The road not taken – live each day as if it’s your last Jan 2012 – ??

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We got a heart breaking call yesterday that against what we were told, a baseline heart MRI I had last Thursday shows a tiny tumor in my right ventricle. I KNOW how you feel friends. I told you it was a roller coaster. Welcome to the low, nauseating part. I feel sick.

I had some cardiac abnormality on my PET scan, so I went for an echocardiogram. The cardiologist told us that my echocardiogram was GREAT and we had “Absolutely nothing to worry about”. But he ordered the MRI anyway just to complete the full workup. He assured us he’d call us Friday to confirm, but he felt POSITIVE there would be NOTHING there to see, or to treat. Tuesday my oncologist told us he didn’t know WHY I was even having the cardiac MRI – it seemed so clear there was NOTHING there – and to go out and CELEBRATE!!

Friday – no call. Monday– I message the doc’s office – no call, feeling panic set in. By Tuesday I KNOW something is wrong. There is a tiny tumor (my oncologist cannot even FIND it on the MRI) hiding in the right ventricle of my heart. It is probably inoperable; we are waiting to hear from the surgeon. My doc is trying to get me into a clinical trial for a drug that boosts the immune system. He says it’s showing great promise – with few side effects, and there is a spot open. This way we can try it and save the new melanoma drugs for later. Since they are approved, they will always be there, whereas this spot in the trial won’t be available for long.

What a mess. My oncologist was truly upset to find out there was something in the heart, after he’d given us the green light. The upside is that it’s so small, it is not affecting me in ANY way, and we’ve found it. It breaks my heart to have to tell my friends and family, especially my kids. We are waiting to tell the kids until we know definitely what I will be doing for treatment.

Last week I met some FANTASTIC people at a cancer support group at our new church. There was even a woman there who is a 40 year advanced melanoma survivor. There can’t be too many of those around. Her original melanoma was very similar to mine – many lymph nodes removed. We talked about what kind of compressions stockings we wear (same leg) and wear we buy them (doesn’t everyone?). She has ELEVEN grandkids and is doing great. I was so excited to meet her and I was so thankful that God put her in my path. Hope.

Don’t we all find comfort when we think He is hearing our prayers? Maybe this is just the best He can do for me right now. I swear I heard him say to me yesterday “I’m really sorry you have to go through this.” He built this beautiful world for us, but with the good comes the bad.

Here I am almost 2 years into my battle having had 14 cancerous lymph nodes and a bone tumor removed. I’ve got options, a great oncologist who truly cares, I feel GREAT (physically anyway – ha ha!) and I have A LOT of FIGHT left in me!! Last week when we thought I was NED, I wasn’t jumping up and down, but reflective. I think I knew if it wasn’t this scan, it would be the next. Eradicating the melanoma would be ideal of course, and I’ve always had high expectations, however the goal for now is to find a way to contain it and live with it. It’s a different way of thinking, and it’s taking some getting used to.

After I got off the phone with my oncologist at 8:30 last night, I pulled up the Ringling Brothers website to buy tickets and Alan asked me if I was running away. At this point I’d be willing to try it if I thought it would help. I believe in the power of prayer so spread the word. This girl needs some

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fiddle-dee-dee! Tomorrow is another day!

An Oktoberfest-tent-sized, enormous thank you to everyone that has reached out to us to lift our spirits and say a prayer. Especially to our friends at Overbrook showering our kids with love. We told the older kids – it was and is difficult. For the little guy, Cancer Mom is all he knows, so what is there to tell? I’ve read blogs from folks who say their cancer has made them such a better person and they wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m not saying they are lying, but I’d give mine up in a heartbeat. I wonder if they have young children.

Looking at the hundreds of crosses in the school lawn remembering lost babies, I wonder how can life be worth so little and yet so precious?

I am so much more at peace with it all. We are fortunate they found the tumor now, rather than 3 months from now. As my friend Emily pointed out, they could’ve easily skipped ordering the cardiac MRI since both the oncologist and the cardiologist were convinced nothing was there. But now we have more time to do something about it. One of my very good friends Maura is the first to rush over with food and I texted her the other day to ask if it was too early to place a take-out order. I’m feeling more like myself. Rumors of me doing this for the free meals are completely unfounded.

