Spring in my step

Guys, I lied, I am so tired.  I did it for the pun.  It’s been a long Winter and I’m so ready for Spring to finally be here.  I feel like my arms and legs just weigh more than usual…does that make sense?  Hopefully we have some sunny days ahead because that always helps me.
Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment in Philadelphia.  It was business as usual, but I did learn something new.  I have been on my current treatment plan for almost two years now.  The Ibrance and Letrozole are working together like an unstoppable force and its showing no signs of slowing down.  The next thing to do is to start spacing out the doctors visits.  I will continue to go in for my shots every month, but I will not need to meet with the doctor every time I go in.  Already, my scans are getting spaced out a little more, with my next one being in May.  I will take it as a very good sign that the doctor doesn’t feel it’s necessary for me to come in so often.  Fingers crossed that the Ibrance and Letrozole continue to work.
The other news I have to share is that I’m celebrating a big birthday next week.  I’m turning 30!  At first I was freaked out, but now I’m just excited.  Nobody’s life is exactly how they pictured it to be when they turn 30 and that is okay.  I actually came across a very nice passage this week about what makes a person successful.  It’s always good to remind yourself what is truely important.

What is success?
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch Or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

In lieu of birthday gifts, I would so appreciate donations for my Tour de Pink team, which I have linked below.
Donate to Team MetaThriver
Happy Spring!

Why I Ride

Today it was 50° outside and it’s February.  As excited as I am for Spring, I am hoping the frogs and flowers will hit the snooze button and not fall for this trick.  It’s too early for them!  Anyway, it’s still a reminder that Spring is not far away and I am looking forward to dusting my bike off.  I even ordered a book last night called Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance which is a giant manual for how to take care of your bike.  Because I often ride by myself, I feel like it is unacceptable that I have never changed a tire.  I know how to do it, in theory, but without real-world experience I have doubts about my ability to rescue myself in the field.
Road Bike Maintenance Guide
This year I am going to educate myself on my bike: how it works, how to tune it, and how to change a tire (because eventually flats will happen!).  Winter is the perfect time to gear up (haha).  If it wasn’t already obvious, those of you that have been following my blog for some time will have already guessed that I am riding in Tour de Pink this Fall.  It will be my third time participating, but each year I raise the bar a little.  The first year I was just trying to survive the ride.  This year I want to graduate from ‘novice rider’ to at least ‘intermediate’ and I think being able to take care of my bike will be a great start.  I also need to learn more about nutrition and form.  Both of those things will increase my efficiency on long rides.
I know that I’ve mentioned before how much I love doing this ride because of how strong it makes me feel.  Although that is a big part of it, I’m also riding in honor of the women who have lost their battle to this disease.  Making friends with women who share my diagnosis will always be a blessing and a curse.  You will lose friends along the way – it comes with the territory.  Sometimes it feels like that loss come in waves.  I don’t know if that is actually the case, or if I have just made a lot more friends in the last two years.  In any event, I’d like to share them with you.
I knew all of these women, in some capacity.  Each one passed away in the last six months.  This is a small tribute to them.
Laurie Sanchez
Laurie Sanchez, 35 – September 17, 2017
Nicole Webster
Nicole Webster, 40 – September 24, 2017


Samantha Kaplan
Samantha Kaplan, 28 – December 6, 2017
Carol Laine
Carol Laine, 59 – January 16, 2018
Kimberly Bardill
Kim Bardill, 37 – February 22, 2018
If you would like to support young women with breast cancer, the Young Survival Coalition is a great choice.  This weekend, YSC is hosting their annual summit in Orlando, Florida.  Young women from across the country are making friends, learning about the latest research, joining discussions, attending fitness classes, and finding acceptance from a group of people who understand their struggle.  Unfortunately, there are more women being diagnosed with breast cancer every day.  That is why it is so important to have support programs available for them so that they never have to go through it alone.  If this sounds like something you can get behind, please follow this link and donate what you wish.  Thank you.

**Click Here To Donate**




Scan results

Yesterday was a long day, but we got the news we wanted to hear.  The scans are still showing no progression.  I’m relieved, although not as much as you’d think.  The feeling is being overshadowed by survivors guilt.  I’ll just say it–  It was a bad couple of weeks.  Usually I’m not so negative, but this was exceptional.
In the weeks leading up to a scan I can get very emotional.  It’s intense.  Just ask Jon, who has seen me cry at least a dozen times this year over God Knows What.  I can talk to myself all I want about how everything is going to be fine but the truth is, nobody can know that.  Going into the doctor’s office to find out the test results feels like a game of roulette.  Maybe if I spin the wheel enough times, my number will eventually get called…that’s not how it works, though.  It isn’t random at all.
I felt good yesterday.  Things went smoothly and I wasn’t really nervous.  That really puts my life in perspective.  How bad does your week have to be for Scan Day to be less stressful?  Well I will tell you, but then I’m going to bed.  I’ve fallen asleep a couple times already while trying to write this post.
Found out some devastating news last week and I’m still in a bit of shock.  My friend Lauren died.  Nobody was expecting it.  She had leukemia, but she was fighting it.  When we talked after Christmas she sounded great.  Told her I would like to come visit her in the Spring and she said she would love that.  I don’t understand what happened and I can’t help but think, why the fuck are my friends always dying?  I already know the answer.  It’s because I seek out relationships with people that have walked in my shoes.  It’s because I don’t like feeling alone.  It’s the harsh reality of cancer and it comes with a free side of Survivor’s Guilt.
So I say to myself- Just be thankful.  Just be thankful you had a good scan this time.  These women would have wanted you to keep living well.


