Bald, Beauty, Bethel, Blessings

I was stripped bare yesterday.

Then I was moved.

I was a puddle and broken in the morning, and ended the day in victory.

I woke up, stood in my bathroom, and rob shaved all the rest of the what little hair I had left as I sobbed. He just keep going, and I don’t know how I was so blessed to have such a strong man. It was one of the hardest yet most loving moment we’ve ever had.

I looked in the mirror and cried even harder. I looked like my uncle Larry, at the end of his life, before the cancer stole him from us. I went into the detox bath and sent a picture to my family. My brother Rob always knows how to turn it around. When I said I looked like uncle Larry at the end, he said no…

I look like my dad at the beginning.

They went through the cancer war at the same time. Somehow, by some miracle, my dad lived.

So that’s the look I’m going for.

My poppa who was bald always said, “God only made so many perfect heads. The rest he covered with hair.”

Thank you, Poppa.

Quinn came into the bathroom to see me, and he was ok. The first thing he did was offer to shave his head. I told him he didn’t have to, but man, I love him for offering. He said I dont even have to wear a scarf now. It was the mangey dog look that was so scary.

I decided to put the picture out for everyone.

I’m not a victim.

I’m taking control, and women who showed their bald head and shared on social media gave me strength this past week. So I added my picture to their ranks, with a little help from a Snapchat eyelash filter. I figured it’s ok to get a little help.

I them spent the day on the couch resting. Claritin for bone pain from the neulasta.

A steroid to taper off from the emend drug for nausea.

Compazine for nausea.

Along with herbs and supplements and juices.

I started to eat again. It felt good to have some food in my stomach.

I was shocked to see a Boy Scout mom shave her head live on Facebook to raise money for Metavivor in my honor as well show support for two other friends. We all love this lady, Quinn especially. He couldn’t believe it, and neither could we.

My nieces softball team wore pink socks, but added teal and green shoelaces to their sneakers to make their look the Metavivor look. I sent the picture to one of the heads of Metavivor and she was so happy. The movement has begun.

The depth of love and support that has come from sharing this story is overwhelming at times.

Thank you, Silvi and Sky and Scott.

I packed my cooler and Eileen picked me up for the concert. It was just the two of us, as Johanna wasn’t feeling well. We drove in, and then the magic began.

As she parked, I went on line outside of Kings Theatre. The woman next to me struck up conversation, her husband joined her, and before I knew it, they laid hands on me and prayed for all the cancer to leave my body. It was beautiful.

The Eileen called, and we were given guest passes, skipped the line, and given special seating. The theatre was beyond amazing, and breathtaking. I’ve never even heard of it.

Then the music began.

Let me tell you… to be surrounded by young, old, black, white, men, women… all shouting and singing and raising their hands and dancing and being wide open and full of love and joy for Jesus is an experience you think would be weird…

But if you are looking for a miracle…

It fills yours soul.

I knew every single song.

They put up the lyrics so you can sing with them, and sing I did.

I danced.

I raised my arms.

I prayed out loud Over and over to be healed.

I declared the cancer leave my body, and Jesus to fill it with His healing light.

In the middle of the concert, the founder of Bethel Church and music came out to pray.

He prayed specifically for what Jesus put on his heart. Then he had everyone in the audience find someone who needed prayer and lay hands on them. Eileen was prayed over for Johanna, and kept a hand on my back. Two young girls in their twenties came over and laid hands on me and prayed like I’ve never been prayed over. I cried and cried and these two young beautiful strangers prayed for my healing and my life.

We hugged and hugged when he finished…

Then he said we would pray again.

A teacher from my district was there as well, and crystal and her friend came running over and hugged me and prayed over me.

Riverhead was in the house.

The concert began again and a man came and asked the girl in front of us to move and we had to move over. He said they needed to seats for someone special.

Then?

The man who started the church, Bill Johnson, who just led the venue in prayer sat right…in…front..of…me.

I left him alone, he stayed for a few songs, and when he got up to go backstage again, I touched his arm. He stopped and told him I was diagnosed stage four three years ago and by the grace of God I am still here. I had just had heavy chemo two days earlier and lost all my hair that morning. He looked at me, asked if cancer was still in my body, then asked to lay hands on me right then and there and pray.

The song about being moved and miracles happening was being sung all around me as this man pressed his hands on my head and arms and prayed as I cried.

Then, he left.

Eileen looked at me and we couldn’t believe it just happened.

Then we raised our hands and sang even louder.

The concert ended, and we got the book that was written by the man who is the worship leader, and also the son of the man who just prayed over me. “When God Became Real.” Brian Johnson went through a nervous breakdown, and he told his children as he went into the ambulance, that this is when God gets real.

And it’s true.

It’s when you are at your lowest, if you open your heart, God isn’t just this far away concept. Jesus isn’t just a man in the Bible, a storybook character.

If you believe, it’s real.

In John 21:25, John writes, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

We only know some of the highlights.

Just try to Imagine… how much good He did?

And think… He can still do it today.

I cling to that.

Every second, every breath.

He can still do miracles.

I dont know what is up with His timing though. I’m ready for it now.

Perhaps He still has more to teach me, so he is still carrying me down this road, stripping me even more bare, no hair, harder trials.

But he has me.

As we left the arena, we wanted to get our books signed. I saw a table, walked up and asked if it was where the signing would be…

And the person said, “Yes. You’re the first in line.”

That’s the kind of night it was.

Brian Johnson, the son of the founder, signed my book, saw the video of Johanna singing his song he and his wife wrote about his breakdown, and we left. “You’re gonna be ok” is one of the most beautiful songs you’ll ever hear.

Listen, this wasn’t just a woo woo concert. These people can sing. I think this was the best concert I’ve ever been to, hands…down.

