“So Keri, What did You the First Week of Summer Vacation?”

“So Keri, what did you do first week of summer vacation?”

Well, I waited for a PETMRI scan, was told the cancer was worse but there is now actually hope I can be “cured” and am some weird miraculous oligometastatic small minuscule percentile patient, but that means I have to now have IV chemo, get really sick, lose my hair, possibly amputate my breasts, then do more chemo…. and I need to start immediately because the window may close on this chance . Then I had to go home, prepare my kids and summer son who we somehow love like he has been ours forever, stay up all night researching tips to manage horrifying side effects, run around like a nut getting kids haircuts and forms filled out for cancer camp, go to Target and have a kind employee follow me around to make sure I found the plastic ice cooler and smaller bags of frozen peas and blueberries and largest socks for my hands and feet, drop off my kids, then get a phone call the hospital wants me early, gulp down more steroids and any allergic reaction meds because apparently it can kill you but they monitor you so closely the nurse sits in front of you the whole time with monitors so they can stop it as soon as you have trouble breathing or your heart races.

I have a beautiful soul of a friend from my SUNY Cortland days who held my hand the entire day. Lisa prepped me and was fierce. The peas and blueberries and socks and changing them every twenty minutes.

Then I took a moment, went to the beach, and prayed to Jesus to heal me, and thanked Him for my life and family and friends and love and this small window that He has opened.

Lisa also told me to forget the healthy eating and eat like I was preparing to go out and drink downtown. “Soak that shit up.” So I ran to the deli and ordered my first sandwich in a year and half, and got a hug from one of my secret nurse Society moms. Then lisa told me to get hard candy to suck on. I didnt see any but knew across the street at my school there was a bowl.

I called and Vanessa answered. She may be my assistant principal now, but she is my sister from God always. I knew I needed to get a hug from her before starting this journey. I ran across the street and into her arms. I hugged Phil, my principal, Mirta, my secretary, and Vanessa and cried. At work you work with people. I work with family. We took a picture together so I could look at it and remember all the love they filled me with on this day.

Then we drove to the hospital and i had the best turkey sandwich ever.

I drank and drank and drank water.

We got to the center and lugged in my cooler, carry on luggage, and water jugs.

So what’s it like to get chemo the first time?


I sat in a waiting room looking vibrant and healthy and hair and tan and gulped an entire bottle of water, surrounded by very sick people.

When it was time to go in, I was in a unit with everyone hooked up to monitors and IVs with curtains separating us. Lisa told me to tell them to use a warm pack to find my vein and they did, first stick. Then they ran fluids.

Then they said since I had hyperemesis with all three pregnancies, I should expect the nausea to be worse.

Of course.

They ran two anti nausea meds.

Then it was time for the taxol.

They hooked up a blood pressure cuff to monitor me constantly so I made a game of breathing and trying to make it as low as possible. It worked.

Rob was amazing and kept changing the veggie and fruit sock packs every twenty minutes. He held the ice pop and gently put it in my mouth because i felt like i had the Elephant Man hands with the socks and couldn’t hold anything.He held my hand. He told me I was going to be ok. He told me he didn’t care about hair.

I’m so lucky.

My friends and family sent the most supporting and loving texts.

Lisa told me everyone naps and rests when they get chemo for the four hours. Not me.

She said I better get up and “pee out that shit” constantly. So I did.

In my travels I saw a woman with a cold cap. She was just diagnosed last week with colon cancer and was trying to save her hair. She said the radiation people told her to stop eating kale because it causes gas. I told her all about what I did and how it probably has helped me this whole time. She said she is going to look into reiki next. I told her I was a level two reiki master and would be more than happy to send her distant reiki from my chair. She said yes, so I did.

She actually fell asleep as I did it.

Then it was time for the carboplatin chemo. I never knew how long it took.

Hours…. and hours.

The patient advocate came and I told her immediately about the sailboat painting and how hard it is to be in a tube with your life turned upside down and have to look at an upside painting from a mask with a mirror strapping your head to a board to keep your head down.

She said no one ever brought that up before.

That’s because everyone is so busy in shock and treatment it’s just a little thing.

