Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hello Friends!!

  I know it's been ages since I have done a blog post -- so I thought I would pop in to say hello and let you all know how I am doing.

   The Cancer Battle continues and I'm still trying VERY hard to remain positive and determined to hope for a CURE!   Due to continued side effects caused from "Opdivo" the Immunotherpay drug I have been on since December of 2015 - I have been placed on a treatment break for the past few months and have been closely monitored by CT Scans and monthly check ups at my Oncology Unit.   Thankfully, the Lung Tumor has remained Stable, which is good news and we do hope that this long break will allow the Pneumonitis to finally clear for good and also give my body a much needed break from non-stop treatments I been having for almost two years now.  It's hard to believe but, it will be two years on March 27th.   The day I learned that I had a brain tumor -- and subsequently learned that the brain tumor, was actually a metastases, from my primary cancer which was then diagnosed as Stage IV Lung Cancer.    If you know anything about cancer, I'm sure you know that Stage IV is the worst stage and is also often referred to as terminal cancer, a term I totally do not like to use   To day, there is currently not a cure for Stage IV Lung Cancer, but thankfully it is treatable and as long as the treatments work, you can bet I'm going to fight.

   It's been and up and down battle!!!   -- I did very well with the Stereotactic Radiation treatment that was first done for the Brain Tumor.  It worked perfectly for me and there is no longer any sign of that tumor.  YAY!  Hopefully, it will never return, but I will continue to have Brian Scans or MRI's forever to be sure there is not any recurrence.   Lung Cancer tends to spread to the Brain or the Bones most often.   Ironically, it was the symptoms from the Brain Tumor that actually lead to the Urgent CT Scan I had back on that Friday in March.  The day I found out I had a Brain tumor --- Some of the worst words you'll ever hear spoken.    Sometimes I think back and it seem surreal.   I can still remember how scared I was and how much it changed my life in a matter of two days.   I thought I had "vertigo", and it all came only two days prior, but by Friday morning, I has started to have difficulty with my speech and use of my right arm -- I felt a little dizzy too, but had no other signs of any illness, and never ever expected to then learn that my main tumor was actually in my Lung.   To this date, I have never had any signs of Lung Cancer, no cough, not chest discomfort, no shortness or breath -- nothing!   It's almost hard to believe ?   Ironically, I had been hospitalized exactly one month prior for hip surgery --- and although I had a Chest Xray done for Pre-Ops,  and ultimately four more during that hospital stay, no one ever saw the Lung Tumor?   They told me, that I had Pneumonia a fluky Post Op side effect --- Yet even then I never had a cough or any pneumonia symptoms?  Clearly, something had to have been missed?     I guess I'll never understand how you can be totally "fine" one month and a month later learn that you have late stage Cancer -- WOW!! 

   Did you know that Lung Cancer is the leading Cancer Killer, I didn't, not until I had it.  I always thought that I would be a much higher risk to develop Breast Cancer, especially in my family -- My Mom is two time Survivor and her sister died of Breast Cancer when she was in her 40's.   I was so good about having my Mammograms.  Go Figure!   And although I had once been a smoker, I have been smoke free for over 10 years and had several clean and clear chest xrays.   My risk "being" a former smoker does make my risk somewhat higher, but each you are are smoke free, you risk becomes less and less.   I also have Adenocarcinoma, which is the type of Lung Cancer found most often in Non-Smokers.   We'll never truly know if smoking was a factor in my cancer or not -- but that doesn't matter now and goodness know no one deserves Lung Cancer, but sadly because of the smoking stigma, there are actually people who look at those who smoked, as if they deserve this and did it to themselves.   I've seen that happen in some Support Group and it's upsetting.  No one deserves cancer and many people who smoke, never do get cancer, it's truly a matter of back luck and genes that mutate and can happen anyone.    We need to let everyone one that Lung Cancer strikes ALL !  It is BY far the leading Cancer death among man and women -- 1 in every 4 cancer deaths are from Lung Cancer.  More people die from Lung Cancer than from Breast, Color and Prostate combined and many have never smoked.   If YOU have lungs and breath, you can get Lung Cancer.   And it's not only older patients, it's now affecting many young healthly (non smokers) even starting in the 20's and 30's.  It's getting worse, instead of better and that's so scary.   The median age for Lung Cancer once was 70 -- now it's closer to 40-50?   WOW!

