Monday, January 23, 2012


"Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul."
~Jim Valvano

Scans make me crazy.  I mean REAL crazy.  I had my first "during treatment" scan last Friday, and my blood pressure has been sky high ever sense.  I've had a million scans, and they all conjure up some level of anxiety, but I've never had one like this.  The anticipation is literally driving me mad!  Last year, we decided to do chemo after surgery, so we already had the pathology reports which didn't show any traces of the cancer, which meant the during treatment scans were just to make sure it hadn't come back.  This time, the purpose of the scan is to see if the chemo is working.....and the lesions have gone bye bye.  It's an absolutely insane feeling, wanting something so bad that you feel like your heart is going to explode.  I know curing canSer is a process.....a long one sometimes.  I know that a lot of the time, your first scan isn't going to be completely clear.  I know that's especially true if you have numerous tumors or lesions on numerous organs.  I know that sometimes nothing has changed.  I know that sometimes it's worse.  I also know that....we don't always get what we want.  You can see how thinking about all this is enough to drive anyone crazy.  For the last 4 days, all I've been able to think about is the fact that, that scan report may, or may not be the ticket to get my life back.
Visit from my Tar-bear & Miss Kylee <3
I am constantly hearing, or reading something telling me, "to not let canSer control my life".  OK, that sounds really good in theory, but let's be honest people, IT ABSOLUTELY CONTROLS YOUR LIFE!!!!  I didn't choose to leave Savannah in 2010, that was my home! That's where I'd lived for the past 8 years! It's where my job was, where my friends were......where my beach was!!! I was absolutely devastated when I had to leave all that.  At first, treatments were really hard for me last year.  That scan report can change your entire life in an instant, and I felt like my life had been taken away.....and nobody asked me if it was OK.  I guess that's a pretty normal way to feel when you get that kind of news right? (well, I hope it's normal lol!).  Eventually I got over myself and accepted what was, I trusted God, focused on my health, and beat it :o)
So, there I was, a 2 time cancer survivor!!! New outlook, new attitude, and extremely ready to pick up where I left forward to November 10, 2011:

Dr. Duke: "The scans don't look so good"
Me: "Okaaaaaaaay......"
Dr. Duke: "We found a couple of spots on your liver....and there are also some spots on your lung"

The only thing I could think (after the expletives!) was, "You've gotta be kidding me. Can I PLEASE have one year, 365 days of being cancer-free?!?!?! Am I asking too much?!?!?!"  The THIRD time you're told you have cancer, is quite different from the first and second time.  I was actually more annoyed than sad....seriously, it annoyed me to no end that I, once again, was going to be forced to change my life around because this stupid disease wont leave me alone.  So I formulated a plan, and this plan was going to be different than the previous two plans.  I started to really think about my situation, and I decided that it really wasn't all that bad! I live here now, so I didn't have to move.  I work here now, so.....OMG!!!!!!! I CAN WORK DURING TREATMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You guys.....when I realized I could work through treatments, it almost made having cancer a third time OK lol! Seriously! My job is my life, and I LOVE what I do (the majority of the time lol!), so the thought of it being taken away from me again was something I could not accept.  I had a talk with admin and my EBD peeps (shout out!), and we decided I would miss three days of school the week of treatment, and be there the rest of the time.  Great plan, right?!?!?! I mean, people work through chemo all the time! If they can do it, surely I can too!!!! Ummmmmmmmmmmm.........not so much.  This treatment is completely different from my treatment last year.  Different drugs = different side effects and different side effects = different reactions.  To make a long story short....this treatment is kicking my a@@ a lil bit, and it never really worked out the way we planned.  I know now, that I was pushing myself way too hard.  I got up and went to work on days I knew I shouldn't have, I stayed at work on days I knew I should've gone home.  I was staying up way too late, trying my best to stay caught up, but all I was doing was getting more behind, and I definitely wasn't feeling any better....and you guys know me, when anyone asked how I was doing, I always said fine (Auti, I know that's your fave lol!). It got so bad one day, that I ended up in the ER.....THE FREAKING ER PEOPLE!!! (quick apology to those of you who didn't know, I didn't wanna make it a big deal, so I didn't tell anybody....sorry!!!!).  I was doing waaaaaaaay too much, and my body was literally screaming at me to slow down.  I knew what I had to do, and it killed me to do it.  Great.  Once again, I had to stop doing the one thing that made me forget about canSer, and once again, I was devastated.  For a while, I was beginning to wonder how I was gonna get through this again.  How many more times can I take this? How much fight do I have left? How much strength do I have left? Then, right on time, I received an email from Shyra about God's Grace......I read it, prayed, and went directly to a mirror and told myself to stop being so damn dramatic!!!! How dare I wonder how I'm gonna get through this!!! I'm going to get through it the same way I've gotten through any obstacle in my life!! I'm gonna pray, and I'm gonna trust God.......duh! I also had to stop beating myself up over taking a leave from work.  No, I didn't quit, I did what I had to do in order to take care of ME.  I was so concerned about work, I forgot to be concerned about fighting canSer!  I can't do both, and I have zero problem admitting that!  I am determined to beat this, and now, I have my game face on :o)
While I'm talking about work, my Sycamore family has been an absolute blessing, I can't even believe how supportive everyone is, you guys make all this sooooo much easier to deal with, and I appreciate it from the very bottom of my heart.  Meka, Amy, and Cyndi.....I would be lost without you!!!! Seriously, y'all are life savers....I owe you BIG!!!!!

