out if any further testing is warranted. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to stretch out and increase my activity so if it is just a pulled muscle it will hopefully work itself out.

Other than the rib, I’ve been feeling pretty good physically and the fatigue has waned somewhat. I’m still taking my Perjeta and Herceptin infusions every three weeks; it’s been 14 months on those particular drugs and I’m grateful that they continue to work for me.

We are looking forward to a trip to Chicago in June to see old friends, show Tim around Chicago and my hometown, and to see Hamilton (which will cross one item off the bucket list!). If you are one of my Illinois friends, I’ll get in touch as it gets closer to try and find some time to see you!

hamiltonThanks for your continuing messages, visits, and cards. They always make my day a little brighter. I look forward to being a little more frequent in my posts now that I’m on the blog. If you want to be alerted to new posts, please feel free to sign up for email alerts by clicking on the Follow button on the right side of your screen.

Until next time,