On December 10th, 1999 I was diagnosed with cancer in my lymph nodes. It took until sometime in January until they found it was coming from my breast. I wound up having a Bi – lateral mastectomy in January, then started Chemo in February, followed by Radiation. Since then it has come back every year and was followed by treatment for about 6 months for each occurrence. In 2010 it spread to my liver, lung and bone. I had been on treatment for over two years straight when on December 10, 2013 I start to feel dizzy and was having what I thought were sinus problems. Living in Florida there were others that I knew who were also complaining the allergies were starting early this year. I did tell my Oncologist about what was going on as it was getting close for another PET scan. On March 11, 2013 I was very dizzy and in pain, which was a level 10 of 10. That evening my husband took me to the ER, where they did a CAT scan which showed that the cancer had spread to my brain. They transferred me to another Hospital to see a neurosurgeon. I had an MRI done on Tuesday evening and the doctors told me Wednesday morning that there was more cancer than the CAT scan initially showed. There were multiple tumors in both hemispheres of the brain and at least five tumors in the Cerebellum. The doctor also explained that the cancer had been in my brain for a while because it was already calcified in some areas. He explained that the operation would be very painful and he was not sure, based on the amount of cancer that the operation would be beneficial. This was all I needed to hear to make the best decision for myself and improve my remaining quality of life. Over the years I had seen enough to know this was not how I wanted my life to end. I wanted to enjoy the rest of my life. I had lived longer than I had thought when first diagnosed. I have seen my children marry and I have two grandchildren. The second one was born March 18th, 2013 which put me on a high for a week. Wednesday morning, March 13th, they gave me THREE weeks to live. It’s has now been FOUR weeks and with a Steroid to control swelling on my brain and medication to control pain I have been enjoying my life, doing the things I want and making Art which brings joy to my soul. It has been a little challenging since I now shake when I draw and write, though it still brings me Joy.
My saying “Challenged with Cancer, Living with Love” came to me one night. I did not care for everyone telling me to fight. I don’t like fighting, it’s negative and exhausting and I’ve been doing it now for thirteen years. A challenge is something I can take on without feeling negative and heavy. Now I just want to enjoy the rest of my life and be free. My decision brings me peace.