Waiting for the seasons

February 15th, 2013 § 27 comments

IMG_2023When I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer last October I could not envision the future. I wasn’t sure if I even had one. Or if I did, for how long.

It has been four months now. Some people don’t even get four months after a Stage 4 diagnosis. But I am here. And my cancer is responding.

Last October I wouldn’t let myself think about Spring. Or Summer. Or a three year renewal on a magazine. I’d wonder if I would outlive the expiration date on the can of food I’d put in my grocery cart. I renewed my son’s USTA membership for 10 years and hoped fervently it would be my job to renew it in a decade, not Clarke’s. I wondered if I’d see out the rest of my car lease. I just didn’t know what to expect.

In some ways I still don’t. My future is unknown. But that is good, I’m coming to think.

When I go to an appointment with my oncologist and he isn’t changing anything, telling me it’s time to try a different treatment, or handing me a piece of paper with a list of scans, I am happy.

On Thursday I had my usual 2 week appointment with my local oncologist. My tumor markers were down 7 points, erasing the blips up I’ve had lately. The tests are not precise. 7 points doesn’t correlate to a particular reduction, but it’s good news. It means I can continue with my current chemo. I did increase my dose this round and will repeat that again this time. We are hoping to find the “sweet spot” where I get therapeutic efficacy but still have manageable side effects. That’s the goal.

My oncologist talked about another goal for me today. We both know for now these two week intervals are needed. But one goal he would love to achieve is even more stability with my body’s response so that I can have longer stretches of time between appointments. Having bloodwork, checkups and my monthly bone drug (Xgeva) all at once would be grand.

When he told me my results I said, “that’s a two week reprieve.” He said he wants me to be able to think in longer increments. I’d love that too. I’m thinking about seasons now.

Spring.
Summer.
Autumn.
Next winter.
Beyond.

Let’s go for it. Let’s make plans. Let’s see what happens. Together.

§ 27 Responses to Waiting for the seasons"

  • Yes, let’s. I am so happy to hear this. I hope to see you this summer!!! oxoxo

  • Barb Bristow says:

    Lisa, that is good news! Let’s see what happens together is right! My last appointment didn’t go as well. My numbers went way up (95 points) I started a new chemo cocktail yesterday and I am hoping to hear good news after a few cycles. Thank you for your honest postings. With our Stage IV diagnosis only 2 months apart I feel like we’re going through this together. When you get good news, I believe I will get good news too. I’m making plans and waiting to see what happens. Barb

    • please keep me posted, I am so sorry to hear you have to try something new. Were you on same drug I am? I hope this will be one that is effective for you. The fine tuning is so nerve-racking… what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. That part is very difficult too. You can’t see what others are doing and have any confidence it will be your path. Sending warm thoughts to you.

  • MrsWhich says:

    I love you, Lisa. I route for you, so many do.

  • Yes. Beyond. Love you, friend. xoxo

  • I love this post. And you.

  • Tammy Riise says:

    I look forward to your posts Lisa. I lost my mom on December 23rd and then I had the breathe knock out of me again when I received a phone call on Feb 4 from the hospital that my 55 year old brother was in cardiac arrest. I did not make it to the hospital in time before he passed. I didn’t even know he was in the hospital until that phone call.

    Your uplifting posts help me through my grief. I am on the committee for ACS Relay for Life in my area but I took a leave of absence this year. I planned the Survivor Dinner and loved every minute of seeing those smiling faces for having one more birthday.

    Hugs to you and your family.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wonderful news !!!!! I was dx 8 years ago with Breast Cancer and 4 1/2 years ago “it ” returned – Stage 4 with Mets to my lungs . 4 1/2 years Stage 4 – it can be done , and I HOPE for 30 more :) – remain positive , be strong , love & fight !!!

  • Amy Coulter says:

    Good news! I’m right beside you all the way!

  • This made my day. Have an absolutely WONDERFUL weekend. You must kiss the dog for me. I so envy you for having one!! Love a million times over. Molly

  • Sarah says:

    Hear is to looking forward to the seasons!!! I love you, Lisa!