And then life happens.

I’ve been thinking of you.  I’ve been wondering what I will write.  Over Christmas I was feeling light and bubbly and I wanted to tell you that, but each time I sat down to write it felt like I was writing from inside a Hallmark channel movie.  It was so cheesy because was feeling so cheesy.  So I waited.  And then last week, once the holidays were over, I thought I would write about the new year and what I envisioned it might bring.  But that was boring to me, too.  Then I figured I’ll eventually have to write something about my upcoming scan (which is next Wednesday, January 17th, by the way) and before I could do that a bomb of a text message greeted me as I woke up this morning:
“It’s back and in my brain :(“
A friend of mine has just learned that her cancer showed up in her brain.  This is one of the scariest things a woman in my position can be told.  I can’t imagine the sea of swirling thoughts that are going through her head right now.  Why is this disease so cruel?  I know we are making strides and discovering new treatments, but GO FASTER, damn it!  For now,  I don’t have anything else to say about it.
I await my scan and hope that, once again, it will show nothing new.  That is a highly likely scenario.  It doesn’t mean that I can just turn my anxiety off, like a light switch.  If you were eating out at a restaurant and, upon finishing your meal, you found out that there was a 9 out of 10 chance that you wouldn’t get food poisoning, you know you’d be like, “Well, what about the 1 in 10 that says I will?!”.  It’s the same thing, with higher stakes.  It doesn’t matter if the odds are in my favor or there are no physical symptoms that would hint towards a bad scan.  I’m still going to have anxiety leading up to that moment when my doctor tells me otherwise.  I’ll be sure to post the results of my scan shortly after I get them.
Take care,


Getting into the rhythm

I’m actually really happy right now.  I could totally complain about the gloomy weather we’ve been having or the fact that I had to make a couple extra trips to Philadelphia this Fall but, shit…life is pretty great.
Even if you factor in the cancer, I’m still pretty healthy.  I’ve had a number of clean scans over the last year and I am finally starting to settle in and not be as afraid of what is coming next (spoiler alert: it’s Faslodex).  Of course, if my life were a movie I should be expecting some kind of plot twist.  I hope for now that is far away.  It’s realistic to think that it might be.  ‘Far’ is a relative term of course, which takes new meaning when you have terminal cancer.  You know, I’ve been thinking about that word ‘terminal’ too.  With all of the new research being done, additional drugs being created, and the new hot babe in town, “Immunology”, I do feel very hopeful that my cancer can be maintained as more of a chronic disease.  Maybe even cured one day.
I did not used to believe that was possible, but I’m starting to come around to the idea that I might actually live a long life.  Perhaps I’ll have a future that is measured in decades.  Maybe.  We don’t know.  But it’s nice to feel like it’s possible.  And if you were about to reassure me that I do have a long life ahead of me, then let me stop you right there.  That is your own wishful thinking that you are asserting onto me.  Unless you can see into the future, you can’t know that.  It’s okay.  Breathe.  Sitting with the truth, even if we don’t like it, makes us stronger and more prepared for life.
I am filled to the brim with creative energy and inspiration.  Never in my adult life can I remember feeling so optimistic about Winter.  Also, I got my Will and Living Will taken care of yesterday as part of a free legal clinic that I heard about through CancerCare®.  It was great- I feel really empowered by it.  I think some people just don’t want to talk about that stuff because they think it’s morbid, but I feel a lot better that it’s all taken care of.  Now I can put that behind me and get back to living!  I didn’t realize it was weighing on me.
Finally, it’s weird but I am even excited to tell you that I smashed my finger and it’s really annoying me!  I smashed my finger in a window…that makes it sound like I did it on purpose…my finger was accidentally smashed when it got in the way of a window pane that fell closed.  It was a real pane…BA-DUM-tssssss.  Does that joke work in writing?  Let me know 🙂  So my finger nail is all black and it’s totally going to fall off one day, but until then it’s just gross and a little numb and a lot distracting.  I spend approximately 5% of my day staring at it, pushing on it, and comparing it side-by-side to my non-smashed finger.  Do NOT worry, you guys, I am taking pictures and I hope to make a slideshow of the progress as it grows out so we can ALL enjoy.  This is for SCIENCE!  It’s too bad I didn’t start from the time of the injury (missed opportunity!).
I recognize that this post is very light and happy and it’s great to be able to share that with you all.  It’s my goal that with this blog we can share some of the more real moments of my life.  I want to invite you to be with me, laugh with me, and cry with me, as I go through some Real Ass Shit.  Sometimes I struggle with just how much of myself I should share with the world.  It’s a balancing act between being accessible and having some things that are just for me.  But I tell you this because I try not to filter it for you.  This blog needs to be authentic.  And today I’m telling you that I am authentically happy.