But the little things matter.

Everything matters, and yet nothing matters anymore other than saving your life.

Near the end of treatment the exhaustion and stress and insomnia caught up with me and I dozed off. My friend Joanne got me a blanket with pictures of my family and it covered me with love as i slept. I woke up with a feeling and looked at the foot of my bed. My friend Cathy sent me her friend Heather who is a nurse there. She always meets me now for hugs.

She said she felt my energy and prayed over me when I slept.

I felt it.

It ended, and my chemo nurse Jackie unhooked me. We were both so happy it was her. She had given me injections before, and is so kind. I even talked to her about meditation. She said she couldn’t meditate. I asked if she could take in one breath. She said yes. If you can take in one breath, then let it out… you can meditate.

We got to the hospital at 1:20 and left at 5:30. We were told it will be longer next time.

We ran to the car to check out the wig and head wrap place. I was told hair usually falls out around day 21, but many lose it before as well. I knew the wig place was closing, but wanted to see if it was too scary to bring my kids. The first time I was diagnosed and thought I was getting chemo I wore head wraps at home to prepare them. I threw them out when I was told stage four and also gave them away. The kids told me it scared them after that.

There is no going back now, so if I can make this somehow fun, and if I end up with silver surfer superhero hair, but it makes my kids less scared.., I’ll do it.

I’m doing it all for them.

And rob.

And me.

I came Home and took a detox bath as I had lisa and Annie Appleseed in my head .

“Get that shit out as fast as you can”.

I texted Vanessa and she helped me breathe through wigs and haircuts. I think I found a short one to try as a preparation for total hair loss.

Listen, everyone says it’s no big deal. But to me? I’ve had a love hate relationship with my natural curly hair forever. When I got my weave, “Blair”, I only got the joy of her for two months before I was told cancer. Then every time I put it on it became a way to feel beautiful before the eventual bald day came. Wigs are expensive and hot. There are synthetic and real hair wigs. I love my hair. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love my hair.

So this is going to be hard.

It already is.

They’ve told me my scalp may hurt as the hair falls out as the follicles will be sensitive.

I’m going to finally apply for the North Fork Breast coalition grant. They give you $1,000 for whatever you need. I’m going to need help with the emotional part of appearance. My insurance will give me $1500 towards reimbursement. Wigs can run from $200 to $2500. The cancer center is also sending me someone to do a chair sitting with a donated wig.

This is hard.

We will still meet with Donnie Yance, but now won’t fly to him. Instead we will skype. He is expensive, and we are using along the money from the benefit last year for him. Thank you to everyone who went last year. Because of you, I can add more experts to my team during a critical time.

I also gargled with salt water and baking soda.

I cant talk this morning as my throat is on fire. I’m hoping more detox and water and gargling will help.

I still have hot flashes, but no more coil with trigger ginormous needles. My oncologist said the chemo will take away the need for that.

I asked if that means it’s killing my ovaries. She said she didn’t want to say it but… yes.

So I’m praying it doesn’t kill any of my other organs, and only the cancer.

My friend Jodi dropped off three fun fake wigs to add to the growing collection.

I looked up shorter haircuts, as they said finding smaller chunks of hair seems to be less scary than finding longer chunks.

There is a wonderful stage four speaker named Nalie from Canada who has rocked the different stages. I may go for her look… or the Robert Plant Simply Irresistible woman from the video.

I may have a spur of the moment night at the beach with women who want to be with me and hold me in sacred space and prayer as I cut all of my hair off. I see the sun setting, women each taking turns cutting some hair and praying as the hair is removed so is the cancer, and then letting the wisps go to the wind and the water and the sun as it sets the sky on fire. Then we will dance under the moon and thank God for this beautiful miraculous life and the window he seems to have opened.

We will see, I may wake up one day to half of my hair in my pillow and just cut it. But it’s a lovely thought, and if my courage rises and the weather helps and my friends are free…I’ll throw it out in Facebook and whoever comes, comes with a candle and a prayer and a towel and love.

Wish me luck today with the kids, Quinn especially. He had a birthday party to go to but chose to stay with me. In a way it’s good Summer is here, but I miss having his teacher and counselor and friends around him all the time to occupy his mind. We will look into camps and activities this week.