   Moving on from my "Public Service Announcement" -- 
  
      I know I am extremely lucky to be doing this well, with such a horrible diagnosis.  I am one of the very fortunate Lung Cancer patient's who has had very good results with Immunotherpay and I'm so grateful that I had a super Oncolgist, who persuaded me to try this drug, just one month after it had received FDA Approval to treat Non Small Cell Lung Cancer.  At first, I declined it - I was afraid of all the potential side effects and it really scared me.   I knew if I tried this I would be an "extension" of the clinical trial, but the more I thought about it, I decide to give it a chance and boy am I glad I did, I seriously doubt I would have survived this long, had I not made that choice.   I had already been on Chemo and had Radiation and although that worked for a short time, by October of 2015, my tumor was back, and more aggressive than when I first started?    My tumor grew to over 4 cm in a very short time and was no longer responding to Chemo.  Now, it's only 14 mm which is tiny and has remained that size for almost six months now.   I'm blessed -- !!   There is not doubt in my mind that this drug saved my life.   I HOPE every day that I will be able to resume the same treatment, but at this point, we just do not know if it will be safe.  I has caused me to develop Pneumonitis three times now and each time it's been worse -- that itself can quickly become very serious (even fatal) and it's one of those well known side effects of Immunotherpay.   I'm very much in a "Limbo" status right now -- we did not know what is next for me and that will all depend on my next scans in late March.  If I have any progression, I will need to start treatment again, but with what?   These are the unknowns and the thoughts that keep me awake at night -- it's really so hard to ever keep cancer off your mind, when you are fighting it.  
  
    For now I'm try very hard to shift my focus on to HAPPY things.   My sweet little Grand-daughter is now due any day and I could not be happier.    Alex and Acacia also bought a house and moved into their new home over the Thanksgiving Weekend.    The house they bought is lovely, and was totally renovated -- everything is new and they did not have to do one thing when they moved it.  It's perfect!   A Brand New Kitchen, lovely hardwood floors, three bedrooms, including a lovely Master with a Master bath.  I LOVE it and could easily MOVE right in and be very happy there -- !  I am so happy for them and for their little girl.   They have now chosen a name for the baby and she will be "Harper Leigh".    Her nursery is now all done and is so sweet, I love it and love the colors -- Gray, White and Aqua.   She is going to be one very loved and adored baby and we all anxiously awaiting for her arrival.  Here is a picture of one corner or her room.   


     I am also going to be heading out to San Diego to visit Brian (my oldest son), shortly after Harper arrives (sure hope she is not too late), as I am flying out on March 7th.   I'm super excited to see Brian, it's hard to believe, but it's been a year since I was last there.  I went out for three weeks last February to escape winter and had a wonderful trip.   Funny thing is that the whole time I was gone last year, the weather here at home was fine -- it was cold and there was one day it went down to zero, but we didn't' have any snow the entire time I was away.  This year, up until this month, we've had a really easy and fairly mild winter -- perfect for me.   But, all of sudden, we are now having snow -- UGH!   We've already had over a foot this week and are now under another Blizzard Warning -- starting later today -- I swear sometimes I have the worse luck in life.  I also do not want Little Harper to be born in the middle of a Blizzard and have the worry about the kids traveling to the hospital for her birth -- not to mention that I would not be able to drive to meet her in a Blizzard either?   SO far, there is not sign she's planning to come yet -- Acacia had a non-stress test on Friday and she's fine and well, and clearly perfectly content to keep up waiting.  Funny thing is that we all thought for sure she would be born early and Acacia has been "low" for some time?   Her actual due date is next Saturday the 18th, but they would love for her to arrive on the 16th, as they both were born on the 16th (April and November) and also were married on the 16th -- a lucky nice date for them both.  Hopefully, the next post from me will be to share her first pictures!    WOOHOO!  