TdP is over…now what?

I have completed another 200+ miles in three days.  Having done it twice now with a training routine that I would describe as inconsistent at best, I am feeling a lot more confident about riding.  Also, I really like group riding.  It’s so much fun to move as a pack, calling out potholes, cars, and stops to my fellow riders.  Instantly, it makes me feel like I’m part of a team and It’s not important that I don’t know the names of the people who I’m riding with!  We are all trying to keep each other safe.
For the most part, the weather cooperated.  It was warm and sticky most of the time, which finally turned to rain on Sunday.  Since I never rode in the rain, it was a good learning experience.  Kate got a flat that last day, which was the first and only time we had any technical difficulties.  Even that was a learning experience- I had never changed a tire!  I still have never changed one.  It was the Ride Marshall that stopped to help us out, but I watched closely and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to hold my own if and when it happens to me.
Check out some of these awesome photos from the ride!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m already looking forward to next year and thinking about how I’m going to grow my team, raise more money, and become a better rider.  But that leaves me trying to answer the question, “what do I do now that the ride is over?”.  All summer, I look forward to this ride.  I train.  I sweat.  I prepare.  And then I bike TWO HUNDRED MILES in one weekend!  And I’m right where I want to be.  So when my ride is over and the next one isn’t for another year, I naturally get a little bummed out.
I need the structure.  Jon and I worked really well together during those three days.  We each knew what our role was and it made me feel really good to see how smooth everything went.  Kevin and Kate were great, too.  We laughed through the whole weekend.  Kate said she wants to join me next year, as long as it doesn’t conflict with her Ironman triathlon weekend.  So if you or anyone you know wants to join the coolest TdP team ever…..let me know, I might have an opening for you 😉
Lastly, I just want to thank everyone that donated to my ride, whether it was $5 or $500.  I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family in my life.


Tour de Pink, 8 days to go!

How is your Fall going?  The calendar says it only started a week ago but it feels like it’s been around since late August when the bugs started singing and the late season wildflowers started blooming.  If I’m being honest, there is a lot of good that comes with Fall but it takes me until about NOW to let go of Summer and embrace the new season.
Unfortunately, this has been a rough start for the members of my community (and by that I mean the metastatic breast cancer group).  September brings not one, but two, losses.  Laurie (35) passed on September 17th and Nicole (40), a member of my online community, passed on September 24th.  This stinks.  I want to call attention to these two amazing women who fought hard for every day, despite the difficult hand they were dealt.
Despite this awful news, I am doing well.  My scan earlier this month went great- still clear of any signs of active disease.  Ibrance/Letrozole still working.  Still managing some annoying side effects to the drugs (low energy, hot flashes, and night sweats), but I really can’t complain.  I can still do all the things I want to do.  When it comes down to it, that is the thing that scares me the most.  The easiest way to articulate my anxiety is to say that I worry about the slow stripping of freedom that may or may not come to pass.  But since that is not currently a problem for me, I’m going to put that on the emotional shelf.
So, as I said, I can do all the things I want.  That includes participating in an annual fundraising event called Tour de Pink.  Many of you already know that I am participating in this event.  It’s next week already!  Yesterday I went on a training ride.  That is something that never happens during the week.  It was actually quite killer.  I did 11.3 miles – not very far – but it was a very hilly ride at about 1300 feet of climbing (~114ft/mile).  I am trying to understand this for myself.  So, an easy, quick ride that I do if I don’t have much time is 44ft/mile.  My ride to work is 75ft/mile.  My point is, I managed to get a good amount of strength training and cardio in a short amount of time.
I’m excited.  My brother and cousin are coming out here to join me for the ride.  Kate is riding along side me and Kevin is joining the pit crew.  We just got our jerseys for the ride and I wanted to point out how awesome the colors are.  We are team MetaThriver.  The name is, obviously, a nod to the Metastatic crowd.  Even though these women represent the majority of the population that is dying from breast cancer, we are disproportionately represented in fundraising events.  I thought I could help be part of that change and raise awareness for what I think actually needs it.  The colors of my jersey are pink, green, and blue.  The colors of the metastatic breast cancer ribbon are PINK, GREEN, and BLUE!  You guys, this is NOT a custom jersey.  I searched high and low to find something off the shelf that I liked and when I found this I was so excited.  So, I don’t want it to be just my secret, I wanted everyone to know it 😉
Our team has raised $5,100 for this event, thanks to many of you.  If you would still like to donate, here is the link: https://east.ysctourdepink.org/MetaThriver
I look forward to letting you know how things turn out next week and, more importantly, I look forward to doing what I want to do…because I still can, and that is pretty great.