Everyone was full of kindness and love. Everyone stood the whole time and sang and danced with no worries of being looked at. Everyone sang the right words because they put up the lyrics. The songs are all amazing, like what you would hear on the radio. Every young person should have THIS as their first concert.

It was that good.

We got into the car, I ate the eggs that I packed, took off my wig, and went to sleep once we hit the expressway.

I was so glad I went.

The name of the tour is the victory tour.

I was in the Kings Theatre.

I may be bald, but I am straightening my crown….

For I am a daughter of the King.

I am healed.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

*today is October 13. During the whole month of October… metastatic breast cancer gets one day. One freaking day. And of course its the 13th. So take a moment today and pray for all who have had, have. Or will have this disease. Then pray the research and healings happen soon.

Superhero Teacher School

Why did I go to work the day after chemo?

Because of this story.

I knew the kids in grades 1-4 wouldn’t blink an eye seeing me in a pink wig, as I wore wigs most of last year.

It’s my kinders this year that I was worried about.

They all walked in and stared. Some giggled, some asked what happened, and some looked at me like I was the most magnificent, beautiful and magical thing they have ever seen.

During writing workshop, I explained and wrote my story. Now, kindergartners are notorious copiers, and it takes imagination to write a story that no one can copy yet seems real. If I write, “I went apple picking yesterday,” suddenly the entire class went apple picking and got the same apples as me. If I said I went to Disney that weekend, I’ll get at least ten other stories saying they went to Disney. .

So yesterday I told my best story yet. I told them I went to Superhero teacher school. I even drew a brick building with no windows so no one can look in, with me doing the superhero pose outside the door. The Superhero pose is feet firmly planted, hands in fists and placed on hips, chest out, then look up to the right or left. There was actually a study that doing that pose before a task makes you more confident. We practiced the pose and I said that the pose was all I could teach them superhero school. Then I demonstrated my flying button and how if I press it, I can fly. My feet lift off the ground slowly, but I let go right before liftoff because rule number one is no flying during the day. I showed the my superhero tracker, which was the blinking green light machine on my arm so the superhero school knows my location. As for my hair, we need to change my disguise depending on my mission. Every night the superhero hair fairies will come and give me my superhero disguise for the day. I’ll never know what it is, but I hear there is purple hair, silver hair, red hair, mint hair, blonde hair, all sorts of hair.

I told them they can tell their family… but it’s a secret for everyone else. Only the kids who cone to school know about this secret superhero training I’m going through.

At lunch, my assistant principal texted me from the lunch room. Apparently my class all told him, “Mrs Stromski can FLY!!!”

Mission accomplished, friends.

I’m going to ace superhero teacher school, I think.

As the day went on, my face got redder and redder from the meds I got Thursday. I broke fast as I felt incredibly sick on the way home. I hadnt eaten since Tuesday, and had been mostly doing juice and water the week before anyway. My body needed some food fast. So I ran I to the deli before I got sick and ordered a sandwich. I’m not proud, but it was the best damn sandwich I’ve ever had. I’ll go back to eating well, but that sandwich was heaven, and my friend lisa who passed away in July was with me in spirit as I ate it on my couch.

I forgave myself.

All day long my friend Melanie sent me pictures from Washington DC. She participated in the die in, and she told me she thought of me and all my friends who have died as she laid on the front lawn along with 115 other allies and advocated for stage four. She also sent me pictures of so many other friends I’ve made who she met there. It’s a Small world if you make your heart big.

She has a huge heart, and I am so glad she is advocating for me and others.

Rob and my oncologist were in communication all afternoon about the tumor markers. Rob wanted clarification and waited until he knew he would be home for the rest of the night to tell me we got them. So after tennis, he laid down on the couch and showed me.

The dark place rushed in.

They rose drastically.

The dark place whispered, “It’s not working. Get ready to say goodbye. Look at yourself. You look like your dying.”

And it was true. More hair came out when I took off my wig and their were more bald spots. I had on a black scarf, and my face was flushed. The acid reflux was horrible all day, and the anti nausea drugs weren’t working.

But rob?

He came armed and prepared to slay the dark.

He showed me his emails back and forth with Dr Stopeck. I had been warned at the hospital that there can be a spike after the first cycle or so, due to tumor die off. I didnt expect such a large spike. But rob reminded me how soft my breast felt when Maureen examined me for Dr Stopeck, how my one breast was always burning and now it’s cooled off, how my liver pain has decreased and I can breathe deeper, and my nipple is no longer sucked into the breast.

I also sent the labs to my secret nurses and they all agreed it can be tumor die off.

He cleaned the tub for me and ran me a bath.

We figured I would keep on detoxing as much as possible.

I spent an hour and a half in the tub, and by the time I got out, I had to rinse off my body and the tub and unclog the drain.

Yup.

My little short hairs have almost all fallen off. I looked at myself in the mirror and gasped and cried. I look like a dog with mange.

I didnt want to go into the bedroom and have rob look at me. I cried as I walked in, sharing and in shock and embarrassed and mortified, and he just held me and told me I’m beautiful. He doesn’t care.

Truly.

Then kasha the wonder dog crawled up on his chest and looked at me too as I cried and we all held hands and breathed. He reminded me it is possible it’s tumor die off again. I read my new book on unbecoming and becoming and getting to know God again and again.

It talked about how storytellers are brave when talking through questions they have in life, questioning God out loud, sharing hard times, and telling the ugly and scary stories of their life as well as the beautiful.

Stories connect us.

Once you hear a story, it stays with you.

Thank you for carrying my story with you.

I’ve never even met a lot of you, or barely know you, but you want to stay for my story.

I love you all for that, and get so much strength from you and your stories I read. Every heart and like and comment I see carries me through the day.

Every single one.

There is so much ugly in this world.

You help make my world beautiful.