    So that's it for me -- as I said, I hope she arrives soon and hope Acacia has an easy labor, they are now thinking she's going to be a big baby and longer we go, she'll only get bigger.   I just HOPE she's not too late --- I scheduled my flights to be three weeks "after" her due date, thinking that would give me time to meet her and then be able to bring lots of pictures to share with "Uncle Brian".  We know they won't let her go beyond two weeks late, but still I never imaged I might only have a week with her, before I leave.   So for now, I'm hoping for the 16th or even the 14th -- I think a Valentine's Baby would be very sweet!

   Before I go I wanted to once again thank you for all the support and kindness that has been shared with me.  Sadly, I never did return to creating, which I still greatly miss, I'm just too darn wiped out most days to find the energy!    I also still have tons and tons of craft goodies to sell and plan to restock my "Purple Packages" again after my trip.  I'm also now be "selling" everything I can, as we may also put our house on the market in the Spring.   Please stay turned for lots of new sales coming soon and again, thanks to everyone who has shopped with me before -- I greatly value your kindness and all the wonderful response!

  Hugs and Thanks for visiting!!


      

UPDATE:   February 15, 2017 -- Thanks for all the sweet comments -- you all are so kind and your words truly touch my heart.    

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Warm Christmas Wishes....

   A little hello to wish you all a very Merry Christmas 
and a Happy and Healthy New Year.    



     I hope you are all well and looking forward to having a wonderful Christmas with your Family and Friends.

     For the first time in many years I did not create or send out any Christmas Cards, which has been a bit bittersweet.   I am very thankful and grateful to each of you who took the time to send one to us.  I love them all and it always makes me smile to find "Happy Mail" in my box.

     The Cancer battle is exhausting, but overall, I'm still doing okay, fighting hard and hoping be resume my treatments soon.   I'm due for my next CT Scans just after Christmas and hope I'll continue to be stable.  Thank you for your continued support, prayers and healing thoughts.   I continue to take each day as they come and will always be hoping and praying for a Cure.....

     I'd also like to say Thank You to everyone who has purchased Craft Goodies and Purple Packages over the last few months.   Your kindness and generosity has touched my heart.  I still have tons to sell, but have been busy trying to focus on Christmas and the birth of my little Grand daughter who should be here in another 8 weeks.    I hope to start packing boxes again in the New Year, and you can always email me any special requests.    

    Thanks for stopping by -- take care and be well...


     





    


Friday, November 11, 2016

To all our Veterans!!

 
Thank you for your Service!
 
 
“Never give in — never, never, never, never, 
in nothing great or small, 
 large or petty, never give in except to 
convictions of honor and good sense. 
 
Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently 
overwhelming might of the enemy.”
 
 
  Winston Churchill

Sunday, October 16, 2016

More goodies for sale....

   Hi everyone!  Hope you are all fine and well!!   I finally took the time to package up more of my "Purple Packages" to sell, along with a few other items.   Everything is listed on the "Purple Packages" page and you can buy everything offered using the PayPal Buttons.   These typically sell out in a few days and as always are First Come / First Serve. - My sincere thanks for your wonderful support and also all the positive feedback I have received on the packages.   I appreciate you all very much and am happy to know that all my goodies will be well loved and used!!    I am also selling a Misti Package and a brand new set of Dr. Ph. Martin Inks, they are also listed on the Purple Package Page with pictures and more details.

     As for me, I'm doing okay -- still fighting the dreadful Cancer Battle and taking each day as the come.   I am scheduled for my latest round of CT Scans this week which is always a bit stressful.   In early September, due to side effects from my Opdivo, (Immunotherpay Infusions), I developed Pneumonia, which required me to stop treatment, once again.  This is the third time I have had issues with side effects that are known to cause Pneumonia / Pneumonitis.   Thankfully, mine has been low grade,  (asymptomatic) and has not required hospitalization or any steroid treatment.    But, it's is a bit nerve wrecking to have Cancer and not be able to treat it.   As you may remember I've already been through Chemo and Radiation and even though I was cancer free last summer for a short time, the Chemo stopped working, which often happens with Stage IV Cancer.    Currently, this is the ONLY available treatment and despite the side effects, it has worked well in reducing the size of my lung tumor and has kept the cancer from spreading.  I'm also grateful that the specialized form of radiation I had for my brain tumor, worked perfectly and there has been no recurrence of that!    If the scans are clean and the pneumonia is gone, then I will be able to re-start my treatment again.  If not, (well I don't want to go there now), but it will not be good and may mean that I will need to consider a clinical trial) and to be honest, having had such issues with FDA approved treatments, a trial is very scary!  So for now, I plan to remain very positive!!  I am still determined to fight this battle and continue to hope every day for a new treatment option or cure.   

