Archive for August, 2012

I honestly cannot believe it: today is five months since I was sitting in my office and got the call from my doctor saying “you have breast cancer.” In some ways, it feels like a lifetime – I hardly remember a time when cancer wasn’t consuming my life. In other ways, I don’t know where these last five months have gone – I feel like it was just February, we were finishing the shutdown and celebrating my 38th birthday. (What a dud 38 has turned out to be – bring on 39!!!!)

But as much of a nightmare as this has all been, anyone who knows me knows that I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I refuse to curl up in a ball and cry endlessly (although I let myself for a few minutes every now and then…), become useless or a burden and just accept my fate. I am not going to over-analyze this and whine ‘why me’ over and over, either. In fact, I don’t think I have to – I think now maybe I know why me…

Just as I sat down to write this, my phone rang. I was so relieved to see my friend’s name. It was only a month ago that she told me the horrific news that she’d found a lump. I refered her to my fabulous dream team at Dana-Farber and it was confirmed as breast cancer. And today she was having a lumpectomy. While I’d heard she made it through fine, I was excited to hear her voice and know it for sure. I exclaimed my relief over the news that the doctors said all went well and they believe they caught it early and it’s all gone. And she said, “It’s thanks to you. You reminding everyone to check.” And that’s it. Maybe that is why. Maybe I needed to go through this so others can catch it early enough and stop it. Words can’t express how thankful I am that she found that lump and stopped it. That makes every second of this journey worth it.

So please – do your self-checks. And tell your sisters, mothers, wives, lovers, friends, daughters, everyone, to do their checks, too. But it’s not enough. We have to stop the damn c-word completely! As some of you know, I am excited to have two opportunities to help in the collective fight against cancer:

  • Tomorrow (Tuesday, August 21) at 1:15 p.m. I will be interviewed live on the 11thAnnual WEEI / NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon – Events – The Jimmy Fund. (WEEI is Boston’s sports radio station – 93.7 FM and 850 AM and you can listen live online at www.weei.com; It may also be simulcast on TV (NESN), but that’s TBD.) They are going to interview me about my personal cancer experience, my interactions at Dana-Farber, etc. Hopefully I’ll be able to help some cancer survivors know they are not alone in their experiences and inspire some people to donate and help conquer cancer. (And hopefully I won’t embarrass myself on live radio/TV…)
  • I’m also honored that my childhood friend Heather Forbes started a team for me in the Jimmy Fund Boston Marathon Walk on September 9. I am thrilled to be feeling healthy enough to walk the last three miles with the team, so have registered. Our team is still looking for walkers (and supporters), so if you are able, please join us – there are multiple legs, you don’t have to do the whole 26.2 miles! For more information on walking or donating: Amy’s Jimmy Fund Walk Page.

Thank you: every prayer, every self-check, every step walked, every penny donated: together we really can make a difference in this fight!

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Phil was right – you can do anything once. So I did get through the last round, at least so far. I am not feeling great, but not horrid either, and for that I am very thankful! After feeling similar last time and then crashing later, I am taking it easy and being cautious.

I did smile for real once the chemo party got started, as you can see in the pics. Not only did we celebrate the last of the worst chemo cocktail, we celebrated Vanessa’s birthday with a yummy cake made by Tara. And while he’s not in the pictures because he had to leave a bit early, Nick was with us for the first part of our celebration, too – I couldn’t ask for a more loving, supportive son. I am very lucky.

And yes, also as you can see from the pictures, I tried embracing the blonde a bit to see if I could get used to it. Not exactly my favorite, but I will be happy with my real hair no matter how it grows in! Just to have my own again will be so nice! I got encouraging news, both from my oncologist, who said hair grows in rounds, so some parts will grow at certain times, and then other parts at other times, and then from a fellow cancer survivor who said that her hair began growing in between rounds 3 and 4 of A/C and through Taxol, and is now up to 2″ – so maybe I will stop having Nick shave my head and see what happens… maybe I will have some hair before the end of the year!

I also got my new schedule: I have three weeks off and will start Taxol once a week for 12 weeks on Tuesday, September 4. Then I will be able to work every Monday, have treatment Tuesday, and hopefully be able to work Wed – Fri each week – at least Thurs and Fri – but we’ll see how it goes… Then I should have my last one Nov. 20 and will truly have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!!!

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I don’t want to!!!

I’m here for my last A/C treatment – the last of the worst chemo. I smiled as the nurse put the needle in my arm and took a bunch of blood. And again while she flushed it with saline to ready it for the IV. And I kept smiling and chatting as she realized she needed to take more blood because I am participating in a study and had to do it all over again. And then as it took forever to make my next few appointments for the next 12 weeks of chemo, which I do not want. It was supposed to be over today. And then my hair would start growing back. But it’s not. Yes, we’ll be done with the worst, but in three weeks we’re starting 12 more weeks. Ugh. I want to scream. I don’t want to smile and be nice. I want to forget this whole damn thing! I don’t want them to pump the poison into me today. I am so damn sick of being sick! And bald! Deep breaths before I flip on someone…. nurse will be here in a second to start. And I will smile and be nice. And soon all my friends will be here for my chemo party and then maybe my fake smile will be real…

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