I’m working harder and harder on carrying Jesus with me… or letting Him carry me.

Some may wonder how can I keep such faith after everything I’ve been through?

Because faith is the light in the darkness. It lets you know that even though it’s so dark now, there is light coming. The darker the dark, the brighter the light will be when it shines on your face.

And it always is.

I’m going to ask for prayers today.

I know… I KNOW…. I am supposed to go to Brooklyn tonight for the Bethel concert. I prayed to God on Wednesday as I cried out in the shower with clumps of hair around me and as I listened to a worship song to one day be able to see them in concert. I didn’t tell anyone. The next morning I was offered a free ticket.

My friend Eileen is one of the most spiritual women I know. Her daughter Johanna and I are a bit like Elliot and ET. We both tend to go into the dark times at the same time together. She was just in the hospital again, and has had over 100 brain surgeries. Eileen said to pack a blanket and pillow, and she will drive us both in to this healing concert. She is a caregiver, and I won’t be embarrassed to sleep as she drives.

Come hell or high water, I’m going.

God wants me there.

I know I will be prayed over and filled with His healing.

I am a child of God, the daughter of a King, and He is within me.

It will be a total rest day until it’s time to go. My dad is going to the giving room to get some juices from Paula to help me detox my liver and build up my healthy cells.

Madison is at BLT for ROTC and is away all weekend, teaching young cadets the ropes.

Quinn keeps hugging me, and Morgan has made herself my nurse.

I may have told my kinders I’m going to superhero school… but the truth is, Rob is my superhero. He is doing this all by himself. I’m so thankful for him. I still can’t believe he chose me all those years ago.

Tonight I’ll be surrounded by the Word, by those who believe that Jesus still heals today, and that by His stripes I am healed as well.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

A Beautiful Chemo Day

If it’s possible to have a beautiful day when you get chemo…

I had it.

Every morning in the shower I listen to bethel music, hilltop. On Wednesday morning I was crying in the shower as clumps of hair came out and rob and I were say g it was the day to shave my hair. I put on a specific song for healing cancer, and it was a live version where they audience members were all laying hands on people and praying over them to be healed. I prayed to have that experience.

Yesterday morning, my friend Eileen messaged me she was gifted four tickets to a sold out concert in Brooklyn Saturday night and I can go with her.

Answered prayers.

We then dropped off the kids at school and headed to the echocardiogram. I had a moment where I realized I’m not crazy and felt validated. You see, every time a hot flash comes, it feels like a heart attack for me and panic. As I laid on the table, I watched my big beautiful heart pump. I played with my breath and did vagus nerve breathing and saw it go slow and steady. Then? I felt a hot flash coming. You know that line that goes straight and then has a little mountain every three inches or so? Mine went haywire. I told the tech I was having a hot flash and it would pass. I told her when it started to go away, and then the calm mountain pattern returned.

I’m not crazy, and yes, hot flashes are that bad.

She also had me sniff quick once or twice. She said it tests a specific part of the heart and sniffing actually strengthens it. I told her about what I learned in yoga class, and it’s called the kalabati breath. It’s also called the skull shining or ring of fire, where you take quick and forceful inhales and exhales. The physical benefits are too great to mention, but some are it releases toxins, improves digestion, strengthens your lungs, even helps to warm your body. It’s amazing, and I’ve signed up to teach a class at our superintendents conference day to my colleagues should they want to learn.

We had some time before my chemo spa chair appointment, so we went to Barnes and Nobles. Rob got breakfast and me a tea. I left him to eat since I’m fasting, and let Holy spirit walk me around. I always play this game, “What book do you want me to get today, Jesus?” It never fails that I end up in the same section of religion and spirituality. I touch books and one will jump out at me. This time four jumped out at me, and three (3!!!) were all of the same title. The word “Now” was in the title, and I knew that book was the one. I felt the word NOW in my heart as being important. I went back to rob, and we got a phone call that chair had opened up two hours earlier than scheduled, and I could go in.

Off we went to the cancer center.

I brought my homemade pumpkin bread and have some to the front desk ladies, then went to Dr Stopeck’s front desk. As I handed out pumpkin bread, everyone talked about my new wig. I noticed a woman walk by and stay near. As I started to walk up to the elevator, she stopped by and asked me about it. As it turns out, she was scared. She starts her very first chemo Tuesday, and only knew it starts with a T and a C. I asked if taxol and carboplatin sounded familiar and she said yes. I asked if it would be ok if I shared some tips. I told her all about the frozen peas and blueberries and science behind it, how to chew on ice chips, how to drink water like it’s Your job, if they offer a port, don’t be afraid, and get one good wig from wig allure but then don’t be afraid to shop Amazon and get some good cheap one for under $40. I told her the name of my website and she asked if I was a Christian. I said yes. She said she prayed to God to find someone who could talk to her about this and her I was, giving her my contact information and tips.

Had my appointment not been moved up, had I not stopped at the front desk first, she would have never walked by me at the exact moment I was talking about my wig.

God put her in the path she prayed for, and put me where I was needed.

I went up to the infusion area and everyone got pumpkin bread. I was hugged by everyone . To tell the truth, it’s not a bad place to go. These people have become like family.

They all saw the article and one by one, nurses would pop in and tell me how they agreed with everything. One said the hospital encourages them to take part in breast cancer walks this month. I said they should do their own for Dr Stopeck and their breast cancer research. I’ve been put in contact with someone and may help them the hospital out.

They all wore my Metavivor ribbons and bracelets as well to help spread awareness.

This time was a little different with the chemo. I felt more “jazzier and hyped up”. It was the steroids but I didnt remember that from last time, so I worked on my breathing and talked to my nanny in my heart. I asked her to be with me. Every time I do that, I hear the words, “we’ve got you , Doll”. It’s comforting, and helps me know the love lives on, even when they are gone.

