Monday, March 14, 2016

5 years living with Stage 4 Breast Cancer

5 years living with Stage 4 Breast Cancer

First in my lungs and bones, everyone except me knew what the statistics were on the likelihood of me surviving another 2 years…not very good.

I blew through my first chemo, and not in a good way.  It stopped working a mere 4 months in, and the breast cancer in my lungs and wrapped around a major artery.

On to the next chemo.  This cocktail came with a trial drug, a parp.  Eric had read tons of great news on the parp, and tons of not so great news, but it didn’t matter…I needed something new.
My first scan into this new threesome was something nobody was expecting…No Evidence of Disease. To see everyone was shocked would be an understatement…we were floored and confused by this.  This was not normal…AT ALL.  But looking at all this, I was never really a normal patient.

I rode this NED streak for almost a year…until the breast cancer moved to my brain. At the ER being told this news, I just looked at the ER doctor and still didn’t understand that it was breast cancer in my brain and not brain cancer. Honestly, I don’t think it would have mattered what it was they were telling me. Brian was all I heard…the fact was it was IN MY BRAIN and I had never been so scared in my life.

I felt that 26 month window closing on me.

After they sawed open my skull to get to the tennis ball sized sack of tumor, they stapled my head back together and said I was once again NED.
Something deep in me changed after this surgery…I didn’t know if I could continue on with this cancer crap anymore.
I did…until I couldn’t anymore. I had a nervous breakdown because I believed the cancer was back in my head.  I was hospitalized to let me rest and recoup. I got more of a grip on reality and was discharged from the hospital, but not before one more MRI. There it was again…the tumor was back in my brain.

I was out of the hospital for a week before I went back for the 2nd brain surgery. This one took more than a piece of my brain from me. I honestly didn’t know if I could bounce back again.
Somehow I did, and life was kind of normal for 5 months until that all too familiar feeling hit me again.  And once again, I knew the tumor was back.  Once quick scan later, a good cry with Eric and my neurosurgeon, I was headed back into surgery a few days later.
I woke up from this one feeling different than I ever had…I felt like the tumor was gone for good!

Going on almost 3 years now with no visible cancer!

I can’t even say this is a short snippet of the past 5 years, because there are so many parts I have left out.

I know you want me to tie this up with some pretty pink ribbon so you can read some awe inspiring story of how life is great now after all that…I want to write that for you.  But more so, I want to write the truth and for now, this is my truth.

Some days are glorious. I am on cloud 9 about where I am and how far I have come.


Other days I struggle with body aches that turn my thoughts to when was my last scan? A never ending chemo fatigue, but Hope for my tomorrow to be better.


For my whole cancer story of the past 7.5 years, you can find it here in my book, "Renee In Cancerland"
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