After getting a huge sales pitch about how exciting this clinical trial drug might be, they called us down there today ASAP, I signed the papers, they checked my bloodwork and THEN told me I didn’t qualify. I KNOW, I thought the same thing. Didn’t somebody miss a step here? GRRR! I am over it. I’ve already moved on. I am accepting the things I cannot change (thank you Serenity Prayer!). As I left Vandy today I told the doctor and the nurse “Now get back to work!” Seriously though, please bring your “A” game next time.

It is 62 and sunny and Pepper and I just walked about 3/4 of a mile and now she is barking at vicious looking strangers as they walk past our house. It is a beautiful day and I feel GREAT. Still lots of options out there including another trial, possibly surgery, or the two drugs approved last year. The circus left already though, so that’s one less choice to make. It was wonderful, but I guess I’m getting old because I felt sorry for the animals. I think it was Parker’s best day ever and I was thrilled to be there to share it with him and Caroline. Caroline is more likely to join up anyway, she can do the wave with her eyebrows. It’s hysterical.

We have an appt in two weeks with my Vandy oncologist and in the mean time I might get another opinion, or not. For today though I’m done. Fiddle dee-dee – I’ll think about it tomorrow, because tomorrow is another day. Besides, today we have soccer practice.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sending you guys a quick update since several people have asked. You are more impatient that I am! I’m bad but when I hit 40 I finally quick peeking at my Christmas gifts under the tree. Well, mostly. Alan still doesn’t trust me.

I sent all my updated records to my doctor at MD Anderson and heard again how rare I am, in my genetic tumor type, and where my tumor is. MD Anderson and Vandy are both saying no surgery right now. So that’s a relief. I am not a fan of the slicing and dicing. My quarterly check-up with my orthopedic surgeon last week was great – he said my bones look FANTASTIC!

So I am looking at drug therapy and hopefully these brilliant oncology minds can confer and come up with a plan for which drug might work best, or if there is a clinical trial out there somewhere I can qualify for. Being rare means there’s no money in curing you and the ten others like you, so it limits my options. My blood work is still wonky from my biochemotherapy so that excludes me from some others.

Some of the side effects of these drugs are pretty nasty. Like centrifugal gentrification, rhetorical delusions, or clown feet. Maybe I’m not remembering that right. But my life is full of blessings and I have options, which is a wonderful thing.

Until then our family will sally forth as normal until otherwise diverted. I’m still feeling great and have lots of hope. I hope to get a plan next week. I will never, ever give up.

Monday, February 13, 2012 12:55 PM, CST

Now we have a plan!

I’m feeling better now that we’ve met with Dr. Sosman and we have a plan. In two weeks he will repeat the CT scan and MRI and see if “IT” has grown. If “IT” has, then he will most likely start me on Yervoy, which is one of the two melanoma drugs approved last year. Yervoy is pretty cool since it boosts your immune system and teaches your body to fight the cancer off by itself, even after you’ve quit taking it.

Maybe “IT” isn’t growing. Maybe it’s just hanging out in there. Maybe it will be gone. I guess you cling to straws when that’s all you have. And I have an entire drawer full of straws. And bushel-baskets full of HOPE!!

I know we can find a way to exist together because I don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s been a bitter bill to swallow that I’m stuck with this disease, that I’m not going to “beat it”. My type-A personality just isn’t used to losing. That being said however, we will do our best to figure out a way to manage this thing as a chronic disease and find a way to keep it in check. I will fight, fight, fight and I will never, ever give up.

And in the meantime I will thank Him for every day and not let “IT” ruin a single one of them. I don’t want to know the numbers of this or the percent chance of that. Only GOD knows what will happen to me or any of us.

My prognosis is this: We will be having fondue, finishing up some painting, catching up with some old friends, and enjoying some soccer this week – all as a family. Also, I have this absolutely hilarious little Valentine’s day surprise for Alan, my best friend for the last 22 years. It’s gonna be great!

It’s been two years ago TODAY that we lost Dad to melanoma. I really, hate melanoma. I miss him.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feb 28th update

Sometimes cancer is just ridiculous. Last week they accessed my chemo port to inject me with radioactive garbage for my scans. I had a needle and tube hanging out of my chest all morning. I wanted to go home in between and I had to promise not to “shoot up” between my scans. “I’m just trying to get healthy here!” I told the nurse. But she swore me to secrecy that I was leaving Vandy. I quit sugar and started lowering my carbs about six months ago to try to eat healthier. I am a sugar addict. If there was a way to snort a cupcake, I would’ve found it. But seriously, you can trust me to leave for lunch.