My nurse suited up as she pushed the adriomycin, and it’s always strange to see someone in full protective gear covering their body and hands and holding a big yellow bag with the words “TOXIC” getting prepared to inject you slowly with what is inside.

It truly looks like red apple hard candy liquid,

So I pretend its all sugar and the gremlin cancer cells raging on crack in my body are going to town on it as my healthy cells lay and moan, “were starving, save some for us!” But the cancer gremlin cells on crack shout, “Suck it, bitches! It’s all ours”. Then today the cancer gremlins on crack cells are hungover like a night out in town and whither away like the wicked witch from the west after taking the ice bucket challenge two days later, while I begin to eat healthy again.

We got preliminary results from the echocardiogram and got great news. The left ventricle is supposed to pump at something like fifty three percent for normal normals of some measurement. Mine was 61%.

They were thrilled and said it’s a strong heart .

My white blood cells were above six.

It’s been YEARS since that.

My liver function number also are teetering in normal range.

Today I get tumor marker results.

I’ve been warned it may go up signaling tumor die off.

The third cycle will tell the tale.

Maureen came from Dr Stopeck’s office to do a bedside exam. She said they all loved my bread. She closed the curtain and I asked her to feel my breast. She said it definitely felt softer and the big hard tumor felt more like it had broken up. It was a good feel.

I hugged my nurses goodbye, and we went home.

I took off my wig and gasped. There were more bald spots, like a dog with mange. Quinn walked in from the bus and took one look and I knew. He was scared.

So I took him by the hand and said I cant wear wigs all the time, but I have a whole bag of hats and scarves. Would he rather i would those when home? He said looking at me like this makes him uncomfortable. So off we went and found the bag of accessories I never used last year. I shaved my head because it was all falling out, bet it never went totally bald. This time is different. We sat and looked through them. He picked a long flowing one with flowers, but my scalp needed softness because it hurts. Rob talked him

Into letting me wear a black cotton one.

Maddie watched.

When Quinn left, she said she gets it, because for the first time ever I actually looked like a real cancer patient mom.

It broke my heart, but I am so proud they can talk honestly with me.

Then I went to a Kaits angels event with MaryAnne the Medium. (Go ahead and skip this paragraph, judgy Christians.)

I got to meet board members who voted to have me be the recipient of the yard sale and hug and cry and thank them. I hugged darla, and it’s like hugging an angel on earth.

Then it began.

Listen, all my hope and faith is in Jesus. But he gifted the apostles with powers. Do you think he actually stopped with them? Do you think he can’t still gift people with powers?

I know he can.

She would walk right up to a person and say their name. She would know months of birthdays. She would say phrases the loved ones passed through her and bring comfort to all who she touched with her gift.

I went alone, and realized the room was full of people I knew and loved.

Then?

It happened.

I had said in my mind to my Namny to have Maryann come to me. She said , “We’ve for you doll”.

She walked right over to me. She knows me a little and has heard my story, so I’m sure she finds it difficult to come to those she knows of. However…

It was perfect.

She said there was so much white light around me she didn’t even know where to start. She said I am surrounded by angels and archangels, and asked if I call on them. I do. I am always talking to my nan and pop along with Jesus and Mary.

She said she had someone step forward.

My mother’s mother.

On the way to the event, I told my mom on the phone that I talk to nanny all the time and just wanted to hear from her.

Nanny said through Maryann that she was with me all the time, and had her hand on my arm today.

I felt it during chemo.

Thank you Nanny.

She said I need to cleanse and save my crystals. That I’m not sleeping well and need more. That I’ve been thinking of a meditation space and need to make it. I had just asked rob about turning tomcat joes room into my space. She said they were saying that doctors will be going through my charts and the past… but I meed to stay in the now. She said the word now over and over and said that word was important and spirit wanted me to know that.

I said messaged received. I had just bought three books with the word now that day.

She said I was doing great and stay on the path.

Then she left, and I wished I taped it because I may have missed some.

But nanny came through.

She always does.

After the event, I finally met the mother of Nick Coutts. Another angel on earth. We discussed so much so quickly. She said they wanted to give me all the money raised for him. I said how uncomfortable I am with that. So we decided together that the money he donated to me will go to Dr Stopeck and her research. It will help me AND countless other lives.

She is a force.

God is surrounding me with powerful people.

I came home and Rob ran a bath for me for detox.

I’m in another one now, then throwing on a wig and going to school.

Which wig?

The pink one of course.

It’s PINK week in kindergarten.

I figure it’s a great way to introduce how I’m in superhero school at night. The neulasta machine implanted on my arm is my tracker. My port is my magic flying button.

My wigs are my disguises.

I finally applies for the free housekeeping everyone keeps sending. I’ve been denied as there are no housecleaners in the area. That’s ok. I would probably my clean before then get here anyway!

I also got a new wig, and a message from another stranger that my blog is helping her.

So that’s my story how a chemo day can be a thing of beauty and magic.

May today be a day of beauty and magic and answered prayers as well.

In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Burn the Boat

I’m up and getting ready to start waterbombing. That’s when I drink a crap ton of water in preparation for the chemo.

I’m also taking a detox bath. I’m going in today as strong as I can.

Yesterday morning I sobbed and howled in the shower as hair wouldn’t stop coming out by the clumpfull. Rob held me as I cried and cried. It’s not just hair. It’s not easier because I have great wigs and have done this before.

It sucks.

I tenderly blew out my hair for the last time, because my scalp hurts… then I took back my day.

Maddie went to an all day all dungeons and dragons get together with her friends. I decided to keep my other two busy. We called up two of their friends and baked. We baked Halloween cookies while listening to Christmas music sung by Nat King Cole, then made banana bread for all of my nurses and staff at the oncology center today. There is something so cathartic about baking, as well as doing for others. I felt at peace all day.