  • Sarah says:

    Well, I for one, look forward to our visit every August in NYC. I Love all your posts and you too…but most of all, I love your honesty! xoxox

  • Karen says:

    Winter has had me in its grip for a while now, lethargic and slightly depressed. Although it is still cold here, I sat down to work this morning warmed and cheered by the first sun we have had in many days. I heard the hopeful calls of birds seeking mates. I noticed the first hint of buds on the roses and it cheered me. Then I read your post and my heart soared. I am so happy that you have been able to reach this emotional place, where you can imagine watching the seasons change, where you can face forward and anticipate the future with hope. I know you are not carefree, but carefree is overrated and it cheapens our appreciation for life. You have a future, however long it may last, and I am so happy that you are once again anticipating it and finding a way to relax a bit in the present. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

  • Jen says:

    Love that you’re looking in to making longer plans…I, too, see my future in 3 month segments (one scan to the next). Looking forward to the spring with you!

  • Pam says:

    Wonderful!

    Looking forward to spring right along with you.

  • Lisa, I love the way you express yourself. I’m rootin’ for you. Here’s to a lovely spring.

  • Kim C says:

    I’m in awe of your self expression, Lisa. Your words fell so sweetly this morning.
    With love from a big fan,
    Kim

  • Becky says:

    Excellent!
    I’ll make plans to visit CT! :-)

  • DrAttai says:

    So glad no changes in treatment; excellent advice from your oncologist. Sending love to you.

  • Julie Klam says:

    I love this post, too. I look forward to your Spring and Summer flowers, leaf changes and holiday door! xoxox

  • erikarobuck says:

    Yes!!!! Big smiles from this post! Make plans!! :)

  • Mary says:

    Wonderful post, Lisa. I was the same way in the beginning. I wanted to be at my daughter’s college graduation and my son’s wedding! We are talking only a few weeks out from my Stage IV diagnosis. I was so fearful but I made those events with flying colors!

    I am getting blood work, doctor visit and treatment once a month now. Scans every 3 months. I try very hard to be in the moment, enjoy the season and be happy I am “safe” for three months. Plans are good, always moving forward is better and relishing in the moments of feeling well are the best.

    Keep thinking deeply, keep writing creatively, keep blogging often…..you are my inspiration, mentor and “friend” through this horrific journey. You give me hope and courage, every day and all day.

    Be Well~

  • Sweet, sweet, sweet.

    “Make a plan.” Who knew what wonderful words those could be?

    Much love,
    Jody

  • Paula says:

    Such a great post… xxx ooo

  • Sue Jewell says:

    Lisa,
    There are so many similarities in our journey that I find it so helpful to read your thoughts and appreciate your sharing them. I too was diagnosed in October with stage 4. I will be starting a different therapy tomorrow and I hope it will help slow everything down.
    Thanks again for your willingness to share and please keep writing! Take care,
    Sue

  • Jen Busby says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I first found your blog through the post of “When daughters grieve the loss of their mothers” when my mother was diagnosed Stage IV lung cancer 2 months ago. She passed last week at the young age of 53, 2 months to the day of diagnosis (please don’t take this as a negative indication…she did not undergo treatment, and was in such immense pain that she willed herself to go quickly). Anyway, that is not why I am writing. I am writing to say that I understand your knowledge of the limitations of your time; I understand how valuable each moment is. Yet, you still take the time to share with all of us “strangers”. That is a very selfless thing to do. I thank you immensely for your posts and allowing me to explore your thoughts in an attempt to understand my mother’s mindset (though different from yours because she had no hope, no will to live).

    I hope as your children grow, with or without your physical presence, that they appreciate how many people you helped through sharing. You helped me through this process in ways words cannot express. I am eternally grateful. I will continue to follow your journey and wish you the best possible outcomes. I sincerely hope that your legacy lives on, and your children understand what an amazing thing it is that you have done here. It takes a brave person to share such a story, just as it takes a brave person to undergo all the treatments you have even if it gives you only one more day. Thank you Lisa.

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