Just when I’ve quit trying to understand this world, He decides to shine on me with a little understanding. I’m a lucky girl. I’ve been praying and praying for Him to show me what He wants me to be doing. I’ve heard it twice in the last few days from two completely separate sources – my job is to get my children into Heaven. I never had it put to me quite this way, but it seems so obvious, that if I expect to see my children in Heaven, I need to do a better job of equipping them in how to get there. I’m reading a book called The Other Side by Michael H. Brown. It’s all about what happens when we die, what the church says, and accounts of near-death experiences. It’s quite an eye-opener. I started thinking about my accountability. I’d hate to get to the other side and have God ask me “I gave you a beautiful Earth and family, and a book of instructions. Why didn’t you do what I told you to?” Yikes.

At mass on Sunday the priest talked about how rainbows are God’s way of reminding us of his covenant with us for eternal life. The resurrection is His greatest gift. If you’ve been following along through this ridiculous cancer journey, you’ll remember that rainbows seem to have a thing for me (Sept 27, 2010 journal if you’re curious). It was one of those “Hey – I’m talking to YOU!” God-moments at mass. I LOVE those. So the next time you see a rainbow, think of how we all have the opportunity to truly live forever. I’m paraphrasing this from The Other Side“ If you’re reading this, you still have a chance.” Forever. Over the Rainbow. Are you there God? It’s me, Amy. Thank you very much for the gift but what you’ve asked me to do is going to take a loooong time. Years. I am NOT DONE down here.

I don’t know my scan results from last week, or my treatment plan. I was supposed to find out Monday but after sorting out the kids after school and successfully negotiating the M. C. Escher-like labyrinth of Vanderbilt parking, I checked in and was told my oncologist was out sick. So they’ve rescheduled me for March 5th. It would’ve been nice if they’d called, but I guess they just like seeing me. That puts me two months out now from my “3 month” check-up scans in January. I’m viewing it as a WEEK OFF. Also I’m hoping that there’s a good reason for the (latest) delay – that maybe, like so many things, there is just no way of understanding it now.

Understand this though, if you leave your doughnuts unattended, I cannot be held responsible for what evil might befall them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Live it like you’re dying – because you are!!

I had a great check in today with my oncologist. My recent scans showed no new melanoma and the tiny tumor I have has grown only a barely measurable amount since my last scans. How my perspective has changed.

Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!

I am starting a brand new clinical drug trial in a couple of weeks using a drug that is in a new class being widely developed and tested for different cancers right now – it’s called an anti- PDL1 drug. This is supposed to help train my immune system to fight off the cancer itself, by getting these rampant cells to die off like they are supposed to instead of living and growing and mutating forever.

I am all for it! I am very happy to get to do a drug trial. I’d love to be able have the doctors learn something than can help people, plus it gives me more options in terms of treatment and living longer. Yes, selfishly, I really want to help numero uno most of all. I believe there’s nothing wrong with that.

That being said, I’m starting to wonder if it’s not how long you’re here, it’s how you live it, that matters in the end. I’m working to come to a peace about dying and it’s so soothing. It’s only natural after all. I think it will make my everyday living even better. That being said, I will never give up fighting for my life.

It sounds like this trial is set to go, with hurdles mostly jumped over, and for that I am very thankful. Many of these similar drugs are showing promising results AND are well tolerated by the patients. We are full speed ahead, the #1 patient at Vandy to start on this trial. I will let you know how it goes when we start in a few weeks. Until then, I will be enjoying my crazy family every day, like the regular person I am.

Many thanks for many prayers, I am constantly amazed at all the responses, and how far and wide people are touched by my story. I think of myself as nothing special. Well, I am pretty awesome actually. You’re lucky to know me.

Update those prayer chains – now it’s time to pray that this new drug works. I know it can happen. I am ready to battle and win!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29th update

The crinkle of Easter dresses, the taste of honeysuckle, yellow forsythia and daffodils bright and blooming like the sun, the smell of our fertile Earth renewing itself again for another year. Watching the little leaf buds unfold and stretch out to drink in the warm rays, right before my eyes. Spring is my favorite season.

