Back in November, I had the pleasure of talking with breast cancer survivor, Jenna Schneur, on her ‘Life After Cancer’ podcast. We chatted about what it’s like managing chronic NET cancer, walking the Camino de Santiago 6-months post treatment, how to be uncomfortable, Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) and the grey line separating before, during and after cancer. I hope you listen, enjoy, subscribe to her wonderful podcast and follow her on Twitter.
In March, film maker (and now friend), Rain Bennett traveled to Nashville to spend the day with me. We talked about cancer and a few of the lessons its taught me since my diagnosis in 2014. From our time together, he created this video which is one in a series called Fit to Fight sponsored by Lexicon Pharmaceuticals celebrating the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation’s 50th anniversary. I am so grateful to this organization for all it’s done for me and those impacted by Neuroendocrine Tumors.
And a huge thank you to my yoga teacher, Michelle, who runs the yoga program at Lifetime Athletica in Franklin, TN. Coincidentally (or not) her yoga practice was born from the same yoga studio as me, in Detroit, The Center for Yoga. The teachings from this specific and unique style have (literally) saved my life.
Check it out:
Life has been brimming with buckets of happiness and busyness, which has been a welcomed distraction from my April tests, scheduled three months after my last PRRT in Houston at Excel Diagnostics.
Upon returning from The ENETs conference in Spain, we started remodeling our kitchen and sprucing up our living-room. It was a time-consuming, but fun project. We are still searching for a few furnishings, art and appliances, but so far, it looks pretty good.
In the midst of remodeling, a talented filmmaker (and now, friend) flew to Nashville to shoot a short film on me for the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation’s 50th anniversary. I am one of several featured patients in a series called “Fit to Fight”. The film will highlight my yoga practice and the lessons I’ve learned along this crazy path. It’ll be out this month and, of course, I will share it here.
Two days after the remodel wrapped, my dear friend Christine and I joined forces on a cute, cuddly project. Ever since our beloved German Shepherd, Bear, passed away in 2016, I have been pining for another dog. I’ve hesitated because dogs are a big commitment. Enter an organization called Retrieving Independence. They train service dogs in a local prison for people with disabilities. Originally I signed up for their furlough program, which would give me a dog twice a month to expose them to experiences they can’t receive in the prison. BUT then a big litter of puppies was born and the organization was searching for puppy raisers. Without much thought, my hand shot up. A few weeks later, I had a sweet puppy named Sadie in my arms. She’ll be split between my house and Christi’s, who happily joined us in this venture. Our main responsibilities are to potty train, socialize and just let her be a puppy for the next two months until she turns 16 weeks and heads off to Turney Correctional Facility. From there we’ll get her on furlough until she’s 18 months and is (hopefully) a service dog matched with someone who really needs her. Am I worried about getting attached? Sure, but I also feel good about having a role her changing someone’s life. In the meantime, I am soaking up the puppy snuggles. If you need more Sadie (and let’s face it, you do), click here for her photo stream.
So, you see – much goodness to distract us from my upcoming tests in Houston, but eventually the days came and there was no more avoiding it.
The bad news… even after stuffing myself full of anemia fighting foods, my red blood cells and platelets barely budged compared to February’s check-in.
The good news… my white blood cells moved back into normal territory.
The annoying news… I did not get the most revealing scan, called a Gallium-68 because hours before my appointment, the machine broke. So, I still have to do that in Nashville.
The great news… the blood tumor marker is in normal territory and the MRI and CT scans showed that tumors continue to shrink. Woot woot! The team of doctors in Houston were so encouraged that they released me to my local oncologist for follow-up.
I can’t say the shrinkage news was surprising. I know my body well enough after years of this to know when something is up. And even with low blood counts, I’ve been feeling great and full of energy. In a premeditated stroke of confidence, Fabien and I planned to leave for nine days of fun in the Costa Rican sun. Having our healthy suspicions confirmed, it was incredible switching into vacation mode with the only weight on our shoulders being backpacks.
Read more about my journey with PRRT here.