We picked up Maddie, went to get the kids their Halloween costumes, then came home.

I didnt eat all day and had one cup of broth soup for dinner. I won’t eat again until Saturday in order to help the chemo be more effective. My healthy cells will lay limp with starvation and no energy, as the cancer cells act like gremlins on crack and gobble it all up. Then I’ll build up my healthy cells with organic juices as the cancer cells are hungover and die from the chemo.

It’s not easy… especially for a former stress eater and wine drinker. But my life is worth every possible thing I can do to keep it going.

At seven o clock we decided to shave my head. We took a family selfie first, put on Nat King Cole, then started buzzing. Quinn shaved my head first, and he was adorable. “This might feel weeeeeird…”. Morgan went next and was compassionate. Maddie took the clippers and felt like she was in the army as she gave me a GI Jane cut. Then Rob took over.

I’m so lucky.

He was gentle, kept telling me how beautiful I am, and kissed my face while he shaved my head. When you take your marriage vows, you never think this will be your life. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. I’m lucky he took those vows to heart.

We finished and took two more selfies, one without my hair and one with my new wig I got from amazon. It came to me to name her Noelle. Because by Christmas, I’m declaring healing. Noelle comes from the Latin word “Natale”, meaning birth. And last night I was born yet again.

A caterpillar goes through one transformation.

I’m been continuously transformed through this process. I’ve been a woman on fire, especially lately, as I spread awareness for metastic breast cancer.

A woman on fire… a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Another woman I know has been going through a different sort of transformation and I’ve seen her do it before. She comes out stronger and more powerful each time. She spoke of how you can build your own boat. You also burn your boat. Then do it again until you get it right.

I had been so proud of the hair I had grown, and had just gotten enough for a ponytail nub. It seems so unfair that I finally started to feel good about it, then poof! It’s gone again.

But here’s the thing.

The fear and depression that gripped my soul every time hair came out was heart stopping. I would feel physically ill. Then have to remember to keep breathing.

So I lit a match and burned my boat.

I’m starting over again.

My friend Claire then sent me a song I never heard before, by For King and Country, called “Burn the Ships”.

“Step into a new day

We can rise up from the dust and walk away

We can dance upon the heartache, yeah

So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships

And don’t you look back

Burn the ships, cut the ties

Send a flare into the night

Say a prayer, turn the tide

Dry your tears and wave goodbye”

So I’m sayin goodbye to my hair and starting again. This chemo is turning the tide, and I’ll keep dancing through the heartache.

My echocardiogram is at 9, and chemo chair is at 12. It will take about an hour for the port access and labs and pre meds to go in, so chemo will probably be pushed into my body around 1:00 or so. Please keep me in prayer that the heart is strong, the white blood cells are great, the tumor markers all went down significantly, and this chemo cycle is gentle on my body and soul as it ravages the cancer cells and destroys them all.

Burn, baby, burn.

My oncologist said she liked my articles, and believe it or not, we can donate to HER research. She sent me her current research projects. You see, my oncologist is a badass rockstar. She only sees patients one day a week, because the rest of the week she is in her lab, figuring out ways to burn the boat.

I’m going to do donate some of my funds I’m getting to her. I’ll write a check to stony brook research for her from some of the RunIVMore go fund me page, so whatever we raise from today on… is going to her. She is saving my life, and will have the breakthrough treatment.

We will burn the boat together.

I also met with a friend and shared my herbalists information. In five years the proceeds from whatever book I write will be split between Snuffy, Stopeck and Yance’s Mederi center.

I declare it.

I shared a video Mederi released featuring Erin, my liaison to Donnie. It felt so good to see her and get a face to the voice.

Let’s take back October and donate to metavivor , north fork breast health coalition, Mederi, or Stony Brook Cancer Center. These are places you know help people and give all the money to where it belongs.

Today I’ll listen to Christmas songs and sing and dance as I wear my new wig and get more healing treatments from nurses I love.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Losing hair and Light the Fire

Losing your hair doesn’t get easier the second time around. This time is different, as last time it mostly would come out in the shower, and it was slow. I had time to get haircuts to make it a slow progression. Yesterday? It kept coming out in clumps whenever I ran my hand through my hair. I spent five minutes in the faculty room pulling out the loose hair so it wouldn’t come out in front of the kids after lunch. I’m afraid to look at my pillow this morning. I don’t know if I’ll do a big beach gathering with a hair shaving ceremony this time. It may just be me and rob and the kids. Or I may decide to have a fire in the fire pit and open it up to whoever. We will see when and what I want to do.

Yesterday my heart was so full and happy at school. Every single kindergartner got their hands dirty and our garden is finished. I can’t explain what it meant to see all their little hands pulling weeds and planting mums. Everyone is so excited. When you make school a place where you show them how to make it beautiful and feel like home, you will have happier children. I have framed family pictures of their families presented on a cubby like a fireplace mantle display. Happier children learn better. This makes teachers happier and can be free to do more. Do whatever you can to make where you work a happy place.

It won’t be work anymore.

Today I start my fasting. No food until Saturday or so. Time to get my healthy cells exhausted and drained and have the cancer cells go rave and ramp up so they can go to town on the chemo tomorrow. I’ll go for the echocardiogram at 9, then chemo at 1 or so. Feel free to join me in a fast. Water, tea, broths… you can reset your system too. Intermittent fasting is being shown to have many healthy benefits.

My friend Eileen Benthel is in the hospital with her daughter Johanna again. This is her 100 something brain and head surgery. She has finally gotten a go fund me going. Please keep them in your prayers and consider donating even ten dollars if you don’t have much to spare, and then give thanks to God YOU weren’t given that mountain to move.

