My scans were today. One CT scan and one bone scan, as usual. I mentioned I was more nervous this time around and that turned out to be somewhat validated. My overall scan results were pretty good. My disease remains to be stable and under control, however there is a new 7mm nodule in my left lung.
The nodule is very small and the doctor was not overly concerned about it. We aren’t even sure if it’s breast cancer because it just showed up and we haven’t been watching it for long enough. I have to return in six weeks to get another CT scan which we can use to compare to the images from today. If there is significant growth, that means the cancer is becoming resistant to the Ibrance/Letrozole and I will be changing medication. If there is no growth, that could mean that it’s not cancer and we can keep treating my disease with the same combination of medications until something else changes.
The reason I have been so stressed out lately is because I was preparing for this day, so when I finally heard the doctor say there was a tiny growth I didn’t have a big reaction. I am relieved that there is no cancer explosion happening in my body. It’s possible that the tiny nodule is not cancer at all, but something benign like scar tissue. Many people have lung nodules that are not cancerous, but it’s important to consider that I’ve been on Ibrance for over two years and it might be reaching the end of its usefulness in terms of my cancer. This day is coming, and whether it’s later this year, six months from now, or six years from now, there will be a day when I have to move on to the next medication.
No matter what the results of the test are, it’s a relief to know what is going on. That, in itself, is power. I still want to update you on my ride, but that will be a separate post. There is a lot to tell! In the meantime, you can expect another medical update in mid November after my follow-up scan.
This is going to be a bit of a hodge-podge of updates for you all because we have some catching up to do.
First things first, today I am leaving for my three-day, 200mile bike ride which starts Friday morning. Thank you Donors! I could not have done this without your support! If you have not donated and would still like to, it is not too late! I am only $1,020 away from my goal, as of this morning. Click on this link.
Also, if you would like to track me through the weekend I am going to attempt to make that available by sharing my location via Google. If you’re interested in that, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to accomodate that (It would be way easier for me to post the link here on this blog but my sensibilites have me thinking that’s not a good idea for safety reasons…have I seen one too many lifetime movies??)
So, what else has been happening in my life, other than lots and lots of training? Well, I have a scan coming up next week (October 3rd) and I’m a bit nervous. Thankfully, I’m also very distracted with the bike ride and the last few days of waiting is always the hardest. I’ll post some kind of post-scan update later next week so stay tuned for that.
Other than that, here is a highlight reel from the last few months:
Those are the highlights. There were frustrating and down times as well which I did not photograph. I get stressed out when a scan is approaching and that has a tendancy of permeating stress through everything in my life. I try to manage Scanxiety with a combination of therapy, meditation, and exercises, but if I’m being honest I also rely heavily on ice cream and missplaced anger. I hope you are all doing well! If it has been a while since we’ve talked, I would love to get an update from you 🙂
Tour de Pink is 10 weeks away! Team MetaThriver is getting a lot of group rides in. Actually, I haven’t been out on a solo ride all year! But I’m okay with that. For me, biking is social and there is strength in numbers. We can entertain eachother, cheer eachother on, and we are more visible to cars (that’s a big one).
Last weekend, my teammate Kara and I ventured outside of our immediate surroundings and took our bikes to Hunterdon County. What a beautiful place to ride! Honestly, we could not stop exclaiming how beautiful it all was. We rode from Alba Vineyard, over the ‘mountain’ (in NJ we call them mountains but they are tall hills, sorry NJ), down to Frenchtown, across the Delaware into PA and back up the other side to end up at the Vineyard again. Frenchtown seemed like the place to be for biking. I recognized it as one of the towns I went through for TdP 2016 and 2017. Kara and I agreed that this was definitely an area that we wanted to come back to. I am enjoying my time on the bike more than ever before because I feel like I’m getting better. Stronger.
Our total distance on Saturday was 30 miles and our elevation was 1200 ft of climbing. The hills were a little intense, but we need to keep training for Tour de Blairstown which is 2.5 weeks away. Tour de Blairstown is a 42 mile ride through a hilly part of the state. It will be a good training ride for us and I’m pretty sure it’s more elevation in 40 miles than the entire weekend of Tour de Pink. In my mind, we are at the point where we can plan our rides for intensity or for distance.
I’m so glad to have my biking buddy, Kara, with me on these rides. We’re having a lot of fun exploring the countryside of Warren and Hunterdon County (arguably the best biking in the state, for a number of reasons). If you are still thinking about donating to our ride, my teammate Kara could use some love on her fundraising page. I’m going to link it below. Have a wonderful week, and remember…July is the Saturday of Summer.
What have I been up to?? Well, we moved for starters! Jon and I have been busy packing, then unpacking, and we are finally getting settled. We upgraded to a bigger space down the road and it is hard to imagine how we were ever living in a one-bedroom. I am sorry if I’m sounding like a privelaged jerk, but we had (and still do have) a lot of stuff. The list of upgrades includes: an extra bedroom, an outdoor space, a beautiful new gas stove, and a DISHWASHER! Two words on the dishwasher- Life. Changing.
Another upgrade is that we finally got a couch! Jon and I finally made a design decision together. Picking out a couch with your S.O. should be considered a relationship test. It wasn’t easy, but we finally decided on this lovely, modern sectional:
I’m just kidding. I could have picked something like that and Jon probably would have agreed to it if I fought hard enough. I actually found a couch I liked and I told him “This is the couch I like. I want to get it.”, to which he responded, “Ok, but before we buy this I want you to sit on one more couch”. While the saleswoman was away getting our paperwork ready for the new couch, he leads me over to this gray blob of a couch. You can’t be serious. But, yes, he is serious. So he sits down on this couch, and tells me to have a seat right next to him. Then he hits the button to recline…
We got the damn blob couch. Meet the Brassville Graystone.
I am an adult and I could have made a different choice, but it was comfortable. We agreed that the couch that goes in our appartment should be comfortable- something we like sitting on. So I no longer call this The Ugly Couch or The Blob Couch. Instead, I call it the cloud. Because that is what it is to me 🙂
These are the four stages of sofa selection grief:
Another scan complete and the Ibrance/Letrozole is still working! I’ve been on Ibrance for two years now and it shows no signs of slowing down. This is the news we were expecting, but it’s still great to hear my doctor say it. I am feeling more confident lately about my treatment and my prognosis. My next scan, I expect, will be in another four to five months and until then, I’ll be enjoying my summer 🙂
At the beginning of the month I was in DC for the National Breast Cancer Coalition summit. It was really interesting and I got to meet up with friends that I met last summer in La Jolla at Project LEAD. It is crazy how quickly you can become good friends with someone when you have cancer in common. It seems to accelerate the process, although so does the week-long intensive course that is Project LEAD. NBCC doesn’t mess around. They are lazor focused on ending breast cancer by their deadline of 2020. If you’re interested on reading about how they plan to do that, I’ll link their website here.
The summit ends with lobby day. We split up by state and I visited New Jersey’s representatives to talk with them about NBCC’s initiatives. It was fascinating! I want to tell you all about it, but I’m going to save it for another day because there is too much to cover. All I really wanted to do today was to let you know that my scan results were good. Have a wonderful weekend!
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.
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.
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.
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.