After a few recent and unexpected deaths in several of my communities, I’ve been reflecting a lot about “the end” lately. I’ve realized that in certain ways, I’m lucky to know that I’m terminally ill. With a medical diagnosis, even of metastatic cancer, you get a suggested chunk of time you’ll still be on this … Continue reading Be Prepared: One for the Metsters
It’s October, month of perpetual pink. For those of us with metastatic, stage IV breast cancer, it’s also a daily reminder that barring some dramatic new medical discovery, I won’t be cured in my lifetime. “Terminal” is not a word you hear much during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.As a patient, I try to be optimistic, … Continue reading Pinky and My Brain
I lost eight hours on Tuesday. I went to our bedroom to rest and after that I only remember bits and pieces until regaining my power of speech and comprehension courtesy of IV steroids. Which is a shame since I just tapered off of the darn things, post-London. Unlike previous seizures, this one snuck up … Continue reading Never a Dull Moment
When I was first diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in 2015, my husband and I had many, many questions for my new medical oncologist, Dr. K. At the top of the list was “how long can I expect to live with this disease?” I found that was an easier question to write … Continue reading Expiration Dates
Hello from the other side of brain surgery. I seem to have made it through successfully. As usual, my surgeon was fantastic, the nursing staff was great, and I received excellent care. I could have done without all the noise in Yale’s Neuroscience ICU, but the constant beeping was the least of my worries. As … Continue reading The Brain Drain: Post-Op Edition
This Monday, I had my neurosurgery consult at Yale with Dr. Chiang. She has recommended a craniotomy to the right frontal lobe of my brain, where the largest “spot” with the most swelling is located. It’s near the surface so she should be able to just scoop it out – probably not the technical term … Continue reading Back on the Table
It’s test result time. My latest CT scan, from the neck down, came back stable. The biggest concern that I had going into the scan was my hip, but the pain has diminished and the scan found nothing except arthritic changes (welcome to my 50s). However, my damn brain is not cooperating. The MRI revealed … Continue reading Tumors, Necrosis, and Brains…Oh My
Last Thursday marked my final session of whole brain radiation (WBR). Altogether, I had ten treatments (skipping weekends and holidays). After the first “set up” appointment, where they created a custom molded plastic mask to hold my head in the exact same position each time, the actual radiation process was a breeze. Before each session … Continue reading Bang a Gong
How do we live in the here and now and not in a constant state of waiting and worrying about MBC? It’s something I’m still working on.
Communication tips for people who have someone with stage IV breast cancer in their life.