Gosh, it’s been awhile!

It’s been a strange few months and things seem to change so quickly. Autumn was not the best season for me this year. Side effects and pain took over and there were moments that I actually thought about stopping all of the chemo because I didn’t want to live that way anymore. Then came 2 miraculous events: a meeting with palliative care that brought me complete pain relief, and an offer from my oncologist to take a break from T-DM1.

The transition onto morphine was difficult both physically and emotionally. I felt drunk or drugged, I slurred my words and stumbled around and didn’t remember conversations I had with people. I could not drive my car this way, obviously, but my friends really stepped up and helped with rides, meals, and visiting. I am so lucky to have such great people around me. Mentally, I struggled with the idea of getting palliative care and morphine. I’ve always associated these things with end-of-life and hospice.  But working with my counselor, I’m learning to embrace palliative care as one part of my care team, the part that is focused on helping me have a very good quality of life and no pain while I go through treatment.

So along with having far less pain in my life, I’ve also stopped taking the T-DM1. My doc agreed that I needed a break, so I stopped the chemo in late October. HURRAH! HURRAH! I am still doing some treatments to help encourage my cancer to stay stable. I take Herceptin every 3 weeks as an infusion, Faslodex every 4 weeks as 2 shots into muscle, and Xgeva every 6 weeks as an injection into the stomach. I end up being at SCCA quite a bit. But I feel so good, it’s amazing. There are many days when I don’t even take a nap! I can walk the dogs, I can sit long enough to watch a movie, I can eat most anything that I want. My first scan, 2 months after stopping chemo, showed mostly stability. I have more than 50 bone mets in my ribs, spine, pelvis, sternum, even my arms and legs. But we’re keeping them in check and that’s what is important.

Christmas was fun this year with another Christmas Eve dinner at my place, cooked by Tara.


After Christmas, my parents and I went to Cannon Beach to meet up with Matthew, Danny, Emma, Jeremy, and the kids. We got the kids and the dogs matching pajamas, which was adorable!!


Next up is a trip to Hawaii with Alex. It is going to be fabulous! And it’s fun buying new stuff and getting ready for the trip. I’ve been to Hawaii 3 times since my cancer diagnosis. This will be the first trip where I’m not on chemo– I’ll be able to walk places, snorkel, go on a whale watching trip, etc. There will also be plenty of relaxing with swimming pools, cabanas, the spa, and mai tais. I feel so, so lucky I just can’t believe it! I’m not even going to feel bad if I spend my savings on every thing I want to do while I’m there. I’m going to splurge on a fabulous trip and enjoy every minute, We are staying at the Hilton Waikoloa and it’s so beautiful!

2 thoughts on “Gosh, it’s been awhile!”

  1. Karen, I am so happy for you! You have the best support system, great parents, doctors and friends. I am sure that everyone is dancing with joy. We should all learn to enjoy what we can everyday. You do know how to celebrate the good times…………Love you.

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