I’ve made it another year. It’s been over two years since my diagnosis and I’ve had many more good days than bad. I’ve had wonderful times with my family and friends and blessings too numerous to count. Every morning I awake and say “Thank You Jesus, for the gift of today”. I try to put it all in His hands. There is no cheating death – no one gets out of here alive. I’m just looking to push that return ticket out a bit.

Despite being delayed again, I heard from Vandy today that my clinical trial will move forward. I will go in for tests and scans and if they don’t find anything that will exclude me from the trial, the information goes to the drug company, Genentech, and they have to approve me. THEN I can start getting the drug, which is an infusion (IV), one day, every 3 weeks. My oncologist, who is the BEST, tells me not to get discouraged, this is a good drug, showing some good responses, and that we will start something soon.

I’ve had a lot of folks ask me why I’m trying to do a clinical trial. It’s because my oncologist feels that for me, starting with this trial makes sense, and I trust him. There were two new drugs approved for melanoma last year. Neither one is great, but they are much better than the options I had two years ago. I can always try those later. A clinical trial drug just gives me another option. So we continue to wait and to pray that I will get on the trial. And that the drug will work.

Thank you for continuing to pray for me and my family. Seriously though folks, you don’t have to keep tell me how inspiring and fabulous I am. Give yourself a little credit. I think most anyone would rise to the challenge in my shoes. You don’t want to though. Put sunscreen on your shopping list and make sure your teenage daughter isn’t tanning before prom. Ten years from now, she could be me.

Have a joyous Easter

Friday, April 13, 2012

Seeking – Nunchucks and Ninja attire!

After slogging through 67 tests this week and multiple successful trips through the Vanderbilt parking maze, I didn’t get into the clinical trial I was hoping for. Genentech wouldn’t take me because of my heart tumor. It’s so important to have a back-up plan.

Our family is a denim-clad sort so we’ve gotten pretty accustomed to going to mass on Saturday nights, which you could say, is slightly casual. So you’d think I’d prepare for my twice-yearly Easter/Christmas ritual where we are all done to the nines. Nope. Since our daughter had a new dress and shoes, I had it all covered. She’s our problem dresser. Usually.

The family is waiting in the car and I’m hop scotching out the door to the garage, left shoe, right shoe, earrings in hand, and I think, I’ve got it. Nope. Two steps out of the car at church I realize that my slip is falling off under my dress. The ladies room investigation reveals the following: 1) elastic has completely given up in the (year?) since I’ve worn it. 2) I have no purse to hide it in 3) family is now safe-guarding those coveted Easter pew seats in the sanctuary, with the car keys.

I definitely had a dilemma on my hands. So I tucked it deeply into my granny panties, crossed my fingers, and paraded to my seat. About midway through the service I lean over and whisper in Alan’s ear. “My slip might fall off as we walk up to communion, but it’s ok! I have a plan! If it falls off, I will discreetly step out of it and keep walking. Just keep going and pretend like nothing happened.” What support did my spouse give? “Nope. I am heading for the door.” Then, after a pause, “You, my dear, are a beautiful mess.” As we exited the pew I glanced back at him and whispered “For better or worse…”

I didn’t need it, but I had a backup plan. Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got. My cardiologist says my heart function still looks great and he has found a surgeon at Methodist in Houston that has a lot of experience with cardiac tumors and feels he could remove it, if it comes to that. It’s now 23mm x 24mm and they say the center of the tumor is dead. We don’t know if that’s good or bad, or what it means. It’s frustrating to find out how much they DON’T know about cancer. I am gearing up to win another round with cancer. I must be winning. I am still here, I feel great, and I have so many things to look forward to like my brother’s wedding in June. And I still have options.

My oncologist has ordered a drug called Zelboraf for me, which I can hopefully start in the next week or so. I will be taking it for a while to shrink the heart tumor, then switch to Yervoy, the other melanoma approved drug last year. Zelboraf is a pill approved last year for melanomas with a certain genetic mutation and it works well, quickly, for most of these people, for about six months, before the melanoma outsmarts it. He thinks it will work for me. Yervoy is an immune booster that works more slowly but can work for a long time (still lots of people alive, so we don’t know how long!), all throughout the body, when it works. Don’t even start me on the side effects. Zelboraf makes you nearly allergic to the sun. One Vandy patient got sunburned knuckles through the windshield driving in his car, for starters. I’ll be the one on the soccer sidelines in complete head to toe Ninja attire. I need to work on my nun chucking. Or is it nun chuckery? HIIIII – YAAA!

