Sunday, December 11, 2011

Finally an Update

Hello my friends. I apologize for the great lack of updating. But in my case if I'm not updating it's because things are going well and there isn't much to report cancer-wise.

Things have been going great, I am thankful and happy to say. I had my scans mid-November and Fran and I met with Dr. Moriarty the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Since my previous 3 scans, and blood work had been good, I picked off a tiny little chunk out of the I-think-this-scan-will-be-okay-too mountain that has previously been completely untouched.

Dr. Moriarty came in and told us that the scans were good, "phew." He said that as a matter of fact Dr. Nosher who did my SIR-spheres procedure in October of 2010 and has also been doing my scans up until this point, felt that I could wait another 6 months before my next one. "Well" I said, that's a bit nuts, we're not waiting that long. And anyway that's for people who don't have cancer or whatever." To which Dr. Moriarty said in his always very calm demeanor "Well, Karen I can't really say that I can classify you as someone who clinically has any signs of cancer."

"Say, say, say what now!?"

So then I start crying and wringing my fingers so hard I think I am going to tear them straight off. Fran and I were both totally bewildered and I said to Dr. Moriarty "what the heck are you talking about?"

So in a nutshell the report from the PET/CT scan said that it didn't pick up any metabolic activity from any tumor (from the PET) and from CT didn't show any malignancies either. So basically "they couldn't see nothin."

What does this all mean? I didn't update the blog immediately because even though this news is better than miraculously great, it has taken me awhile to process. I think I am still processing and digesting all of this. When Dr. Moriarty was explaining all of this to us, I was truthfully just as shocked as I was when I was told I had cancer.

Right now the doctors don't see any visible signs of cancer in me or on my person. I guess I can be classified as N.E.D. that means (no evidence of disease). That's a sweet phrase and though this is an understatement I am deeply, deeply grateful. The most I was hoping for last year was a long break from chemo. Maybe like 6 months.
So this is a crazy miracle and I am all over it. I am so very grateful to be alive.

For people wondering, (because I know I was, and riddled Dr. Moriarty with a barrage of question my own self), the cancer can come back at any time.

But life right now is good, and right now is sweet. I am trying to just sit back and take into account all that I have been given, and wonder why I have been given it. Then I try not to wonder why and just enjoy my life. But cancer has taken 3 very dear friends of ours this year who went to the ends of the earth to be rid of cancer, heck just to have the damn tumors shrunk. They were young, strong, determined and loved life. They had children, had people who loved them deeply and are missing them so much now. Julia, Jessica, and Adam. Please pray for them and their families during this time of year that is so hard. Especially for their young children. It is because of these amazing people, and friends who are still battling, falling down and picking themselves back up over and over and over again, that I can't help but wonder about where I am at.

Thank you, every single one of you for your prayers, for lighting candles, for your emails, letters, messages and loving support.

Let's keep praying for each other.

Much Love,

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Hello my friends. Well here it is. I had my 3 month scan done on August 11th. Saw my life-saving Dr. Moriarty on August 16th.

God blows you away with the bad in life, and then blows you away with the incredibly great!! My scan stated that in regards to my liver tumor it showed "continued improvement," and "minimal activity," oh and then there is my favorite "no new evidence of disease." Uh, yuh-huh, that's what I said too. But after being wound up tighter than anything, convinced the my lucky streak was due to be over, it took a day or two for the news to actually sink in.

This has been the best summer of my life, and after this past Tuesday, the happiest I have EVER been in my life. Since Tuesday I keep thinking back, back and back to when I met Dr. Moriarty. My body was dying then. I have thought about this a lot. I didn't realize it too much at the time, but over the last few years, how I had been internally physically feeling, how sick I was, yes, my body was dying. That is why right now at this minute I feel sheer, pure, happiness.

I have been off of chemo for a solid year (which adds to this miracle). I can feel life, taste life, like you can feel the moisture in the air on a humid day. When I go for walks lately sometimes I just stop, let the sun hit me and breathe in nice and deep, because I can, and nothing hurts, or aches, or burns.

Why I am still here, I do not know. I am genuinely stupefied. Why my body has responded to treatment well, yet no so well in my dear friends who have passed, I do not know. But I know I am very lucky, very grateful, and very humbled.

I have stage 4 colon cancer. I welcome the miracle along with the absurdity of being cured. That's easy to want, effortless even, but hard to come by. But I revel even in this, that still having cancer, I can live my life unimpeded. Striving to be a better person today than I was yesterday, because each day I wake up I feel like God swoops down and hands me this crystal clear, beautiful present. I open it each morning and inside is today. I say to Him "thank you God for the gift of life today."

Deeply, deeply I thank you for all your prayers and support, love and friendship. I am so grateful to you all. And to Dr. Moriarty, my coach, my healer, my friend thank you for getting me so very far. I am forever indebted to you.

Much love,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Holding Steady

Wow. I haven't updated in so long, sorry about that. Things are good my friends. I had my 3 month scan check/deal at the beginning of May. I had a pet/ct. The tumor in my liver has not grown, and according to the pet showed minimal activity and there is no new growth elsewhere. Great news.