Anyway, that brings us to today and my NEW plan (hee hee). I'm not the least bit concerned with that scan report.  It doesn't matter what it says, either way I'm gonna continue to fight canSer like hell!  I'm gonna continue to speak out about it, I'm gonna continue to harass people to get screened and educate themselves, I'm gonna eat right, I'm gonna exercise, I'm gonna do everything my doctor tells me to do, I'm gonna rest, I'm gonna drink my gogi juice and eat my figs....and whatever else Brooke finds during her endless hours of canSer research :o),  basically....I'm gonna do exactly what Shyra told me to do when I told her about my ER visit.....I'm gonna SIT DOWN, and SHUT UP! but only until I beat this crap again :o)


Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.
I Corinthians 6:19-20

Trust HIM.

I've watched this speech a million times the past couple of should be required viewing.  Do yourself a favor and watch it, then do us all a favor and visit the website :o)

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $115 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all new direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. The Foundation awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit

"Don't Give Up....Don't Ever Give Up"
~Jimmy V

This song gives me goosebumps every time I hear it...It's like my canSer fighting theme song!!! I love how you can make lyrics fit any situation.  Music is my therapy :o)

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
To fly, to fly

I wish today it will rain all day
Maybe that will kinda make the pain go away
Trying to forgive you for abandoning me
Praying but I think I'm still an angel away

Angel away, yeah strange in a way
Maybe that is why I chase strangers away
They got their guns out aiming at me
But I become near when they aiming at me

Me, me, me against them
Me against enemies, me against friends
Somehow they both seem to become one
A sea full of sharks and they all smell blood

They start coming and I start rising
Must be surprising, I'm just surmising
I win, thrive, soar, higher, higher, higher
More fire

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
To fly, to fly

Everybody wanna try to box me in
Suffocating every time it locks me in
Paint they own pictures, then they crop me in
But I will remain where the top begins

'Cause I am not a word, I am not a line
I am not a girl that can ever be defined
I am not fly, I am levitation
I represent an entire generation

I hear the criticism loud and clear
That is how I know that the time is near
See we become alive in a time of fear
And I ain't got no (expletive, lol!) time to spare

Cry my eyes out for days upon days
Such a heavy burden placed upon me
But when you go hard your nay's become yea's
Yankee Stadium with Jay's and Kanye's

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
To fly, to fly

Get ready for it, get ready for it, get ready for it
I came to win
Get ready for it, get ready for it, get ready for it

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
To fly, to fly