Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Life Changing Diagnosis

I am a 46 yr old busy mother of four and I've been married to my college sweetheart for 24 years.  It's been a crazy ride for most of our marriage.  Being a military family, we are always on the go and life is ever changing.  But, nothing could have prepared us for the biggest change we'd ever have to make and the words that we heard coming from the oncologists mouth in June of 2015.  "You have stage IV breast cancer...  there is no cure...  we're going to do everything we can to give you as much time as possible"...  These are the words that haunt me every day now.
This was supposed to be a year full of celebrations and milestones.  My third child was graduating from High School, we had a lovely vacation planned to Key West, I had big plans to spend some quality time with my daughter before she headed off to college.  We had shopping to do, plans to make, memories to be made.  But, with the sounds of those haunting words that came from the Dr. that all changed in an instant.  Suddenly our world was now being dictated to us by Cancer and all that comes along with a terminal diagnosis.  Instead of lying on a sandy beach in Florida, most of my summer was spent running back and forth to the hospital where I will be receiving care for the rest of my life.  There were scans, blood draws, biopsies, ports to be installed and treatment plans to make.  Not the plans I wanted to make but sometimes we don't get to choose our paths in life.  Sometimes they are chosen for us. 
If you're wondering how this happened, well I'll tell you...  I was perfectly healthy, always got my yearly mammogram, always did my self-checks, but despite all of my efforts I am still terminal because my cancer is a type of cancer that is virtually undetectable by mammogram and doesn't feel like a lump.  It's called Infiltrative Lobular Carcinoma...  and it's a sneaky little bastard.  By the time it reared it's ugly head it had already spread to my lymph nodes and into my spine, clavicle, rib cage, pelvic and ileac bone.  In the cancer world this is called bone mets.  What does this mean?  It means my running days are over...  it means a lot of things I used to enjoy are now no longer in the cards.  It means I will need to re-invent a new life for myself that keeps my bones from fracturing so that I can live as active a life as possible. 
This is a confusing disease and extremely unpredictable.  The oncologist says that there was a time that MBC patients were given a grim 2-3 years prognosis.  But, with new medications and clinical trials she can now give me an easy 5-10 years if I respond well to medications.  That being said...  cancer is unpredictable and does what it wants.  So, despite the potential years ahead of me there is never any guarantee.  And, to be honest, at age 46...  10 years really doesn't seem that long.  Especially when we always hope for much longer. 
I decided to start this blog because well,  I am a blogger...  I was already using my blogging skills to promote my favorite books.  So, I decided I needed to use my talents to help spread the word about MBC and what it can mean for those who wake up every day prepared for battle.  Because that's what it means to have a terminal diagnosis...  you fight EVERY DAY so that you can have as many moments possible with those that you love. 
I hope that you will follow along on my journey, and I hope that you will help spread knowledge about this disease so that others can learn from my experience.  Because at the end of the day...  knowledge is power! 

12 comments:

  1. Awesome, beautiful, and brave! I'm so proud that you are my friend!

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  2. Praying for you and your family everyday! You are an inspiration to me not to take a single day for granted.. Sending much love your way!

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  3. Rebecca von GillernOctober 1, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    Kathy- Though I am no where near you physically and am only seeing the pieces and parts of your thoughts you've chosen to share on FB - and now here - I'm just so struck by how bravely you've handled all of this. None of us know what tomorrow may bring - but we tend to live as if we do and as if we are powerful enough to change whatever might be in our path. Your bravery in dealing with this huge change in your path and in your concept of what your life is to be is very touching. I am with you in spirit and love and prayer!

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    1. Thanks so much Rebecca... brave because I have to be but brave nonetheless!

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  4. I just wrote a response that got eaten by the internet gremlins. Basically, I said I admire your strength, will, and sense of purpose. Also, that much like the IT world, that in the world of medicine, 10 years are like dog years in terms of new advances. So the prospects that are before you now, at this very moment, will be quadruple in that time frame.

    I've always heard that half the battle in these instances lies in the spirit. The mind. And the soul. From reading your words, it's clear you've got half the battle whipped. The physical/medical is the other half. And in that respect, I'm equally prayerful and hopeful.

    You know I've got you, lady. In mind, in prayer, in spirit, and in love. <3 <3 <3

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    1. Gotta' hate those gremlins! My spirit was a little down in the beginning but now it is strong... let the battle commence!

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  5. You are AMAZING! Your words will help so many people <3

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  6. Kat, You are one inspirational person and one of the strongest individuals I have ever met. Your blog and personal journey will help so many others. They may not have a voice or the words to convey how they are coping but you are doing this for them. You are fighting back each day to have the Best Days. Cancer can touch you but not your soul. We will face this challenge with you to keep you strong. Your best reading buddie Las Vegas Dream Girl Robin

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  7. Took me a very long time to accept my diagnosis as well. I believe I cried every day for the first 6 to 8 months--that was April 2013 and I am still here! Nice to have found you on #itsabouttimeMBC on this 13th day of October, Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

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    1. Thank you for sharing Lisa... yes, it takes a long time to find a place of acceptance with this Dx. I'm in a much better place now than I was 16 months ago. Happy to have found you as well. This is an important day for all of us living with MBC.

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Thanks ahead for your thoughts, comments and support... :)