No Ordinary Life
After I finished writing my book "Fight like a Mom" I was undergoing treatment for my fifth cancer. I knew I would be thinking of this cancer as a chronic disease and not expecting it to get worse and possibly not get better. But I could handle stable.
In March 2013, as I was sitting on my couch my left hand started to twitch. My middle finger was tapping against the thumb. At first I was amused. Then I realized I wasn't controlling the movements, I hollered at them and demanded that they "Stop!" Then my head decided it was going to twitch toward my shoulder. Over and over again. I had no control over any of the twitching.
Tim had been in the kitchen as I was a little bewildered by this attack of twitches. As he came out and I stopped the movements, I said to him, "Tim something wierd just happened." I wasn't upset and he didn't see anything wrong so he decided to go in and take a nap.
I got online. I looked up seizure. Didn't look like a seizure. I was awake and in control of my thoughts the entire time. So I looked up stroke. Hmmm, this one gives you a time limit to be treated after a suspected stroke happens. Two hours. I didn't real feel like it was a stroke and my head kept telling me that I was fine and not to worry about it.
The two hour mark kept going through my mind. I decided it would be best to let the doctors tell me it was nothing rather than risk doing nothinig and it be something. I went in to wake Tim up and at that minute my darned left hand went back into twitching mode. Only worse.
We hoppedinto the car and they took my straight into the back and started ruling out a stroke and seizures. They had me do a brain CT scan. As soon as that came back I could see the doctor in the corner of the room put his head down and say "I knew it."
They had found something on my brain and I needed to go in for a brain MRI immediately. FOur tumors is what they found. Two the size of quarters and two the size of nickels. I needed to be transferred by ambulance to the main Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.
It was there being in the brain ward that I met Dr. Duma and he reassured my that these tumors he could and would treat. Technology had come a long way in the past few years and he had perfected gamma ray knife surgery. My Grandmother died of metastatic breast to her brain and it didn't take very long. I just knew this too would be my path. I was petrified.
I listen to Dr. Duma and he reassured me that I would not die from these tumors and he wa 95% positive he could get them with the gamma ray knife. I was still beyond scared.
Two very long weeks later I went in to the gamma knife center and had a brace screwed in four places to my head. I had a very precise diagnostic MRI, so they would know exactly where the tumors were located.
The procedure took two hours and then they unscrewed me and let me go home. It took another two weeks before I started feeling really good. I'm not kidding, really good.
Two months after the procedure I went in for another diagnostic MRI and it showed that three of the four tumors were completely gone and there was only a trace of the largest one and the Doctor expects that to be gone by my next three month check up!!
Two weeks ago I started chemotherapy for the fifth time. I should be freaked out, but I'm not. Can I possibly be used to this insanity? My only question is how much can one body take? I know I am strong, but I also know that I am not invincible.
I have one thing that is constantly keeping me fighting. My kids. Taylor is only 11 years old. I couldn't bear the thought of Raquel, Jordan and Phillip going through their teenage years with out me, now 17 years later, I feel the same fear for her.
For the past 10 months since I finished my last round of chemo, I have been watching my tumor markers rise. They finally hit the point that chemo was started.
Death doesn't scare me. Leaving my family terrifies me.
That being said, the past two weeks I have been on a mission to find what is triggering my recurrences. Yes, I am BRCA1 positive. That is a predisposed genetic mutation for breast and ovarian cancer. But five times. Really. It sounds ridiculous even to me as it exits my own mouth.
I have been researching foods, herbs, and everything in between. There are convincing arguements out there for so many things. A person could go broke trying everything that is "proven" to cure cancer.
I am open to listening to anyone's theory. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ha! We all know that isn't true. I have plenty to say about many things. As I've aged I have learned to tame my tongue and think before I speak. Now as I am aging more, I know my experiences do help others. So today I am starting a blog.
This is a carry over from my Facebook postings and will allow me to go more in depth without "wearing out my welcome" with my FB friends who could care less what happy things I am talking about or wonder how I can possibly remain happy and have a positive attitude when my life is shall we say...not ordinary.
It's so funny because growing up in a small town I prayed about never wanting to be ordinary. I was determined to make a difference and I hated mediocrity. Now I can honestly say I have had that prayer answered. Not really in the fashion I had "thought" it would be, but as we know we should pray and be specific.
I am a four time cancer survivor. I have been happily married and not so happily divorced and remarried again and happily divorced and remarried yet again. I have had a career producing television that I am proud of. I have four amazing children of my own. Three amazing stepdaughters and a child who God saw fit to bring into my life and she too is claimed as "mine".
I have had an amazingly difficult life filled with many joyous moments and many painful times. But I can never say it has been an ordinary life.
Currently I am a professional speaker nationally about surviving cancer, educating anyone who will listen about the BRCA gene test that saved my life. I am also the Founder of Moms with Cancer. A great 501 (c) (3) organization that was started to help other Moms who were being treated for a cancer diagnosis.
I have met the most beautiful people through cancer. I never in any way wanted my life to revolve around something that destroys people, families and friends. My life does revovle around cancer on a daily basis. This is a fact I have to accept. I can fight it and be mad and miserable or I can accept this truth and do positive things with it. I choose to be happy.
If it is not others cancer it is my own. I am ever the optimist. Now I know for certain that this can be and in my life is welcomed as a chronic disease. I will do chemo as many times as I need to. I will surgically remove any parts that are a threat to my life and I will certainly walk around bald with my head held high and a smile on my face.
I have much more living to do. I still have goals. I will always have more to do and not enough time no matter how I feel. That is what this blog is about... my commitment to No Ordinary Life!