Then we have my nieces third birthday, then a graduation party. It’s good to be busy, as they have warned me tomorrow is the toughest day.

Thank you all for getting me through yesterday.

And every day that comes…



The reset button

It’s like I hit the reset button.

I knew when we walked into the cancer center it wasn’t good. My trial coordinator was on vacation and I was supposed to have her replacement. He never showed up.

There was a different energy around everyone. My appointment was at 2:30 and I wasn’t called in until almost an hour later. I had flashbacks to that day at Sloan when I was waiting for the bone biopsy results and was praying so hard for chemo for Christmas.

I asked if I should get injections first and they said no. That’s when I knew there wouldn’t be any injections.

Usually the nurse comes in and chats a bit but didn’t this time. I told rob I knew it wasn’t good, and that I saw the doctor coming in and writing on the exam table in my visions.


She came in, sat down for a moment, looked me in the eye and said the scans showed it was worse.

In the next breath she said that now was not the time to cry and she needed me to be clear and focused and listen.

Then she drew on the exam table.

She said I was probably on the placebo arm of the trial, which means I’ve only been on a hormonal suppressor since March, and that the Ibrance had been failing since January. She also said the questionable spots on the liver were clear and based on preliminary reports, it’s still all confined to the breast and lymph nodes, where the FDG uptake was higher.

I heard my friend Alycia in my head and heart at that moment and flashed to a conversation we had almost a year ago.

I looked at the doctor and asked could I truly possibly be oligometastatic, her eyes lit up, and she said yes.

Oligometastatic is a very very small subset of patients who have few distant metastasis and that’s it. Once you treat the primary sites, this subset is “cured”, a rarity in stage four world.

She drew her plan, and said she wants to treat me now as a lesser stage, which means very aggressive. A hard IV chemo cocktail, with the goal of rapidly shrinking the tumors, then surgery, then another M-Tor inhibitor oral chemo for a year or so, with the goal of being cured.

I asked what it it didn’t shrink the tumors and she said that she didn’t want to even discuss that option.

She was excited that despite not being on a chemo, the cancer didn’t spread. I think it proved to her I was oligometastatic.

Rob and I have done so much research. Chemo is poison. It destroys your entire body. Surgery is a huge trauma. Don’t ever do chemo.

Now we were being told that after a year and a half of being in a room on fire with no way out, a window just opened, but the escape ladder will burn me from the inside out.

I heard madame swoosh in my head.

Despite all we read and learned, I decided to go to the window. All this time I was told IV chemo would be my last line of treatment, but now?

It’s the lifeline to get out of the room.

I’ve done everything.

Prayed, organic, fasting, juicing, chaga, reiki, all of it.

And yet here I was, being told the same treatment I had prayed and prayed for when I was first diagnosed because it would have meant I wasnt stage four and could someday hear the words cure was now an option.

I was told I was stage four from the beginning, a rarity.

Then I was told I have this rare genetic issue, lucky me.

Then I was told I had complete remission, the fastest the oncologist ever had.

Then the appendix, which no one could believe happened after everything else.

Then it came back.

Then the trial.

So why not believe I am the rare one who is oligometastatic and can be cured?

Maybe I was meant for the detour of the past year and a half to get healthy and prepare for what was coming?

It’s not going to be pretty.

The side effects are horrifying. Neuropathy, nauseau, loss of taste, hearing and vision issues, and my hair will be gone in about two weeks.

The oncologist said I have been so strong, and I may tolerate it well. I asked about September, and she said going back to work could be possible, but she is glad that I am all hers for the summer.

Once a week I will sit on a chair for several hours and have taxol and carboplatin pushes into my veins. This will be for a few months, but she said she will know pretty quickly if it’s working since we both have a very good feel for the tumors.

When we left, she said I was making the right choice. And that she would pray. We’ve never seen her this focused, or excited. She truly believes she can get me to complete lifetime remission. I asked what she would do if I was a family member and she said this was it.

I believe her.

Her nurse said she had a former patient do the same thing and is still cancer free six years later.