I pray that this treatment plan will work and that our insurance is still generous with me. The costs of these drugs are disgusting. I don’t know how the drug companies can get away with it. We are talking $9400/month for one and $80,000 for a 12 week cycle of the other. I am so blessed beyond measure with 18 years (and counting) of marriage to my best friend, our wonderful friends and family, and our three healthy, beautiful children. Most importantly I know that although my disease progresses, He has shown me that He is by my side. Thank you sincerely for your continued prayers and I wish His peace with each of you through your day.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New ways to embarrass your kids

According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, the chances of getting melanoma is skyrocketing. They looked at people ages 18-39 diagnosed with melanoma between 1970 and 2009. For men, the increase was four-fold. For women, it was eight-fold.

http://newsblog.mayoclinic.org/2012/03/26/skin-cancer-news/

It’s so sad to hear that kids are still tanning. As I’ve said before, I didn’t ever visit a tanning bed, but we all enjoyed the sun. I knew girls who used baby oil and even Crisco for quicker/better tanning. It makes me sick to think about it. We just didn’t know it was dangerous. Now there is just no excuse.

I’m on day two of the new melanoma drug ZELBORAF. It targets one particular part of the cancer cell and stops it from growing out of control, while leaving the healthy cells alone. So it’s WAY better than chemo. It’s a pill, so I’m thrilled to be able to take it at home. Melanoma patients have so few options, this drug was approved last year even though it is still in Phase 3 clinical trials. A little scary to know you can just take it home. Thank the Lord for our wonderful insurance. You’d think for $11,000 a month the pills would be sparkly, at least. The multi-page instructions included “avoid tanning beds”. Unbelievable.

The side effects aren’t too bad so far– some nausea, fatigue, fever, dizziness and I’m working through those, trying different meds. It’s nothing, anywhere, like inpatient biochemo. That was some awful, nasty stuff. Alan is ready to get my windows and windshield tinted drug-dealer dark to protect me from the sun. I have to be careful. I could get a second or third degree burn in the sun without sunscreen. I’m gonna need a few hats. I’m thinking Minnie Pearl style, with tag. It’s so Nashville.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think cancer patients should get a pass from the everyday stuff while battling, but we don’t. This morning I trudged through the school looking for the 382nd thing my son has lost this year. Last week he misplaced a full-sized acoustic guitar, in the case, that we’d borrowed from a friend. He found that. How do you misplace something as big as yourself?

So as I’m slamming his locker shut empty-handed, I get this big wave of nausea. I think to myself, this is what my life has come to. I’m going to be on the floor beside the 7th grade lockers sifting through my own vomit for $200 worth of cancer pills as the entire school heads to classes. I’m sure not wasting or missing a dose. But fortunately it didn’t come to that. I’m feeling better already and I just know this new drug is working away in there, tearing that cancer to pieces. We won’t know for six long weeks.

Thank you God for this beautiful spring day and for keeping me from upchucking in the Junior High hallway.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sure feels like chemo to me!

We had a great time last weekend visiting with family and watching our daughter in a soccer tournament. I believe one of the most rewarding moments of parenthood is watching your child work hard and beam with pride at his or her achievement. The new cancer drug and I were getting along pretty well. Nausea under control, fatigue and fever were bearable, but I had some red areas on my face and I thought I hadn’t been careful enough in the sun. I’d been wearing 100spf sunblock, covered with clothes and my dorky hat, and staying in the shade, but maybe this wasn’t enough. By Monday the verdict was in – it was a rash caused by the new super-drug. It got worse, it spread. I went back and forth with the oncologist’s office trying to halt it. I had itchy, painful, bumps in every crack and crevice and all over my torso. By Thursday it was everywhere and was unbearable. No cream or drug could touch this rash and I hadn’t slept much all week. I was putting ice packs in places not intended by the manufacturer and found that a lukewarm oatmeal bath helped some. If I’d had a snorkel, I would’ve submerged my head in it. This isn’t a good long-term solution however.

I felt like I’d made a pact with the devil. Of course I want to live, but what about quality? At what cost? There are good days and bad days. There are thankful and angry days. Lots of times I’ve thanked God that it’s me and not one of my family, or a friend that has to battle this. Because it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m one tough chick and I can do it.