Here is the link to donate…

https://www.gofundme.com/f/p77446-johanna039s-hope?pc=fb_co_campmgmt_w&rcid=r01-15705377576-0da3817fa9cb4df9&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_co_campmgmt_w

I also saw an article yesterday about a boy who got hurt in the playground at a school in NYC, and went to his school nurse. She checked his records, then gave him an ice pack for his injury…. and then the gardisil shot and talked to him about sexual diseases. She had called the mother to tell her about the initial playground injury, but did not tell her giving about the vaccine. She only found out when she saw the bandaid and asked her child what happened. The department of education is looking into this.

http://bronx.news12.com/story/40628952/bronx-mother-claims-school-gave-hpv-vaccine-to-son-without-permission

Sounds crazy, right?

Not really.

There is bill up for vote in January to allow this to happen all over New York. There are studies coming out soon that gardisil affects the ability to conceive in some later in life. Population control is not far fetched. I’ve already raised my voice and let my legislature know I’m against this. The religious exemption was a trial run. Now they are bringing out the big guns. They are going to make it mandatory. I’ve had countless people tell me they refused it for their children. Doctors, nurses, very educated people. Guess what? If you don’t give it to your child, they won’t be allowed in school like the religious anti-vaccers you’ve all been so quiet about. “I’ll smack anyone who gives my kid a shot without telling me” is just words. You all better wake … up.

It was never ever about herd mentality . It’s about money. Governor cuomo received millions of dollars for New York from Merck pharmaceuticals the day after the religious exemption vote. The democrats were bought out and then sold out the lives and education and freedoms of 26,000 children. Their plan worked. Those kids are now at home, being home schooled, or getting an insane amount of shots in a time frame no one knows is safe while getting side effects and sick.

Now? They are coming for everyone’s children.

Are you over the age of 35? Guess what? You have less vaccinations than a six month old. Think about that.

You aren’t up to date either. Are you going in to the doctor and asking for more shots? Hell, most of you refuse the flu vaccine.

Oh, that is in a bill for January to become mandatory too.

This guy Brad is a real gem. Now he wants another bill released. Ever hear of HIPPA? He is throwing it out the window. He wants your kid’s private medical records released… so the PTO mom boards can create witch hunts and further ostracize these people.

Remember when the Jews were hidden in attics, and people turned them in to the nazis? I bet Brad would have taken the money, shouted out where they were then patted himself on the back as he filled his pockets.

In other news, MetUp had a very small group of protesters outside of Susan G Komen headquarters yesterday. Did Komen talk to them? Nope. They called the police four times on them. They didn’t like the truck they had parked on the sidewalk painted with the fact they were telling the truth about how Komen only gives 19% to research while saying and trademarking “….for a cure”.

Komen came after me and the article. Why? Because maybe people are waking up and realizing they aren’t taking the opportunity to make a bigger difference. Which means less donations are coming in for their accountants to move around and put the bulk in “awareness and education”.

It’s all about money.

I have many friends going to Washington DC to protest and fight for more funding this week. I was asked to go, but I’ve got chemo tomorrow. There will be a “die in”, where 116 people will lay down to signify the 116 lives that will be stolen from metastatic breast cancer that day. My friend Melanie Zuhoski stopped by yesterday for ribbons to bring and hand out. She will be taking part in the die in. I talked to her and prepared her for emotions it will bring up, and showed her how to swipe off the death energy when she finishes laying in my place. I’ll cover her with prayers and energy as well. We sat and I told her more of my story. She is the president of the North Fork Breast Health Coalition, one of the few organizations I support. She is having the organization begin to learn more about stage four.

I’m so glad.

Stage four needs more.

Take us out of the corner, out of the shadows. We are all holding candles in the corner for sparks of light to give each other and for vigils for our dying and dead friends all around us. Stop looking at us with fear, and take our candles.

Make a fucking fire.

Burn the false pink narrative and pink shirts.

Make it so big the light from the fire shines on all of us in the corner, and then give us water and do all you can to keep us alive.

Walk through fire for us… because we are walking through fire every damn day.

We are dying for a cure, and need allies. It’s so hard to advocate for yourself when you are dying. It’s so hard to advocate for yourself when you are going through constant treatment. It’s so hard to advocate for yourself and open your life up so others may live someday because you shared your pain.

Be an ally.

Demand organizations like Susan G Komen and the American Cancer Society do more by finding more research.

Donate to Metavivor.

Yahoo had an article by Glamour magazine on the metavivor colors.

Don’t wait for the person going through treatment to ask for help. Just do it. Give the hug, say the prayer, sit in silence and just let them cry, go to protests, write letters and emails and support bills for more funding…

Because one day, you will be here too, or someone you know and love.

Don’t wait until the game is over to get off the sidelines and try to help win the game.

Let’s make pink just a color, not a false representation of a cure or treatment to make it chronic. That isn’t here and won’t come until the brilliant scientists and researchers get the funding they need.

#kissthis4mbc

#curekomen

#pinkisnotacure

#stagefourneedsmore

#dontignorestagefour

#chemohairloss

#saytheword

#metastaticbreastcancer

#mengetbreastcancertoo

#busylivingwithmets

#metUp

#metavivor

#faithoverfearheal

These are the most used hashtags i use. Some day I’ll add #researchsavedmylife.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Truth hurts?

When I get fired up… I go big.

I KNOW God has been with me as I spread education and awareness about stage four.

How?

Because in a three day time period, three separate news organizations reached out to me out of the blue, and there were three different articles written and published.

Each with a different slant.

