One of the highlights of my year: Meeting Kris Carr, author of the Crazy, Sexy Cancer books, at The Pink Fund luncheon.
This time of year is always one of reflection to me. My husband Mike and I took a nice long walk this weekend and discussed what an amazing year 2011 was for us. Molly MacDonald, founder of the Pink Fund that provides financial aid to Michigan residents undergoing treatment, asked me to blog about it for her site. So I’m sharing this with you, too.
Medical Health: The year started off with a bang when I learned that my latest hormonal treatment, Aromasin, was no longer working. We had tried almost all the other hormonal options; all failed. On the flip side, the tumor in my liver took a major hit after doing Selective Internal Radiation Therapy the previous September. The PET scan showed major reduction, and later scans showed no cancer activity at all. I dreaded going back on chemotherapy, but started on Xeloda, an oral chemo. With minimum side effects, it has held the “two pesky spots” in my armpit at bay this entire year. I am blessed.
Holistic Health: I’m convinced it’s not just the traditional treatment keeping the “C” word in check. Since my recurrence in 2008, I have changed my entire lifestyle, eating whole organic foods, exercising more, doing yoga, and taking various supplements. But I never felt like it was coordinated very well. This past summer, I went to the Chicago area to visit The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care . I was given a full blood work up and sent home with a new diet, supplements and a game plan to keep my mind and spirit in healthy condition. I go back for my six-month check-up in January.
I was booked! It was a great year for spreading hope via my book, From Incurable to Incredible, MiracleSurvivors.com and speaking engagements near and far. From Incurable to Incredible won first place in the medical category of the 2011 Readers Favorite Awards , and was a finalist in the International Book Awards competition. And I was extremely shocked and humbled to be selected as a top 10 breast cancer blogger on Twitter by Cision Navigator. I traveled to Salt Lake City, Houston, West Palm Beach, the Poconos, New York, Cleveland, and more for speaking engagements … and fun, too! It was so wonderful meeting cancer professionals, survivors and their families!
Personal space: My greatest accomplishment and joy, however, was time spent with my husband and 12-year-old daughter, as well as extended family and friends. I’ve lived to help my daughter’s transition into adolescence, junior high, hormone high and lows, braces and all. And I was there to celebrate my husband’s new job and its new possibilities for him and our family. Also, I reconnected with friends I haven’t seen since high school and college and enjoyed many new friendships both on- and offline. I am so grateful to have a year of health; each day is like a huge bonus to me.
Sad news: But the year also brought tragedy, as I said goodbye to several friends who lost their lives to cancer. Most recently, my friend Cyndi passed away. Medical bills contributed to her family’s financial crisis, resulting in the need to live in various friends’ homes over the last couple of years. Just as her family was getting back up on their feet, Cyndi died at age 61. If only there was an organization in Ohio like The Pink Fund to help her. I believe financial stress was a contributor to her deteriorating health.
I invite you to rise to the Pink Fund’s challenge to give at least $20.11 by year’s end, so they can help more breast cancer survivors like Cyndi. I know that Molly MacDonald, its founder, would like to expand to other states (I’m hoping for Ohio!). Your donation would help. To learn more go to www.thepinkfund.org .
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