Then we came home and told the kids.

We framed it in a very positive way. Quinn cried a little, maddie and Morgan got quiet, and I told them that maybe I’ll be the wise one from Doctor Strange for Halloween. We also sat down our summer son and told him we would love to have him stay. My plan is to stay as normal and routine as possible, and he wants to stay and help us.

My hairdresser has agreed to cut off all my hair when the time comes, and we may just do it at the beach at sunset. Wisps of my hair into the wind and water.

I ordered some head scarves from amazon and will go to a wig store this week.

I’m scared, but resolved and determined.

I want my children to know I did everything.

I want to know I did everything.

I am not going to Oregon, but will instead Skype. Rob and I had thoughts about going to Sedona.

It just won’t be this summer.

His mom and dad and my mom and dad are ready to help.

My brothers and jill and their spouses have all told us last night they are here for us.

My niece brennan texted love.

The people who have surrounded us with love the past year and a half have once again showed up.

The ones that show up in hard times are the ones you keep forever, and I’m so lucky to have so many.

I begin today.

This morning I take steroids and anti reaction meds and then take my kids for haircuts.

2:20 I sit in a chair in the hospital and begin.

I didn’t get Remission.

But I feel like I hit the reset button, and am doing what the original plan was but with a lot more faith, strength, good health and love strengthening me.

Please pray for Rob. This will be hard on him.

Please pray for our children.

Please pray for me.

May this window of opportunity be the window to a very long life.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Inward… Onward.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post.

I’m still here.

I’m stepping away to heal.

Here is my Facebook post I wrote to my friends.

It explains it all.

““Going Inward”

This is going to be my last morning post for a while. You’ll see pictures from my life and articles shared, but I’m not going to post every morning about cancer anymore.

Let me explain.

I went to Madame Swoosh yesterday.

As we left town, I began to listen to a meditation Alycia sent me. The moment I pressed play, the phone rang. It was Maryne, Madame Swoosh’s daughter making sure I was coming. As I listened to the meditation, i cried. I became filled with such gratitude to God for allowing me to come to this world and live this life with the blessings He has given me. I thanked Him for Rob, my children, my mom and dad and siblings, friends. I looked at the sky and the trees and just cried at how beautiful this world can be, even when it’s so very hard.

We arrived and hugged and kissed and began.

We discussed some things as we began that I didn’t understand the last time. Clarified things. I’m someone who wants everyone to like me, and when I feel energy coming off of people that I take as negative, it affects me. She said people have the right to not like others. But we also have to accept it and not let it take away our own energy. When people upset you, so what? Move on.

We also discussed how obsessed I’ve become with food. Will it heal me? Hurt me? Will I eat today? If I eat something that has sugar, the guilt has been horrible. That guilt is worse than the sugar. Live life. Now, don’t go eating everything in sight, but make smart choices and when you have an occasional indulgence, enjoy it.

Then she started swooshing.

She spent a lot of time on my breast and armpit. But then?

She went to my upper abdomen and worked and worked. I became scared. The oncologist said that the cancer I have is tricky and sneaky, and likes to go to organs like the stomach. I’ve been having pain in my abdomen. She said she saw a problem.

She said I need to put all of my focus on my gut. But for a different reason that I thought. She said that she can feel that I know things. Things come to me and I just know things…. but then my head questions and I cut the feeling my gut tells me because the head says it doesn’t seem possible.


She worked on my head a lot, and had me turn over. As she worked down toward my sacrum, she said to prepare myself and she was going to do something that hurt. She did it twice.

Then she explained why she did what she did and it made total sense.

She finished and it was time to debrief.

She was very serious, and talked so fast her daughter had a hard time translating everything. She even became very stern.

I asked if the cancer was still there, and she gave me the look. She said i know things and to trust my gut. I still feel it inside of me, and said she still felt it without any hesitation. I asked if it spread, and she said no without any hesitation.

She said she feels it’s all I think about it, and as hard as it is, I have to stop. I told her I’ve felt whispers in my soul about a cancer matrix. How I’m living in the cancer matrix and need to rise above this level of living, if that makes sense. She and her daughter became very animated and said that was exactly it. That once I do that, I will be “very big lady”, so tall.

