Hello again, Kim’s mom, Paula, here. Kim has asked me to once again to
write about my newest diagnosis that I was given in December, 2008.
Stage 4, breast cancer .
Ok, now that’s out of the way, let me begin.
Last August/Sept, 2008, I started feeling funny. I couldn’t quite place
what was wrong but, I just wasn’t feeling like myself. Then the nausea
& vomiting came. I went to my regular doctor who said I might have a
“bug”, gave me my usual B12 shot & told me to rest. This was now
going on for 2 weeks. I was sent for blood work & everything came out
normal. He was stumped because now he knew it wasn’t a “bug”. I got
tired of going back & forth, plus the holidays were coming, so I just
grinned, puked & beared it.
December was my usual yearly oncology appt. anyway, so I figured I
would go see that doctor. We had the usual “how you doing?” formality
& I told him what had been going on. Blood was drawn, exam over, then
I don’t know what came over me & I asked him, “How come every year I
come here, I never find out what my tumor markers are?”…his response
was”for 12 years your markers have been between 15-20, nothing to
I felt confident leaving his office & went home. Three days later the
number on the Caller ID was the oncologist’s office. I figured they
screwed up on the blood test, but when I heard a male voice on the
other end, I knew something was not right. I asked him if he missed
me or if there was a problem in my bloodwork. He said, “you have to
come in ASAP, like tomorrow, your tumor markers are 84.” So, there I
was back in the office being told I may have this, or I may have that,
but I most definitely had to have a PET scan ASAP. That was scheduled
for the next week. I had it on Tues. & by Tues. night, he was already
back on the phone to me with, “we have a real big problem here“.
Back to the office.
Doctor who did that said he was blown away with the results because
the cancer was “breast cancer” & it was found behind my chest wall.
Apparently, the little sucker was laying dormant all those years
hiding out but when I had my open heart surgery in 2000 it might have
woken it up. And yes, all those yearly visits to the oncologist from
2000, my tumor markers were still under the 20 point range. In a three
month tumor marker range, my numbers went up to 171. That’s pretty fast if
you ask me. Right now they are at 67 from being on Femara, but it’s
only a “slowing” drug, not a cure drug.
Now, from those who don’t know my history, real fast version. 1997,
lumpectomy, CAF chemo plus radiation, left side. 1998, new
cancer,right side, can’t have anything since chemo & radiation damaged
my heart. 1999, first TIA, plus complete hysterectomy due to reaction
to taking Tamoxifen & I’m estrogen positive. 2000 ASD repair of the
heart. 2000-to present, TIA’s, minor stroke in 2004, other piddly
shit and now a new cancer. The real kicker here was that when I went
back to the oncologist’s office to find out what he will be doing, we
got to talking & he says, “well now that you’re Stage 4, blah, blah,
blah“. I said, “hold up there, did you just say Stage 4, what happened
to Stage 3?“. He said “when it comes back after such a long time,
they already know that it is going to metatasize” & with my wonderful
history, well, we know the rest. I’m ok with all of this, I just want
to get on with whatever they are going to do. I asked him if I should
go to Sloan-Kettering & he said he IS from Sloan & that the treatment
or trials they would put me through would only make me sick & what do
I want, quality or quantity of life. All the trials would be with
some kind of heavy duty chemo which my body couldn’t take. So I’m on
Femara to block the estrogen.
Oh, a thing I forgot to say. I couldn’t understand how, if I had a
complete hysterectomy, could I still have estrogen. He said they are
finding out now that our bodies are producing estrogen somehow & even
hysterectomies don’t stop it. Geez, you think they would have found
that out a little earlier!!!! I also had to be put on a Zometa
infusion, every 3 months, because two other scans came back
“questionable” for possible bone cancer. I have Fibromyalgia also,
but the “areas in question” on the scans aren’t where the Fibromyalgia
would be, so as a preventive they are finding out Zometa may help in
the slowing down of bone cancer. If it’s not one thing, it’s
But wait, she’s not finished!! Oh God, do we have to read
more ???? Yes, because it doesn’t stop yet.
Last month (August 2009) I started again with the nausea & vomiting. Back to primary, B12 shot, pretty
pink pill, nothing working. Every day it’s a chore just to get up.
My friend, the toilet, has come back to haunt me. I even got sick at
my mom’s surprise 90th birthday party last weekend. That really
sucked because as the saying goes, “you can’t fool MOM” & she saw
right through me when I told her I was ok. So I had my oncologist
monthly visit today & now I’m going for an MRI of the brain because he
wants to rule out that it has gone to my brain. He’s quite confident
that it’s not lesions, but this is the first set of tests that’s the
easiest I guess to find out what is going on again. I am sitting here
right now feeling sick but I just try & pull every ounce of energy I
have left to do things. When this test comes back negative & if I’m
still feeling like shit, then we go for other tests. Whooped Dee
So this is all she wrote for now. I’ll let you all know
what happens or Kim will. My family & friends have been with me all
the way. I’m truly grateful for all of them & love them with all my
October is slated for Breast Cancer month, but it really is every
month that everyone should be having those Kodak lightbulb moments.
It’s like I said before, most of us know our bodies & when something
feels wrong, or if you feel out of sorts, go the next mile to get it
checked out for your own sanity & peace of mind. I never really
dreamed that I would be getting breast cancer again, but it happened &
I just do what I can to pull through this. My doctors are great (even
though Kim doesn’t like my oncologist) & I trust them. They don’t
keep anything from me because they know that I will hound them until I
know EVERYTHING. I’m really a pain in the ass. Ask anyone.
LOL…Every day for me is another day that I’m here. The doctors
don’t have any timeline for my impending departure, but they are all
in agreement that the cancer will metastasize again. So, although I’m
not actually sitting idle all day waiting for this day, it does pass
my mind more than once.
The cancer is beating me up inside, but what I show on the outside is
what counts. I’m not the “boo-hoo, why me”, girl. I’m the “take the
bulls by the horn”, girl. I’ll fight until my last breathe & even
then I’ll probably have a smart answer. When my younger sister, who
also is a survivor, go upstate to her “other” house & we sit out in
the backyard & look over the creek we do the “Beaches” scene. Yes, we
laugh when we do it. Yes, we are both warped individuals. BUT…
this is my way of dealing with it. When I do something or say
something not nice, I get, “God’s going to punish you for doing that“,
to which I reply, “Oh like I’m shaking in my pants, what else could go
I laugh, I smile, I cry & right now I’m still alive.
I am beyond honored to share Kim’s Mom’s Story with you. I remember distinctly the first time that I read it.
I remember the first time that Kim told me her mom had been diagnosed.
Kim’s mom is one of the women whose story inspired me to do this and each time that I read it, I’m inspired even more.
Thank you for sharing this with us all. Thank you for allowing me to publish you and share your story with the world.
Tomorrow, I’ll share Kim’s story.
Please donate in honor of and in celebration of Kim’s Mom and Every Other Woman. Blogging For Boobs