I can look them straight in the eye and tell them that although I have a heart tumor right now I AM choosing the R (Resuscitate) instead of DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). I believe in my oncologist and this drug and I have hope and faith in the Lord and in Jesus Christ.

Everyone was so excited about Zelboraf when it came out and I’m lucky enough to be in the half of melanoma patients who can take it. It’s in pill form and you take it every day until it quits working, which averages 6 months. Some of the side effects stick with you since you keep taking it. One of the most common side effects is squamous cell carcinoma. It causes another kind of cancer, but it’s not nearly as deadly.

We interrupt this posting for a public service announcement. Mark your calendars. The second annual Music City Miles for Melanoma will be held by the Melanoma Research Foundation on Oct 6th, 2012. I would LOVE to see you there. We can do better than Zelboraf!!

My Thursday appointment turned into a hospital admission. Diagnosis: Severe (Grade 4) allergic reaction to chemotherapy. It’s rare, but it happens. By now I had a rash, fever, chills, and I was exhausted. After one day and night of IV fluids, steroids, and a cocktail of other meds I am home and feeling much, much better. Next week we will start all over on Zelboraf again, at a lower dose. If it’s causing this much trauma on the outside then it must be really kicking cancer’s butt on the inside.

Monday, May 7, 2012 1:48 PM, CDT

Thelma & Louise meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I absolutely love my hedge trimmer. Alan got it two years ago in between biochemo treatments, when I was nearly incapacitated by the drugs. I fired it up in the kitchen near the kids, Texas Chainsaw Massacre style, (BWAA HAA HAA) then proceeded to take my frustrations out on the shrubbery for five minutes, followed by completely collapsing and resting for what was probably two days. They made him promise not to buy me a chainsaw. I love the feeling of power that comes with immediate results. Don’t we all? Fighting cancer is so frustrating and requires patience I will never possess. The treatments leave your body damaged and wounded, and then there’s the indignity of it all.

My last day on Zelboraf almost two weeks ago I ruined my 20 year near-perfect driving streak by running right into a parked car. It wasn’t too bad, a fender bender, but I still have no idea where that car came from. I spent the morning of my son’s sixth birthday with my husband hovering over me, threatening to take me to the ER because my arms were on FIRE with the last part of the allergic reaction. And I was already ON steroids, plus whatever was cycling through me from the IVs three days before. I’m not complaining, I haven’t been to the ER since I was eight, but that wasn’t much fun. Fortunately more steroids did the trick. Unfortunately I’ve lost ten pounds in the last couple of weeks which is great if you’re Heidi Klum, but sadly, I’m not. Sadly for lots of reasons.

I lasted seven days on Zelboraf and now am almost two weeks into recovering from the allergic reaction to it. Seven days on something I was hoping to take for six months or more – probably not one for the WIN column. As I said, it’s not technically chemo, but you can call it that if you want to. It sure felt alot like chemo. Someone actually argued this point with me. It’s called a targeted therapy. Think of it like weed killer, which you have to keep spraying every day to keep the weeds in check. It can keep melanoma in check for a while, but only if you keep taking it. Being on, then coming off the steroids wasn’t a walk in the park but they worked. The rash is gone and I’m almost back to normal – whatever that is.

When I don’t feel well it is so hard to trust in God, my doctors, even my own mind. We are so blessed by our friends. Friends who remind us how amazing it is that I’ve made it since September doing pretty much what I want, when I want. Friends who take the kids to soccer games or school, bring dinner, or just won’t take no for an answer. I can be (a little) hard-headed. I am graced by countless prayers and thoughtful acts every day. It’s incredible. Thank you all so very much.

There was a clinical trial I had prayed to get into in January. I sobbed and sobbed when they wouldn’t accept me because of my red blood cell counts. I heard that not one of those patients has responded to the drug since January. I am blessed. I head back to the oncologist in two days, and I think he’ll probably start me back on Zelboraf but with a lower dose. As many times as I get knocked down, I will just get back up again. My cardiologist is working up a plan for surgery as a backup and we pray the cancer isn’t spreading. I had multiple side effects PLUS an overnight at Vandy AND fender damage, but I’m gearing up for battle again – trying to decide if I’m more Thelma or Louise this time. For today though, I’m taking it out on the shrubbery.

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