    Sadly, my Oncologist, who I adore, will be leaving this area and when I see her Wednesday it will be our last appointment.   I literally cried when she told me last month and I know I'm going to miss her terribly!   It's hard enough to be in this battle, but even worse if you do not feel 100% confident with your team. Thankfully because of the close relationship we have established she plans to give me her private email and told me that I can feel free to keep in touch and contact her with any questions or concerns that may come up.   She will now be affiliated with Dana Farber Cancer Institute, which is a fantastic opportunity for her and know this is really a wonderful thing for her, so in that way I am happy, but still wish she wasn't' leaving.   She will now be more focused on research, particularly Thoracic Oncology which is perfect for me.    Dana Farber (Boston) is where I went for my second opinions, when I was originally diagnosed.   She will be in their South Shore division, which is even further away.   I do plan to keep in touch and won't hesitate to travel to see her, as needed for second opinions.   However, it's simply much to far to travel for my bi-weekly appointments, labs, tests and infusions.   I love that I ahve been able to have my care at my local hospital, (I once worked there, so I knew it well and feel so comfy there). I also really love their Oncology unit and the nursing staff.  To have to commute 4-5 hours (round trip) is simply not an option.  Sigh....   

     I still miss creating very much, and really had hoped by now I would have more energy, and start again, but that is not happening.  I still have lots of goodies to sell and will continue to fill boxes and add them to my blog.   If you are looking for any particular items, please feel free to contact me.    

Thanks as always for stopping by and for your caring thoughts!!  Big Hugs to you ALL!!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Happy News!!!!

I am very happy and excited to let you all know that I has the pleasure of going with Alex, (my son) and Acacia (my Daughter-in-Law) to her Ultrasound on Friday.   We have been waiting patiently for a long time for this one because we knew that it would be very likely they 
would be able to find out if the baby is a Boy or Girl!!

And I'm delighted to tell you all that they are expecting a 
Sweet, Adorable, Healthy and Active - Baby GIRL!!



  As a Mom who has raised two son (who I LOVE with all my heart), and having lost my only daughter as a stillborn, I had been hoping that we would be adding a baby girl into our lives.   Ultimately, all we really wanted was a Healthy Baby, but I admit I am "Tickled Pink" to know that it's going to be a Baby Girl.

   Today, I had my first "Baby Girl" online shopping spree and it was so much fun.   I found so many adorable outfits and now can hardly wait for this sweet baby to be born.    Acacia is halfway through her Pregnancy now and is due on February 18th.   Both she and Alex have birthday's on the the 16th of the month and were also married on the 16th, so we think it would be extra special if this baby arrived on the 16th too!!

    I am thrilled that I'm finally going to have my very first Grandchild, and will continue to fight my cancer battle and be here to love and cherish her for a long time.  

   

    

A Little About Me

My photo
Northeastern, Massachusetts, United States
Purple is my favorite color and ironically - Purple is the Awareness Ribbon color for Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness I lived with for over 15 years. In, March of 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer which had spread to my brain. I am fighting hard to win this battle and determined to beat it. I have a amazing Oncology Team, along with the LOVE and SUPPORT of all my family and friends! I am a Mom to two grown sons, Alex is now 24 and married to Acacia, my wonderful new "Daughter", and Brian amazingly is 29 and now lives in San Diego. My boys are the greatest loves of my life. Hubby, me and our two "Pups", Skye and Zeva, two adorable Chiweenies we rescued in 2012, all live very happily in a tiny coastal town in Massachusetts. We lost our dear "Scoutie", a Purebred Dachshund, in April of 2015. I still miss him and will forever cherish his memory. I am an avid card-maker and totally love every minute I can spend in my craft room. It's become my passion, a wonderful way to relax and is my form or "therapy".