Friday, February 19, 2010

My mom's testimony

Hi there my dearest friends and relatives I have some great news for you:

I went to see my oncologist yesterday, and the cancer that was in my entire spinal cord sheath, that holds your spinal fluid was completely and totally gone. In October the MRI showed that the entire sheath was cancerous. This was a very life threatening situation. The oncologist gave me a prognosis of a month to a year to live. The biggest threat was that the cancer would invade my brain. The cancer had positioned itself in the soft tissue of the entire sheath. At that time he told me that this was no longer curable. He said that I would definitely die of cancer.

The sheath houses your spinal fluid, and the cancer cells can move through the fluid up to your brain. This was devastating news for Wil and I. Two weeks ago I had an appointment with my oncologist, and he scheduled another MRI to see what the cancer was doing at this time, and I was also scheduled for this Wednesday to get another intrathecal spinal tap and chemo treatment. At that appointment I said to him, “I feel like I never had cancer in my spinal cord sheath right now.” I got the results yesterday for the MRI that I had done yesterday morning at 6:30 AM. When the oncologist looked at the MRI, he found ABSOLUTELY NO CANCER IN MY SPINAL CORD SHEATH! “He said this NEVER happens”, and “It's as though you had taken Femara and Zometa drips all along to prevent the cancer from spreading to the soft tissue. He said that the metastasized cancer is now curable and preventable too. I never doubted God would answer this prayer. We have been married 35 years come February 22, 1975. What a wedding anniversary God-gift this is! We celebrated with a lobster dinner last night. We got the gift of many more years of love together, and I get to see my grandchildren grow up and get married and have kids. I am crying with joy right now. I bet Joy my sister-in-law will be literally crying with joy too, when she reads this. My tears are hitting the keyboard so that I can not see anymore. My oncologist canceled not only my next intrathecal spinal tap and chemo treatment, he also said that I don't even have to have any more treatments. I was supposed to have three more treatments after the one on Wednesday. I am an absolutely free woman now!!!! He said all I have to do now is take my femara, get my zometa IV drips once a month, and inject myself with the fragmin everyday for the next six months.

Something else happened at Froedtert yesterday too, while we were waiting for our appointment to get those results above, I decided that I wanted to volunteer my time at this wonderful hospital that I love so much. I love this hospital because of not only do they have great nurses and doctors, but they , also I have never run into anyone who wasn't trying to take care of me with joy and respect for me. Every time I turn around employee at the hospital is putting a warm blanket on me and asking me how I am doing with a big genuine smile on their face. So I said to my husband Wil, “I want you to wheel me around this hospital in my wheel chair so that I can get to know the whole hospital. I hurt my leg driving over a big pot hole on Saturday, and my leg was inflamed and painful. The pot hole is on Oakton near the old Oakton Manor homes heading east toward Hwy SS near St Anthony's church. A little tip—watch out for that one!! So I said to Wil, I want to learn where everything is in the hospital so that I can wheel chair people around this gigantic hospital because I want to volunteer my time over here doing whatever they might need me to do.” Anyways, we were having a lot of fun wheel chairing around and laughing. We came up to this lady and I got a feeling that I should stop and ask her where I could go to find out where I could find out how to volunteer my time and services at this hospital. So I stopped her in the hall and I said, “Ma'am, could you please tell me where in this hospital I could find out how to volunteer my services?” She said, “That is what I am in charge of.” She took me down to her office where I got to meet the most incredible women I will be working with very shortly. I just have to heal up this inflammation in my leg first. I loved these women instantly, and they loved me instantly. We hugged each other like crazy people. I can't wait until my leg heals so that I can get down there and start working with them. I am so excited about this! Then all day Shirley, the woman I stopped in the hall for directions on where to go to volunteer my services, kept bumping into us. Shirley kept bumping into us all day after that and she said, I am not trying to bump into you. We were all laughing about it. Then she came up behind me with Wil cause she bumped into him again at the pharmacy while Wil was picking up the fragmin prescription. She heard my conversation with another cancer patient who was complaining about her cancer and how she hated her job. I was saying to her, “ leave your job then cause what you chose to fill your time with shapes and forms who you are.” Shirley overheard my conversation and she came up and said, “you really do have a cup that is not only half full, but spilling over.” And I said yes, “I don't ever waste this precious lifetime thinking negatively.” She said, I LOVE YOU, and gave me another BIG hug!”