I feel like every three months, I keep sneaking by, by the skin of my teeth. I know that I am a very, very lucky girl (what? I'm only 36). So anyway, Unless something unexpected arises, which can always happen with cancer, I will be able to fully enjoy and be present with my family this summer for the first summer in 4 years. There won't be any treatment, no chemo, no erbitux - nothin. Thats-a-nice-a eh?

These last 6 months have been the most peaceful and calm we have had since being diagnosed, and though I don't know how long it will last, it has been very welcome and has helped our family regroup and take a breath.

There is not much else to report. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention a few people. Life ends, life begins.

Our lovely friend Adam Krystian Beldycki, was diagnosed a year before myself in 2006 and was a year older than myself. Fran had reached out to him at the time of my diagnosis as we grappled, scratched, and clawed, looking for someone to give us hope, and direction, and advice. Adam reached back. He was a friend to me, to us.
I thought that if anyone would kick the crap out of this disease it would be my friend. Full of life, kindness, and intelligence. Adam passsed away on April 10th 2011. I extend my sympathies and condolences to his family and friends who have suffered a great loss.
Adam, you are missed my friend. Thank you for being a friend to me and to Fran.

On that same turn a new life is beginning. My younger sister Cynthia and her husband Brad are expecting their first baby in October. This is of course amazing and joyful news and we are so happy for them. I am grateful that, for a change, our family can focus on something that is pure joy and goodness. Congratulations Cynthia and Brad!

Thank you all for your never ending support, love, and prayers. They mean the world to me. They really do. Thank you deeply, from the bottom of my heart. Let's all keep praying for each other!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Great News!!!

Well I mixed up the appointment with Dr. Moriarty, and wasn't supposed to see him until next week ahhhhh! But I was able to talk to Dr. Nosher's office and he called me back to go over the report with me.

I said the tumor showed "marked improvement, with very minimal metabolic activity. And there is no new growth." And along with that I had gotten news earlier in the week that my CEA was 5!!!!!!

What does this mean? It means the tumor is dying. The last pet scan we did 3 months ago it, in Dr. Nosher's words, "lit up like a Christmas tree." That basically means there was a lot of metabolic activity and the stinkin' thing was alive and well. Now there was very minimal glowing. Dr. Nosher was very happy and spoke to Dr. Moriarty and HE was very happy. And they are excited about the results.

We are reeling with happiness, and joy, and are so grateful to God and all who have been praying for us to make this possible. Thank you so much.

I will see Dr. Moriarty next week and discuss this all to a greater extent but we are floating on a cloud, and just reveling in the great news.

We are now off to celebrate my big sister's 40th birthday today. What an awesome day!!

Love, love, love,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

... These Go To 11

The title there is a little homage to any Spinal Tap fans out there. Such a hilarious movie, I highly recommend it.

Spinal Tap clip to give a chuckle

It is also a bit of a clue into some great news I've been keeping close to the vest over the last few weeks. My recent CEA has come in at, you guessed it, 11!

My previous number before the sir-spheres procedure was around 160. Then it went to 180 then to 227. Then Kathy called me about 2 months ago to tell me it was 51! I said to her "can you repeat that?" I genuinely thought she must have said 151, but she said, "five, one." I was elated. That was the first drop we had seen in my CEA since October of 2009. Then she called about a month later and said we were at 11! Well, it is actually 11.7 but I figure I'm not in school anymore so I don't have to round up, do I?

So this news is very encouraging. Numbers dropping indicate the tumor is dying. I have a pet/ct scan scheduled for February 2nd (happy bday Jen) and will meet with Dr. Moriarty on the 4th. I am optimistic and hopeful, but I have to add I am cautious as well.

I don't really know what to expect to happen after this. Nobody knows. This isn't a cancer where doctors tell you it's "very treatable" and "we expect you'll do well."

Now in all fairness Dr. Moriarty doesn't tell me the opposite of that but at the end of the day it's a stage 4 cancer. It's very easy and good to hear/get good news, good results. I don't, have to prepare myself for that, or the miracle we are all praying for. But I do have a parallel line running through my head right next to hope and faith that says "just prepare and brace for a long future with this or for things to turn the wrong way."

I think that's normal right? What more can I do?

I guess what I am driving at is that if we have the scans and the tumor is dead, or gone, then there will be no words to describe that joy. However, it doesn't mean it's gone for good. Having the recurrence post surgery keeps me grounded in that reality.

But at the end of the day my life is good. I haven't been on any chemo since mid-August, and let me tell you that is NICE! That can change too at any moment but Dr. Moriarty is trying to hold that at bay, while killing this thing with more local treatments if he can and if he thinks it's the best treatment to do so.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. They mean SO much to me. And please let's continue to pray for those who continue to get diagnosed everyday. The shock is mind-numbing. We recently had a friend diagnosed with breast cancer,and within weeks she has had a double mastectomy and now after recovery faces chemo and radiation. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

I really do continue to pray for all who pray for me especially those who are going through cancer, and keep me so strong by their examples of bravery, good humor, and faith. Faith can be a toughie and I admit that I have been flailing a bit over the last year with it all. But for me at the end of the day, it is Jesus who keeps me calm when I am terrified, brings me comfort when I feel alone, and I know when you feel stripped of it all, I know He is there, and He brings me hope.

I think I have mentioned I hate cancer, I hate having it, and I hate it for everyone else who has it. But life is here in my face saying "live me girl!" And I say back to life "will do...word!"