Who am I? I’m a mother to Elizabeth, Morgan and Sterling. I had my three beautiful children when I was very young. My youngest child was born when I was only 23 years old. I have two grandchildren, and two beautiful little nieces.
I’m a nurse. I went back to school in 2009 when I was 34 years old. I was one of the oldest people in my class. Nothing made me as proud as the day I graduated from my registered nursing program. I was able to show my children how very important it is to get an education. We no longer needed to weigh what essential we could give up if my kids wanted to do something like a sport or some other activity. While we didn’t have a perfect life, we were happy and had worked very hard to get to a place where we didn’t have to worry about whether we could pay our bills each month. We went from being a very poor family to having a comfortable life.
I became a nurse because I want to help people. I work on a women’s health unit where our primary patients are women having hysterectomies and mastectomies. Often because of breast or uterine cancer, or because of other gynecologic disorders. I have cared for women that have only recently learned of their diagnosis. I have sat with other women who were taking their last breaths as they passed away because of old age or diseases. I love what I do each day.
As of September 25, 2018 a metastatic breast cancer thriver. How did I get here? That day started like any other day. I had pain in my back and went to the emergency room. And that day I learned that pain was tumors on my spine from an unknown cancer that I would later learn was metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer that had metastasized to my bones.
I went from taking care of patients, to having my daughter who is a certified nurse’s aide (CNA) having to take care of me in less than a week. The initial shock and depression almost swallowed me up. But when that passed, I was filled with a determination to live my life to its fullest. To live each day as though it were my last and to do everything I could to die without regrets.
I still have cancer. I will always have cancer. But cancer won’t beat me. I am beating it. The sad statistic is that only about 22% of women with metastatic breast cancer live to the five year mark. I WILL BE in that 22%. I am 43 years old. I have far too much left to accomplish. I WILL live for many more years. Failure is not an option.
Dx 10/9/2018, invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), left breast, 1.5cm, Nottingham Grade 6, hormone receptor positive, ER+ (estrogen receptor)/PR+ (progesterone receptor), HER2- (human epidermal growth factor), BRACA- (genetic mutation), Stage IV, metastasized to bones
First CA 27.29 10/9/2018 83 (goal <38)
Hormonal Therapy 10/12/2018 Tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) pills
Targeted Therapy 10/12/2018 Xgeva (Denosumab) injection
Hormonal Therapy 10/19/2018 Lupron Depot (Leuprolide Acetate) injection
Surgery 11/29/2018 Vaginal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy
First CA 27.29 post hysterectomy 12/10/2018 73 (goal <38)
Hormonal Therapy 12/11/2018 Femara (letrozole) pills
Targeted Therapy 12/23/2018 Ibrance (palbociclib) capsules
First CA 27.29 post medication change 1/10/2019 60 (goal <38)