It’s been a while. I know.
A lot has gone on. Quick update for you…
I had another round of doxil. It went well. I even tried to channel my inner Jennifer Lopez from the Super Bowl, but her pole dance is very different from my pole dance.
Then I had another MRI of the liver. It was, as my doctor called it, a “mixed bag”. Some tumors got smaller and one got bigger. So we decided to wait to check the tumor markers. On Monday I went for labs, and then got an email my doctor wanted to speak to me. That is never good.
I ran to the main office, my assistant principal gave me his office, and my principal came in to help me get through the call and take notes. Usually that’s robs job, as when I hear bad news I tend to go out of body and into shock and only hear the bad news. Not many principals sit in on hard oncology calls, but he did, and he takes great notes.
The markers all went up. In fact, so much so that my doctor was surprised. It could mean two things. One, the cancer is on the move and resisting yet another treatment. Or two, it’s tumor die off and it’s finally responding after several weeks of changing dosing and timing.
We are praying for die off. We decided to try one more round of chemo and recheck. Which means I’m still in the blur.
Still in the storm, but I still have Jesus on my boat.
My doctor encouraged me to come to the Annie Appleseed conference in Florida this weekend, which means last minute plans to fly out and get here.
During a coronavirus panic…
Which brings me to today.
The extra day.
That’s what today is.
Every day is a gift, but today is actually a real extra day.
Leap year day.
Last Sunday I thought to myself I would make a special memory with my kids. Make a whole day of memories, so that next leap year day, if I wasn’t here, they would remember how special the extra day is.
Instead, here I am, one week later, in a hotel in Florida at a cancer conference once again trying to figure out how to move forward, and states away from my children. My sister is once again going to make it magical for Quinn while I’m gone. Thank God for sisters. Maddie and Morgan said they are going to do homework, and all three are being surrounded by love by my mom and dad.
I just want to cry right now, even though I’m so grateful to be here today. It’s hard to be away from them. Especially at a conference that is all about the thing could take me away from them forever.
So it’s time to pivot mentally and speak of my blessings. Gratitude is the attitude to pull myself out of the dark.
This conference is my blessing, and all the people here.
It truly is amazing. Everywhere you go, there are outliers.
Ann Fonfa is force of nature, and her husband is so kind. Ann runs a tight ship, and keeps everything on time. The food and snacks she has delicious, dare I say… “mint”…and she has an air purifier so we don’t breathe in “hotel air”, as well as special water.
This is our third conference and although some of the information we have heard before, it’s a refresher and a kick in the pants so to speak. Eat organic, more fruits and vegetables, eat the rainbow, remove stress and toxic people, increase spirituality, hydrate, exercise, breathe deep, meditate, yoga, trust your intuition, take charge of your medical care and health, increase positive emotions, supplements, accept support, and above all… love.
There is something unexpected that has happened at the third conference I never thought about. The people you meet.
Let me start with Rick Shapiro. Every one of you who follow me should get his book, “Hope Never Dies”. It’s an easy read and you can open up any chapter and feel hope. Somehow, God put him and Rob on an elevator last year. And this man managed to get rob to engage in conversation… and make such an impression, rob came to me excitedly to tell me about this guy and his book. We met him last year, I sent him a friend request, and this man has become my Jiminy Cricket. The whisper in my ears whenever I need it. He sends me messages to relax and take care of myself, to make sure to fast every chemo, even about college searches. It was great to see him again and we’ve had multiple informative conversation here.
Get👏🏻 his 👏🏻book👏🏻.
I’ve also been able to reconnect with other cancer thrivers. One woman I met my first year and have seen her each time. Nicole is a wonderful woman, former teacher, and her son has a story that i told her should be shared in every school.
I saw Terlisa Shepherd, a thriver who has been thriving for decades. She is a powerful voice for the metastatic community and one of my heros. Valencia also walked in with Terlisa and getting hugs from these two strong women started off my conference day in the perfect way.
Women can look different one year later because hair grows back. It gave me hope to see so many women looking so good. Nancy sent me a message to look behind me and she actually had a ponytail! There are two women here who flew from California and London. I follow them on Instagram.
Pink bows and me, and jen cronje, and they are both using my herbalist now. In fact, jen from London is going to fly here every two months to get his herbs. She also gave me a thriver necklace last night. I love these women.
There is also laughter. Two women we met last year keep us in stitches. Connie and Gladys, and you wouldn’t think there would be raucous laughter at a cancer conference, but there is. We hear about therapies, but it’s different to meet people who have actually done these things.
My herbalist is amazing. It started off a little rough, as he has been seeing so many people here he was confused at first and thought it was ovarian cancer. He didn’t like the plan my doctor was following at all, became annoyed and said “so stupid!”, which made me scared. He really pushed me to come off the plan and only used his herbs, until he asked if i had pain. I mentioned the pain in my breast and he got confused as to why, and when I said because of the tumors… suddenly he had clarity and remember it was breast cancer. Then he agreed with the plan and said it was smart. Phew.
He was not happy with my energy. He still said he wished they would give me a break because he is only keeping me from collapsing with his herbs, and wants to unleash his powerful herbs which would kill the cancer. After looking over all of the labs and the mri, he made a decision to use some of them anyway. He said he has to be more proactive and attack it and break it into pieces. He also said my insides are cold. He spoke of a tree in Southeast Asia, indonesia, where he is going to get special cinnamon bark and have it ground up into a powder that i will add to hot water and drink. It will bring “fire” into my body. Donnie Yance has also spoken of cinnamon. My herbalist said his cinnamon is special, because the kind we get from stores is from twigs. His is from this special tree and is bark. He still thinks we are ok, but right now I am not good. He said “you be ok, you liver not pretty, but you be ok”. He said his liver Mets patients are doing well.
He wouldn’t accept any money from us, just a donation to Annie’s foundation. Another presenter told us he is also being used by the king and queen of Sweden and they fly him there and back when needed. He is a humble man, and we are so thankful God placed him in our path.
We didn’t step outside at all once the conference began. Here i am, a New Yorker in Florida in February… and am in a hotel coneference room all day. By the time the conference ended, we were too tired to go out to eat, so we ate dinner here.
Perhaps tonight when the conference ends we can get the energy up to go to the water. I known everyone is saying to go, but remember, I’m on week two of chemo, had an emotional two weeks, flew last minute, two hotels, and am listening to cancer talk all day, with chemo coming again on Monday.
I’ll do my best.
Yesterday we met Dr Robins, and ate lunch with him. He is a fascinating man, and word with intravenous ozone therapy. Some people here have done it and say it’s amazing. He is also a Rotarian, and he and rob had great conversation. We may add it to my plan… waiting to see what happens.
Today is Jane McLellan who wrote “How to Starve Cancer”. I met her last year and we had lunch with her yesterday. She is brilliant. We will also hear from Dr Gregor who wrote the book, “How Not to Die”. I’ll keep posting and doing some live videos. I am also meeting for the first time another Facebook friend, so I’m exited for that hug.
Today is leap day year. Although it’s not going to be what I planned, I am making memories. And in four years, I’ll be here to look at my Facebook memories and be grateful I came here.
Today, may we all make memories, heal, laugh, and fill our hope cups.
In Jesus’s name, amen.