March 2014 *BIG UPDATE*
These last 4 years have been chugging along! Looking healthy, feeling great, changing jobs, meeting the LOVE of my life and his great kid. Trey and I were married in June of 2013, and spent a great summer traveling to Hawaii and Seattle. I was no longer working in an office, but working freelance graphic and web design from home, and enjoying being "domesticated" helping out with the kiddo, house, errands, carpool - the whole feal. I really enjoyed it.
CHEMO starts tomorrow! 03/31/14
The time has come! I finished the 15 treatments of Whole Brain Radiation Treatments on Wednesday, so had a 4 day break. NOW chemo starts tomorrow!! I haven't had chemo since 2008, the day before my 32nd birthday, geez that was 7 years ago! That was over course of weeks though, on and off. THIS TIME it is FIVE days in a roy - BAM BAM BAM, and that's it. Then Mom and I are hitting the road on vacation to get the heck out of town! So I have that to look forward to.. I'll probably shave my head on Wednesday. It started falling out from radiation a few days ago, and getting faster EEK! It's easier to just shave it at some point, shedding all over the place.
So anyway, I might be MIA for a while until chemo is over and I am down south getting R&R! See you on the flip side! <3
Lung Cancer Returns..
This time in my BRAIN?! I knew that someday my illness would probably return, but you NEVER KNOW what life is going to give you. I started getting sick again, very slowly just feeling dizzy while driving sometimes, or allergy-type headaches. Then in October I started having vertigo-like visual episodes and some headaches. I was sent in for an MRI and they found TWO large tumors in my cerebellum. They went in and removed them immediately by surgery, and had the biopsy tissue genetic tested, and went straight into Novalis radiosuergery (stereotactic radation, a type of cyber-knife).
Luckily, lung cancer is IN my brain, but my brain tissue so far isn't being damanged by the cancer. Though I may have some short term memory issues temporarily after radiation and chemo, but still work on it. Right now I am still totally LUCID, even though grumpy. I'm not allowed to drive, and am physically getting weak - so it's a bit frustrating trying to keep useful.
As of now, I still am still clear with no active cancer from my neck down. I go in once in a while for CT and MRI scans to check on things. My original lung cancer was non-small cell adenocarcinoma with the EGFR mutation in my left lung area. The NEW lung cancer in my brain started in the cerebellum, and has a secondary T790M mutation, and another scary type of cancer that is "neuro-endocrine" SMALL-cell cancer. I had stereotactic radiation after surgery, but in SIX weeks - I had two new large tumors growing causing pain and visual problems.
So now what?
I'm undergoing 15 treatments of "Whole Brain Radiation Treatment" every day. As of today (March 21st), I have 4 more days left. On March 31st, I will be doing CHEMO for 5 days. An old-school but effective treatment of ETOPOSIDE and CISPLATIN. Both drugs that have been around forever, but have a favorable chance of "sterilziing" these fast growing nasty cells in my brain. Too bad I don't have a port this time, and not sure what to expect - trying not to get anxious with the waiting game. At least it will be done 5 days in a row, then BAM I can go recover. Thank goodness my Mom lives nearby and is a HUGE help taking me to my doctor appointments, and helping me out with all sorts of things.
*SAD FACE* - I will be LOSING my hair from the full brain radiation treatment anyway, and may never grow it back again. Then the chemo will make the rest fall out for good measure. Ooh boy... FOUR months after getting married and wanting to look attractive and healthy for my husband, and this happens. He is such such a sweet supportive guy, but it's hard on everyone. Luckily I have great small close circle of friends and family to help me, and do have great health insurance.
Setting Goals, Still looking to the FUTURE
I had a really bad attitude after this last time the tumors came back, because I felt one step closer to running out of options. So, setting goals has helped me a lot. After chemo, I am going to start a gentle exercise program to try and get strength back again. After chemo, my Mom is driving us down to the Texas coast for some R&R. It's a shared condo on the water that we have gone to many many years thanks to my stepdad Dr. Jim Murray. So glad we have a place to go get away from everything for a little while.
Something fun! I've never had a dog of my own before, and I adopted a scruffy little PUPPY from the pound and named her MOLLY! I have help with her, but she is SO GOOD, it's been a total JOY adding her to the family. I am looking forward to a lot of post-chemo naps with her!
Plus I have the great LungCancerFoundation 5k coming up in May, and my sister and her whole family are driving up, and I have people joining my team. My husband is going to be there - and its Cindo de Mayo weekend, so we can all celebrate after it's over. Great goals to have! :)
People have asked me "What can I do to help?"
Usually there is nothing anyone can do, but I really appreciate the sentiment. Wait though, I have an answer to that question now! I have an event coming up where I'll be walking 5k with a group of friends and family, and you can join us in person or virtually from home!
4th Annual Your Next Step is the Cure Dallas, TX 5K
Saturday May 3rd, 2014 - Reverchon Park, 3505 Maple Ave., Dallas, YX
This is organized by the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (lungcancerfoundation.org). Join my team, or donate remotely! HELP ME raise money to beat lung cancer! It's the NUMBER ONE cancer killer and the LEAST funded. So much stigma still, but ANYONE with lungs can get lung cancer, it does not descriminate if you are young or old, male or female, a never smoker, a teenager, a former smoker, or a current smoker.
What else can you do? Just for fun?
Since I can't sleep much lately because of steroids, I created a fun AMAZON WISHLIST! I put some things on my Amazon Wishlist, practical like chemo hats, and fun things like candy and some bright t-shirts for when I'm feeling like a naked mole rat after chemo haha. I hope SOME hair will grow back eventually though, it's going to be hot in Texas before we know it!
We made an ANDROID APP called 2CAN!
Who can? 2Can! My husband Trey Smith developed and maintains a great Android application on the Google the Play Store, and it has done really well all over the world! We have been thrilled to see how much it has helped people move their data FROM their old blackberry to ANY Android phone. Check it out at 2CanApp.com, and on the Android Marketplace. I branded the name, logo, website, and all graphics for the application - which was a lot of fun. We have recent updates so that it will work with your .IPD file and the new Blackberry Manager 7 (.BBB file). Finally you can freely move all of your contacts, text messages, emails, and task list to Android!