October 06, 2009

Cancer Milestones...

So, I created this blog in order to keep my friends and family up-to-date with my progress and with my life --- I realize, I've been failing miserably at keeping it up. Sometimes it is so difficult to stay in touch with all of the people in my life who care about me and who want to be informed of my well-being. I created this site not only to allow people to "be in the know" and to leave encouraging comments of support, but also as a way for me to work through my own feelings about my disease and the ups and downs that come along with it.

One of my latest goals has been to maintain a "normal routine". I've made some progress, but I've also been forced to face the fact that cancer is NOT normal, and because of this fact it makes maintaining a completely normal routine impossible. I'm forcing myself to realize and accept that while fighting this disease my life is going to be messy and inconsistent. I've figured out there is only so much I can do to change this. My plans are forced to change at the drop of a dime, making me feel at times that I have no control over my life whatsoever. This lack of control is one of the most difficult things for me. Prior to cancer I was used to having 100% complete control over my life, but not with cancer!!

So although I've been slacking B-I-G-T-I-M-E with the updates, I assure you that is going to change - Starting now. (I know, I know, how many times have you heard that before?)

Over the past few months I've experienced many what I have decided to call "Cancer Milestones". So, I guess cancer and my current treatment is the logical place to start. As far as the treatment progression (or lack thereof), as of right now we are at a sort of temporary stand-still. After almost two months of the immunotherapy clinical trial regimen my body decided it was not going to tolerate it any longer. I developed some very severe (and WAY abnormal side effects.) As of last week I was taken off the drugs and given a 7 day break. I will resume the same immunotherapy treatment tomorrow with a decreased dosage and longer breaks between the cycles. If all goes well, hopefully I will be able to continue this treatment and my body won't react in crazy ways. Prior to the abnormal side-effects that developed with this trial over time I found this particular treatment to be the easiest on my body thus far. Through the duration of this regimen the extent of my discomfort didn’t normally progress any further than muscle aches and extreme fatigue. (Much better considering all of the other treatments and some of their horrible side effects I have experienced.) I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these stupid cancer cells decide to finally give up. Or to at least not increase and spread to any new locations.

As many of you already know, I am back in Ohio with my family – as of right now while I continue to fight this it is definitely the best place for me. I really do need the support and care from my family members. As hard as it is to be back at times, I have wonderful family and friends here. I get by reminding myself that this is not permanent and it is the best solution for me right now. Though true friends sometimes seem few and far between, I would give the world for the few I do have - they are simply amazing. Thank you.

Now for the GOOD NEWS. I officially got the “okay” from my doctors to begin lifting weights and training again (with the agreement that I would listen to my body and not push too hard.) For those of you who know me personally, you know this probably will be a little bit difficult for me, but I cannot tell you how happy I was to hear this news! It certainly turned my day around today. I will begin training with Scott Vickery here in Fremont at his gym tomorrow. As for today, I ran the first significant distance since the day I was diagnosed, almost TWO years ago. I got on the treadmill and ran almost 2 miles, and I feel GOOD! I'm hoping to eventually be able to run some local races again. I can't explain how amazing it feels to know that I have at least a little bit of control over my body again. Once I’m back into a little bit of shape I may try a few classes at the YMCA – I know my aunt is the instructor of one in particular that I would love to try. I'm probably getting a little too far ahead of myself as I am no where near conditioned enough to participate yet, but hopefully I will get to that stage sooner than later.

I'm even excited enough to post this post-run picture of myself!! (Now THAT is rare for me.)I also start school again as of Monday. Due to my health insurance requirements I have to be a full-time student – so here I go again!!! It's hard for me to believe today that only a week ago I was bored out of my mind – I definitely don’t foresee that being an issue for a while!

October 15th will be another “Cancer Milestone” It will be the two year mark since my original diagnosis – not quite as positive as the other "Cancer Milestones" above, but it's there just the same. I look back and I cannot believe it’s been TWO years!! Once again, looking at the positive side, when I was diagnosed they told me I had 4-6 months to live, and I’m STILL HERE & STILL FIGHTING! I am determined to beat this disease and continue to advocate for this fight!!!

Thank you everyone for your continuous support and encouragement. I cannot tell you the difference it makes, especially on the bad days when motivation and positive energy is difficult to come by. THE FIGHT ISN'T OVER!!!

I will continue to update with my status & progress. I’d love to hear from everybody!! Definitely leave some comments!!!