The News Review focused on the Kaits Angels fundraiser and the generosity and beauty of people, especially Nick Coutts. It focused on how those who have been through the fire and are still burning, can offer others water because we know how painful the heat can be.

https://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com/2019/10/95800/mattituck-man-pays-forward-riverhead-teacher-following-kaits-angels-event/

Riverhead local asked me for an editorial on the state of Pinktober. I’ve known Denise Civiletti for years, and love this family to pieces. I taught her daughter Katie, and get great hugs from them all whenever I see them. It was in my own words, and I let loose. Many people’s eyes were opened.

https://riverheadlocal.com/2019/10/05/pink-doesnt-save-lives/

The riverhead patch spent three hours with me Friday doing and interview. Lisa Finn wanted to get the whole story out there, with my protocol, what it’s like to be diagnosed stage four from the beginning, and how the pinkwashing and sexualization of this disease needs to stop. She did an amazing job….

and woke up the beast.

https://patch.com/new-york/riverhead/stage-4-needs-more-mom-breast-cancer-pleads-research

Her editors decided the article was worthy of going national. They made it their lead story.

And the Susan G Komen foundation read it.

Listen, have they done good?

Absolutely.

Have they done enough?

Absolutely not.

Can they do better?

1,000% percent.

The article riled them up enough they sent a long winded and winding rebuttal claiming how much they do with lifelines and conferences and such. But they did not say that the statistic of the small amount they spend on research was wrong. It’s like how a politician can give a long winded answer to skirt around the issue that the point given was correct.

Some more on research, Susan. Is it that hard to figure out that if we cure or make it chronic, EVERYONE will benefit and the mammograms won’t be so scary?

Here is a NEW Komen fun fact for you.

Did you know they sue small fundraising organization who have “for a cure” in their title? “Kites for a cure” was aggressively sued by Komen back in 2010. They have trademarked the words “for a cure”. I couldn’t even believe it and googled that myself. Isn’t it ironic that the company that misleads where the bull of their fundraising goes sues others who would give more of a percentage? They have spent millions on lawyers to protect that. Money that could have gone to research.

Think for a second…

Why would Komen be worries about a little old kindergarten teacher from a small town on the north fork? Because kindergarten teachers are notorious for telling people when they e done wrong. For fighting for the little guys. For encouraging people to change and do the right thing.

No milk and cookies for you, Komen.

I’m not afraid of them.

I’ve taken on the common core.

Protested against the NY Board of Regents.

Refused to have my children take the ridiculous NY State tests designed to fail.

Stood up for the 26,000 children kicked out of school under the guise of vaccinations, and am sounding the alarm on what’s coming for us all… gardisil.

Komen doesn’t scare me.

I’ve been looking in deaths face every day for three years and saying, “Not today.”

BIOMF.

God was with David when he faced Goliath.

Gideons army of 300 unskilled farmers defeated thousands of midionite soldiers who came to take their land.

Moses verse the pharaoh.

Daniel verse Babylon.

It’s not that I am special.

It not who I am…. but “whose” I am.

I am the daughter of a King. I stand with my armor, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit.

Come at me.

I am not afraid.

He strengthened my spirit and soul, the week after my first heavy dose of chemo, while my hair has started to come out, and gave me the words I needed.

That’s what He does, when you open yourself to His love and possibilities of His Miracles.

I envisioned a garden for my kindergarten, and for all the school. I asked God to send me those who can help.

He sent me Anthony Meras who bought pumpkins for every kinder. He owns Star Confectionary on Main Street. Go get some ice cream or lunch or breakfast from him and tell him thank you.

He sent me Jenn Reeve who donated corn stalks and always finds a way to bring beauty into lives.

He sent me kristina Gabrielson, who brought straw bales and scarecrows and more mums to make a scarecrow reading spot outside.

He sent me Emilie Powers who kicked it all off with mums and Montauk daisies, and is always praying for me.

He sent me cindey Macleod who showed up and helped me move around the bales and mums, and always shows up with her kind heart.

I’ve asked him for healing, but apparently that takes longer, and has assigned many mountains to move. But He has shown me He is with me.

Today we try to plant the mums and finish the garden. It is a thing of beauty. 

It’s been a whirlwind few days. I’m gearing up for chemo on Thursday. I’m getting ready to go into the shower and see how much hair comes out today and cry. But I’ll play my Hilltop music as I let the water wash away my tears and praise God for Hos blessings of the kindness of strangers and friends.

Because I … am… blessed.

So are you.

Declare your blessings, even the ones that haven’t come yet.

They are coming.

Believe.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

I’m taking back October.

For most of my life, I’ve loved October.

Autumn leaves, Halloween decorations, the crisp smell in the air, sweater weather, my brown boots and jeans coming back out, applesauce and pumpkins.

Then?

It became the death month for me.

Everywhere I went I saw pink after I was diagnosed stage four denovo. Denovo means from the very beginning. I never get to say “survivor”, because treatment will never end for me. I never get to ring that damn chemo bell thinking it’s the last time and I’m done and the dragon has been slayed. I’ve never done pink parties or races and said “It was a hard year but I’m cured!”

I’ve also become educated.

I KNOW where Susan G Komen and other companies spend the majority of their money… and it ain’t on me or saving my life. It’s on profits and parties. Everyone makes this cancer a big pink with talk breasts as “tits” and “new boobies”. The same breasts that have been invaded by cancer are now all over pink t-shirts.

My male friends are in the dark, and don’t realize they can get it. God forbid they do, it becomes a cancer they are ashamed of, as “men don’t get breast cancer, right?” is what is always heard.

It’s a month of seeing my mortality every damn place I go. I may be having a good mind moment and forget then BAM. Pink m&ms, or a football team wears pink, and I’m reminded of the terminal condition and the pinkwashing and my dead friends.

Stop wearing pink, sports teams.

Stop having children wear pink hair bows. It just makes them look cute and complicit.

Stop spending money on pink tee shirts that say “Save the tatas”.

So I took action this weekend.

