A harsh reality
Well those of you that were following me in the past were probably wondering where I went, what happened to me. I have to be honest and say I thought everything had just gone back to normal and I kind of put all the cancer talk behind me. It was kind of a piece of my life I wanted to fade away like it never happened. I did start living my life differently. changed my diet, went on a cancer marathon with my family in Florida, talked to as many people that would listen about living for today because you honestly never know what tomorrow will bring. But I did “Assume” I was alright once a few tests came back normal and I was starting to feel like a “real” person again.
I went on this fantastic trip with my family to the Grand Canyon, my sister is a park ranger there, and our whole family made it to the bottom and back out again…..walking. Well me (cancer survivor) my mom and dad, 70 and 69 years old and my wonderfully supportive sister who kept us going with “great job”, “You and do it” “Let’s stop for a snack” “does anyone need to pee?” It was a great time all the way around.
I came back from that trip with new ideas about how I was going to live my life. I signed up to run in the Y-Me 5K (run mind you, not walk) I started bike riding again, started my yoga again and pretty much just kicked it up a notch. It was a few weeks later that I started having some pains in my sternum. We all, including the doctors, thought maybe I had just been a little hard on myself with all the exercise. I got a bone scan anyway and it was normal. I was also having these visual disturbances, little flashes of light that seemed a whole lot like ocular migraines. I went to the eye doctor and they didn’t find anything either. I pushed a little on the eye flashes because they didn’t get any better and my chest pains seemed to be getting a little worse. My oncologist ordered a chest CT and my eye doctor ordered an MRI.
You can guess what happened next. It was a year exactly to the date of my last diagnosis, April 27, 2012 that I found out my cancer was back….and boy was it back. The liver spot they thought was more of a birth mark thingy turned out to have been distant metastasis from the very beginning. I have lymph nodes in several places in my chest, I have some cancer in the back of my left eye, in my spine —, well pretty much it’s got me. The fact that it came back so fast is not a good sign at all so I have a whole different life ahead of me now.
I’m back on Chemo, which hasn’t gone so well thus far. I made it through two sessions and then my blood counts dropped to low so I had to skip a week. I went back for another session and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, still trying to get over that at the moment, which means skipping another chemo. The pain has gotten bad enough that I’ve already moved up to pain patches with Oxycontin to help with the break through pain.
I left my job, which I loved more than anything I’ve ever done, oh how hard that was to do. I filed for disability which I was approved for, however they give you five months to get better so no payments until October..heh, maybe I’ll be cured by then. My parents rented out and are trying to sell their house and have moved up to Chicago to be with me and have pretty much made my life comfortable enough to keep on smiling. My girlfriend Chantelle has really stepped up to the plate and has been there for me every single step of the way. My sister has been out once and is already coming back out in a week or so. My daughter-in-law packed up and moved across the country to bring my granddaughters close to me, my other daughter-in-law has promised to bring my grandson to see me in June so I spend as much time getting to know my grandchildren better while I am healthy enough to really enjoy them. My sons have stepped up and are doing everything possible to make my life comfortable and happy so all in all I feel like I’m a lucky woman to have so much love in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, it sucks, I’m kicking and stomping about how unfair it is, but I’m not going to waste a bunch of the time I have left on that kind of energy. I am planning on as many trips as possible, short ones like to the Arch in St. Louis that we did last week, and longer ones like the Alaskan Cruise that I’m in the middle of planning.
I did end up doing the Y-Me 5K, however I walked instead of running, but I had 18 other people come along and do the 5K with me. It was so heart warming to know that I have people in my corner, people that care about me, people that I love and that love me back, again I can’t help feeling lucky. I have a limited time left, but in the end we all do. I am just lucky enough to know to get my butt busy enjoying it instead of just sitting around waiting for a boulder to fall on my head.
My son John fixed up this computer for me that Chantelle bought for me so I have no reason not to write and keep anyone interested informed about my new and exciting adventures ahead of me. My parents are here to keep me as comfortable as possible, Chantelle is here to make sure I take care of myself, get the rest I need and to be a big shoulder to lean on, Kallie is here to drive me to massage therapy and other little errands and to keep my granddaughters close, Kearstin should be here soon with Kurt so I can spend some time with him, Christopher, my son who is about to ship out is going to find as many ways to come and see me as possible and the magic of Skype and Oovoo will make it so I can talk to him often. My friends are calling and coming by and my pain meds are working pretty good. All in all, with the lemons I have, I have some pretty good lemonade to drink.
Live for today….please, please, please do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
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This is my story from the day I was diagnosed forward. Everyone has their own journey, their own story, their own path and this just happens to be mine. If something I write could possibly help someone else then that would make anything I go through worth it all. It’s mostly for me, to help me organize and understand my thoughts, feelings and emotions during this process.
I’m a 46 year old, mother of two grown sons, step-mom to a grown son and grown daughter – now one of three mom’s to little Zoey, grandmother of two little girls and one little boy and partner to my wonderful girlfriend Telle. I live in Chicago and work for a small town, single practitioner doctor’s office. I love my job, really enjoy being in the city and try to enjoy my time here as much as possible. I have a fantastic family, crazy, spread across the USA and the most loving group of people anyone could ever dream of being related to.
I found a lump in my right breast late February after recently freaking out about a lump in my left breast the year before, that turned out to be a simple cyst. I ignored it for a few weeks assuming that once my hormones calmed down that month that it would go away, just like the other cysts had before. When it didn’t go away I finally became concerned and had an ultrasound in our office just to ease my mind. When I heard them say, I’m sorry that isn’t a cyst but actually a mass I felt my stomach shrivel up and my heart sink…but managed to keep a calm attitude and follow through with what would need to be done to get it checked out.
Now I didn’t have insurance as I work for such a small practice and like a whole lot of other people just couldn’t afford insurance on my own. Illinois does have a fantastic program, Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening for women over 40 that are uninsured or under-insured. I immediately called and set up an appointment to get it checked out.
I had my appointment, got my order for a mammogram and it of course it came back abnormal. An ultrasound guided biopsy was ordered next and my diagnosis came from my boss, physician and friend that my lump was actually malignant. I have since been placed on emergency medicaid (thank goodness for the fantastic program we have here in Illinois for women like me that find themselves in this position). I have met with my Oncologist, Geneticist (because I was under 50, the chances of it being genetic are much higher) and my Surgeon. I have had the unique pleasure of having my physician by my side at my appointments along with my partner giving me the strength I have so needed to go through this with a positive attitude.
I’ve gone through X-rays, blood tests, Mammograms, Ultrasounds, MRI’s, CT’s and PET scans in the last few weeks and now comes the time for treatment. At this point I’m looking at eight rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and radiation afterward.
Thank you with all my heart to the people, family, friends, and co-workers alike for all your support and love. I will forever be grateful to you all for the positive energy you send my way. I thrive on positivity and you are giving me exactly what I need.
- In Loving Memory of Kelly Rene Smith
- A harsh reality
- Radiation, radiation, radiation….
- Surgery, moving, and nipple injections, Part 2
- Surgery, moving, and nipple injections, Part 1
- Preparing for surgery.
- 8th and last chemo done, surgery next week.
- Only one more chemotherapy left to go.
- A stay in the hospital.
- SOB, ER Visit and Yay, I’m not pregnant!
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