She said I keep fighting it. I need to accept it. It’s a part of me. It’s my story. I said it has been feeling like I need to just be with it, be still, learn from it, walk along and listen. She said yes.

And once I do… it will go.

She said only then I will be cured.

She said cured.

But I have so much work to do.

We discussed Oregon.

She referenced my gut again. She said I already know if I should go. It is so expensive. That’s been in my head. But my gut says I need to go. I had the benefit last year and know that we haven’t touched the money because it was meant for this moment in time. She said I will go and know immediately if it is part of my story.

She said again I have to accept the cancer, then?

Forget about it. That there will be people who will come again and again and say they have things that are expensive and will help me, but to remember, I am the cure.

It is inside of me.

And I flashed to the moment in the car on the ride in. I got it.

God is everywhere. He made every single cell in my body. His hands formed me, and His spirit and light is in me. I just need to use it.

My head just said not to write that, because people will say I have a God complex now. But that’s not what I mean.

I need to trust in Him and heal, but by being still when making decisions and listening to my gut. My God whispers. Not my head or outside world, worrying about what others think. I need to make whatever decision comes by listening to the answer that comes first and being still. Than I need to move on and stop second guessing. I cant do that when I’m thinking about it all the time.

Madame told me that she had cancer in the exact same place at age 33 and doctors gave her six months to live. She went to Sedona with the woman whose son she helped last week for her seventieth birthday. She said she lived her life after she was told the six month prognosis and just went “swoosh”. My dad also said he acted like every cancer he got was just a cold.

She said she knows it’s so hard, but kept saying how important it was.

I sobbed like a baby in her arms.

She held me and kept rubbing my back and I knew she was feeling my energy. Her daughter said it was good, let it go.

They spoke with rob and he said again how he just knows I’m going to beat it.

She said she does too.

She believes.

But I have to believe as well.

I thanked her for helping friends I have sent and am sending to her. She said she is squeezing more in before she goes back to France this week. She will be back again in the fall.

When I hug her and her daughter, I feel so much love. I’ll miss them.

We left, and I was exhausted.

I missed a baby shower, but the healing and solitude after this was needed. So much was said and I still don’t think I caught all of it.

I was Drained, but I know the shower I missed will forgive me because she knows what I’m talking about.

I sent messages to people that I knew I had to send messages to. They came to me fast and furious yesterday so I listened to my gut instead of my head saying people will think I’m crazy and sent the messages.

I received affirmation that the messages were received, and I’m not crazy.

I know what I have to do.

I am going to Oregon. Will I follow their protocol? I dont know. It depends on what my gut tells me.

But first I will do the PETMRI and accept whatever the results are.

It’s my story.

A story that’s already been written.

In the meantime, I will be still, meditate, pray, listen. I will add walking and yoga. I will continue to eat organic because the chemicals and pesticides will kill you. I’ll also have an occasional indulgence because life is for living.

I will begin each day not with writing about cancer, but by thanking God for my life, asking Jesus for whatever I need, and listening the Holy Spirit inside of me.

The Trinity.

I’ll send love to everyone.

I’ll check my messages but then?

I’ll live my life.

I’ll still post pictures, but I will put Keri first.

For too long I’ve put my illness above me.

Cancer came first.

Not anymore.

I kept looking for the answers outside of myself, when I’ve had the answer all along.

Just like Dorothy clicking the red shoes.

Starting now, I live my life.

MY life, not the life that I think the cancer has given me, but the life given to me by God.

Cancer can steal all of your power and light and life and faith if you let it.

No more.

Even as it lives inside of me, it’s a part of me. I need to send love to me. All parts of me. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we fully love others?

Jesus said to love one another, but we need to be compassionate to ourselves as well. We need to know we are worth it. We have been loved since before we were born. Once we stop doubting ourselves, start believing in ourselves that we are worthy, we stop worrying about what others think.

I’m no longer going outward for validation and opinions.

I’m going inward.

My faith is strong.

My light shines bright.

I’m free to live.

It’s a beautiful life.

In Jesus’s name, amen.”