Monday, August 17, 2015

Stage 4 Colon Cancer-Just Keep Swimming!

Summer hello's to all my family and friends! I will get right to it.

I had my scans about a month ago and once again I held my breath and waited, planned out my chemo schedule and how I would handle it all, planned how we'd tell the kids. Because with every scan, with every blood test I expect the worst. Somehow, for reasons I will never understand God gives me the best.

Perfectly clean scans. Nothing. Dead calcified tumors still dead and calcified. No growth-no change.

Every other organ and scanned part of my body is normal. Unremarkable-as they say in the reports. 
I love that word. 

I have been feeling good, but still have to take things kind of easy. I have, finally, well almost 90% accepted that I can't do the things I used to do at a physical level. If I want to exercise-even if it's just a 2 mile walk I try and make sure I don't have to much to do the next day because my body will be physically drained. My memory is crap-the other day someone asked for my phone number and for 10 embarrassing seconds could not remember it.  Thankfully it was over the phone and she couldn't see my blushing. 

It's all good and I'm not complaining. I am grateful to be alive but I am just speaking to where I am now. I'll take it any day of the week. 

We have been having a great summer, the kids are 9 and 11 now and thriving. I am so grateful to be by their sides and helping them and guiding (I hope!) them as they grow into this new tween/adolescent phase of their lives. It makes my heart rejoice to have made it with them this far in their lives. It feels like I've made it to another marker with each milestone in they come across and experience with each birthday they have. 

There isn't much I can say that I haven't already said. I am very far from perfect or very learned and I will never claim to be. But one thing I do know. Each day we are on this earth is a gift. I don't even ask for God's blessing for tomorrow because I don't even know if that day will come. Be with each other, listen to one another, love and forgive. If you are alone and isolated in this life seek out others who are who are in the same boat, or who are having a difficult time. Give them your love and company and you will find that healing love and companionship returned to you. There is always someone who has it worse. Always. Seek them out and have compassion. That is what I have learned. Because life is hard, we all need love, and tomorrow may not come. 

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. It means so much.

I also want to encourage anyone who wants to, please feel free to contact me with any questions or anything you want to talk about in relating to cancer. It never bothers me.

Much love to everyone,


Lena said...

So so so so happy to read this update Karen! We think about you a lot and are so proud and amazed by your strength and grace!

James said...

Great news Karen. Hopefully you will still be writing this blog in 50 years! :)

Karen Shanahan said...

Thank you James!

Karen Shanahan said...

Thank you Lena!

Karen Shanahan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
teresa loughnane said...

Thank you God for the blessing that is Karen Shanahan. Karen you remind us all of what is truly important in life! Wishing you, Fran and the kids continued good health and happiness. All our love. Teresa, Mike and the gang xx

Catherine Lonergan said...

Your scans may be unremarkable but you truly are REMARKABLE Karen!!

Jo said...

wonderful news Karen. It is so good to read your blog and know you 4 (You, Fran, Sydney and Ethan are having a great Summer as a family encircled with great love and goodness. Jo (Nenagh)

Miriam Handy said...

God is good all the time......♡♡♡♡♡♡ So happy to hear.

DaƱa Blackwood said...

Hello Karen, My brother is 27 & was diagnosed with Colon cancer last year, & it's now at stage 4 and has spread all over his belly. You're really inspiring and I'm hoping my brother will be as blessed as you are...Could you tell me what foods and juices you've consuming since your diagnosis?

Ashby said...

I am so glad to see an update. You give me a lot of hope. I am currently facing stage 4 colorectal cancer as well, at the age of 25. I was diagnosed as soon as I had my daughter, who is now three months old. Amazingly enough, my CEA levels started out as 68, and in three treatments they have lowered to 26. Just yesterday I got my scans to see if I am ready for surgery. I hope I am. Folfoxiri is tough to go through.

Anonymous said...

Tears fall from mt eyes as I read everything you have placed on line. You are an amazing person for sharing your story. My husband has been battling stage 4 colon cancer for 2 and a half years. He was diagnosed at the end if 2012 with colon cancer. In January 2013 he had 1 cancerous tumor removed wirh no spreading to the lymphnodes. He went to every follow up appointment with no issues. Then around September of 2014 he was told he had stage 4 liver cancer. You remind me of him with your strong spirit. Words cannot express how much I appreciate reading your words, your are making a difference in so many peoples lives. I hope you realize it. God bless.

Mary said...

Hi Karen,
Yours is the first story I've seen with the exact same annoying symptom I have. You wrote... "I couldn’t stop belching so much that at times, I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath."
What, if anything, did your doctors do to treat/relieve this symptom? I don't think my doctors are taking me serious when I tell them how much I'm belching and how I believe it effects my breathing.
I'm a 47 yr old, married mother of two boys, 9 yrs and 11 yrs. I was diagnosed with colon cancer metastatic to both lungs a month after my 45th birthday. I search the internet quite frequently for new treatments, trials, hope & inspiration. Your story gives hope, thank you for sharing. Mary

Anonymous said...

Hello Karen, I came across your postings (actually your husband from 2007) when I was looking up info on CEA counts and so I decided to go to your blog!! I cannot tell you how happy it makes me feel to see you are doing wonderful!!!! You see my hubby has been battling Stage IV colon cancer since 2009, still fighting, still winning. From appendix what we thought was appendix attack, ended up how we found his cancers Appendix cancer, then colon cancer 2' removed, then liver resection 55%..all in 09..then remission for about 2 years, then 2 tumors removed from pelvic, cancer...Then 2012, back to lungs and liver, chemo and cyberknife...then this past year chemo aggressive, but almost took him out, so many side effects, etc. so stopped the last of 13 treatments in March 2015..We just had a pet/ct scan done Tuesday and I am picking up results tomorrow and of course so scared to read!! His CEA went from 12,9 to 33,9...keep rising each and everytime...You have given me hop..God Bless you and your dear family!!! And thank you, Ella in Texas

Anna Marie, PhD said...

Thank you for your updates. I contacted you via email before as my sister is battling IV Colon Cancer with mets to liver. She was in remission for a few months, but has had a "light up" on her pet scan, but it is very beginning in a spot where she had cyber knife already. Waiting to find out if liver resection is an option. Praying constantly for her and everyone who is in this battle. I admire your courage to continue to share. - Anna.

Juan from barcelona said...

Hi Karen and Fran,
I came across your blog while looking for information from stage IV cancer with liver mets. My father was diagnosed one month ago. Your blog has helped me a lot in learning how the treatments are and how we can help him in the best possible ways. I deeply admire you and Fran. You have been so strong even at harder times and never failing in continue fighting with hope and love. You are an inspiration for lots of us! Thank you thank you thank you (and please continue posting)

Fredrik said...

Hi Karen,

I have stage 4 colon cancer and am fighting it. Every now and then I pop back into your blog for inspiration and hope. Are things still stable?

All the best