I am on a mission now. My purpose now is to tell as many women as I can about my breast cancer story. I'll work at Froedtert hospital until I am at least 104 years old because I have to beat that great grandmother's age on my maternal side where all of the breast cancer was. I would like to break the cycle of breast cancer for my daughters and my grand daughters. I am going to count how many women I tell my story to and then when I get to heaven, the first thing I am going to ask God is, “So God, just how many lives did I save?” I really want to work full time at Froedtert hospital. After all of those health care expenses from last year and with this years expenses I will have to take the next job that comes along and I sure hope that it is in the Cancer Center of Froedtert Hospital. That's where I met Shirley. God gave me not only a second chance at life, but he gave me a dream job all in one day. Blessings are on us again. Will was in a daze all of the way home. I don't' think that this whole scenario had made it's way into his understanding yet that our lives had just made a complete and total turn-around in an afternoon. And the nightmare was over! I have decided that I am going to write a book about my breast cancer story. I know it will be a best seller and if I write that book, just think how many more women will benefit!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Breast Cancer and the power of prayer

My mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in February of 2008. She had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. She was told that she had a very slim chance of metastasis so she opted not to take the anti-hormone drugs because they made her joints ache, etc...
Last year in about August of 2009 she came up to visit from Milwaukee and was playing Wii bowling and boxing with Allison. She felt that she may have pulled a muscle in her right upper back. She tried going to Chiropractors, etc... but nothing helped. Then she visited in October and got a fever when she was here. She thought maybe it was the H1N1 virus, BUT no one else, including my dad, came down with the same symptoms. A few weeks later she got a fever again. (Mind you, the whole time I felt something was wrong and kept telling my dad he should convince her to go to the doctor.) Anyways, finally she went to her regular doctor and just to be on the safe side they did a bone scan, since she had a history of breast cancer. Her bone scan lit up ALL OVER!! She had cancer in her skull, vertebra, ribs, femur, tibia, etc... It was bad. She was seeing an oncologist at that time that wasn't giving her the time of day literally. She had a scan and he would take over a month to get in to see him, she couldn't get results, etc... By the time some of those patients did they could be gone already. It was a really bad situation. She found out about a much better clinic and started care there. The new oncologist finally did a full body scan to see if the cancer had gone to soft tissue. Her spinal cord sheath lit up like a Christmas tree. The doctor told her that they can try chemo, but her prognosis was 1 month to 1 year at best. He felt that it was just a day away from hitting her brain, which is a really bad thing.
So they started chemo, by injecting it right into her cerbral spinal fluid (CSF). She was getting it once a week at first and then down to twice per month. She started chemo in November or early December.
Since then she has had TWO pulmonary embolisms, several bone fractures, food poisoning and a breast infection. She literally felt like she was dying. BUT never once did she not believe in the power of God and the fact that he has it ALL in control. She wasn't worried about dying because she KNEW without a doubt where she was headed. She had more joy during this whole process then most of us do when we aren't sick. I have witnessed one of the strongest believers I have EVER seen, and have forever been touched by that. Anyways, she has been preaching to anyone who will listen about how you can still live with cancer. You can believe in peace and joy even though it hurts, etc...
She had an MRI last week to see how the chemo is doing in her spinal sheath. She went to review the results with her oncologist yesterday. He sat her down and told her that in ALL his many years as an oncologist he has NEVER seen such a miracle. She had absolutely NO cancer in her spinal sheath. He couldn't find one trace of it anywhere. He kept saying over and over this is a miracle. He could not explain it. He told her that she could live another 30-40 years. She will not EVER need to do chemo again.
She is going to start volunteering and possibly taking a position at the hospital where she had her treatments and witnessing and helping the current cancer patients. She is so on fire for God! What a miracle in and of itself, for someone who was so sick to worship instead of wallow in self pity. God is not done with her here on Earth yet. He has a mission for her, it is obvious, and because of the power of His healing she is given that opportunity.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for her and our family. I just ask that you continue in those prayers.