Cross-posted from Not Just About Cancer.
3 Comments | Chemotherapy, Fear, Her-2 positive, Hope, Laurie, Little indignities, Living with metastasis, Side Effects | Tagged: Breast cancer, cancer, Herceptin, living with cancer, metastasis | Permalink
Posted by Laurie
Last winter, I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend the 9th Annual Conference For Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer in Dallas, Texas.
It was an amazing experience.
I expected to learn a lot and I really, really did.
I hoped to be inspired and I was, beyond my wildest expectations.
I didn’t think about it being fun but it really, really was.
The sessions I attended were informative, entertaining and gave me great hope. I met some terrific women. And more than once, I laughed until I cried (I will not soon forget the pajama party hosted by Pure Romance. The experience defies explanation but they’re doing it again this year, so come and join in the fun). I came home with a pink cowboy hat and a renewed determination to live well.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the conference and it will take place from February 26-28 in Atlanta, Georgia. If you were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45, this conference is for you. Last year, there were more than 1,000 women in attendance from all over the world who have been affected by breast cancer in a multitude of ways. It meant so much to me to see all these beautiful women, at different stages of treatment and to see other women with metastasis living their lives to the fullest.
I have a scholarship to go again this year. If you have been on the fence about attending – hop off and come join me.
If you are planning to go, leave a message in the comments or send me an email (laurie dot kingston at gmail dot com) or a direct message on Twitter (lauriek). Or if you’re at the conference and you spot a blonde woman with red glasses alternating between knitting and taking notes, come on over and say ‘hi.’
This year, two dates – November 24th (the anniversary of my diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer) and December 2nd (the anniversary of the night I found the first lump) – came and went without causing me the anxiety of previous years. I noted both events in passing, took the time to breathe deeply and be grateful, and then got on with my day.
It’s been four years since I found the lump. It’s been three since the cancer spread to my liver. And it’s been two and a half years since my first clean scan.
I had an appointment with my oncologist yesterday. I had nothing to tell him. He said, “Shall we keep dragging you in here every few months just to say ‘hi’?”
I readily agreed.
I have chemo next week. They’ve been building a new treatment centre for what seems like years. I have often jokingly pointed in the direction of the new building and said, “They’re building that for me.”
Yesterday, I discovered that the new building is open and the chemo room has been moved. No more listening to the sounds of construction during treatment. No more listening to the intimate details of the constitutional issues of the patient beside me. There will be a little more light and a little more room and hopefully, a little less noise.
I’m kind of excited.
And yes, that is somewhat ironic. I have lived long enough to be excited about getting chemo in the new building.
4 Comments | Attitude, Chemotherapy, Her-2 positive, Hope, Humor, Joy, Laurie, Living with metastasis | Tagged: blog, blogging, Breast cancer, breast cancer diagnosis, breast cancer survival, living with cancer, metastasis | Permalink
Posted by Laurie
You don’t need to tell me how lucky I am.
I have a roof over my head, great medical care and I’m surrounded by people who love me.
And don’t think I forget how very lucky I am to be alive at all. Why did I get to go into remission? Why me? I am indeed very fortunate.
But there are times when I do feel sad that I will never put this cancer behind me. I feel the toll ongoing treatment takes on my body and my emotional well being.
So last night I stood in my kitchen, with my head on my husband’s chest (we say we were built for each other. My head lands flat on his chest and tucks under his chin). He put his arms around me and we just stood there, breathing together.
He didn’t need to say anything. He understood my frustration. Only a few hours before I was finallly feeling sharp and healthy and energized. And then, after chemo, I stood in his arms, feeling sick and more than a little shaky.
He didn’t remind me how lucky I am.
But I know it.
8 Comments | Anger, Attitude, Chemotherapy, Her-2 positive, Hope, Joy, Laurie, Living with metastasis | Tagged: blog, Breast cancer, cancer life, Family, living with cancer, metastasis | Permalink
Posted by Laurie
Life is funny.
This morning was perfect weather for a bike ride. The sun was out and the temperature climbed to 17C (that’s 62.6 in American). It was my first time on the bike in more than a week – since before the plague toppled my family, like a series of dominoes.
It was a fun ride, and I didn’t even mind the big hill I have to climb on my way to the hospital. I arrived twenty minutes after I set out, a little sweaty and with my heart pumping. As I locked up and headed into the cancer centre, I noted with pleasure that I hadn’t been coughing.
“It feels good to be healthy.”
I very nearly said it out loud.
I was suddenly struck by the absurdity of my situation. Here I was, going to get my bloodwork done the day before chemo and thinking about how healthy I am.
Three years ago, at almost exactly this time of year, I learned that my cancer had become metastatic. I don’t think I could have imagined this day, when I’d be riding my bike up Smythe Rd. and thinking about how healthy I am.
So, as I was saying at the beginning of this post – life really is pretty funny.
Cross-posted to Not Just About Cancer.
5 Comments | Attitude, Emotional Impact, Her-2 positive, Hope, Joy, Laurie, Living with metastasis | Tagged: Breast cancer, breast cancer survival, Family, good news about cancer, Health, living with cancer, metastasis, wellness | Permalink
Posted by Laurie