I spent a half hour Thursday afternoon in my car at the BJS parking lot speaking with a reporter from the news review, then broke down and cried because I was exhausted and overwhelmed at the generosity of a young man and had a horrible cold and was afraid I may get a fever and have to be admitted to the hospital. Then? I wiped off my face, took a deep breath, then went back to living my life. (God placed my friend Anthony and my sorority sister Trish in my way in the store and I got hugs from them that built me back up.)

Then Friday I spent three hours with the reporter from the Patch and darla, and went over my whole story. I had spent the day making homemade organic applesauce and was still dealing with a cold one week after chemo, but I did it.

Then yesterday morning I spent an hour writing my post… and God whispered “this is it. Send it”. So I sent it to my friend Denise who owns Riverhead Local and she used it as an editorial. Then I deleted what I wrote and wrote a new blog post for my Facebook.

I quick contacted the parents of the children in a picture Denise wanted to use, got permission from them… then it went live.

Turns out, the riverhead news review AND Riverhead Local both posted articles about me in a span of four hours.

I flooded people’s feeds with information and waited. People can be horrible some times, and troll and make comments.

But not this time.

The editorial has been shared over a hundred times that I know of. People are commenting they had no idea of the pinkwashing. People are being educated.

I did have one local whack job try to hijack my

editorial and piggyback onto it and post his own agenda. This dude had privately contacted me once before with no greeting, just the words “what cancer” followed by another “?”. I felt violated at the time, and disgusted by his dark energy. I ignored him, as I’ve had to reprimand him in a PTO meeting he attended and tell him to act like a grown up. He has also bullied the high school PTO president to the point of me telling her to get security if he attends a meeting. This man not only commented on my editorial again, but messaged me again as well, saying he has the cure for cancer. He has run for every possible public office and lost every time. He is unhinged. I had it, and publicly called him out. Hopefully the man goes back to his tin foil hat making business and reads a book on civility and how to interact with others positively.

I spent the afternoon making ribbons with my nieces. I put a call out that anyone can come help, and my family showed up. It was nice to giggle and laugh with them all. My kids have been through so much… so much more than anyone even knows. They’ve been scared, and hurt as well. When people don’t show up or even check on you when your mom is going through this… it changes you. They know who loves them, and are learning to appreciate those who show up. It’s a hard lesson, but a good one to learn at a young age. They’ve got me and rob, my friends and family, and teachers who talk to them and contact them and let them know they have people to go to. Not everyone has that. I’m so glad my children do.

As we worked, someone knocked on the door. I went to see who it was and burst into tears. My sorority sister and one of my dearest lifelong friends surprised me and showed up to make ribbons. After I stopped crying, we sat and made ribbons and talked and talked. Having a friend show up when you didn’t know how much you needed one is such a blessing.

Then?

My friend Anthony who I met in BJs and gave me a hug and let me collapse a little on his shoulder on Friday showed up at my door… with 130 or so tiny baby pumpkins. I had told him I was working on getting pumpkins and transforming our courtyard into a fall thing of beauty for our kinders, and he took the ball and ran with it. I also told him I worry for Rob. He has no one really to talk to. He could use a beer and a break. So Anthony stayed and had a beer and he and rob watched the yankee game and talked as we continued at the table making ribbons.

I got an email from a former student that I had almost twenty years ago. It filled my heart he remembered me. We also looked at my new wig as I prepare to lose my hair again. I name my wigs, so we are still deciding her name.

My nieces left, my dad showed up and gave Stephanie a great big dad hug, then Steph left.

My door opened soon after and my friend

Patti who manages the tomcats showed up. She wants ribbons to hand out as well. I love that people are helping me carry the torch.

She left and we ordered pizza. It felt like a great fall night, with rob and Anthony having pizza and a beer and watching the Yankees win. Rob needed that, and it made me so glad to see him have a normal night.

Care for the caregivers is so important.

We tend to put all the focus on the patient, and the caregivers need just as much, if not more love, because they are taking care of everything and watching their loved one suffer while keeping a brave face. They don’t ask for anything. Those who don’t wait to be asked to help are the greatest friends and family you can ask for. It’s hard to say , “I could use some time away… can we go for a coffee or a beer?” If you know someone who is a caregiver, ask them to go out. Pick them up, take them out, and let them talk about the hard things or not talk about the hard things and just be normal for a little while and escape.

When someone gets cancer, the whole family feels it. So thank you to those who love my children and my husband and show them they are here for them all of the time. You have no idea what it means to them.

And me.

Today I am going to try to go to a gentle yoga class at the Giving Room at 11. I’ll get my juices I need for the next few days.

Wednesday I start my three day water fast again, as Thursday I go back in for chemo and an echocardiogram. God has totally been in the planning, because I’ll be home Wednesday as we have the day off, and I can prepare for chemo. Then Monday, which I would have had to taken off, we have off as well. Then the next cycle I’ll take the Thursday and Monday off, then my last cycle will be when t we have off Monday for Veterans Day. So I’m only hoping to take six days off during eight weeks of the hardest chemo they’ve got.

God is good.

Now let’s have Him help the chemo work.

This week I’ve got some amazing people

Dropping off corn stalks, hay bales and scarecrows for our fall kindergarten garden. We’ve got Ms. Gabrielson giving us decorations as well as Jenn Reeve. Cindy Macleod is going to help us set it up on Monday.

My kinderteam will have the kids help weed the rest of the garden beds. I think it’s important the kids all work and make it as well. When you create a thing something, you appreciate it even more.

That’s why I know God has me in His hands

right now. He created me. He knows my name. He is leading me, and I will continue to follow.

May he lead me to complete healing on Earth, and years and years more of happiness, love, laughter, and hope.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

PS… if I see you in pink crap… forgive me if I dont look like excited. I’m just thinking of my dead friends.