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fauxma
fauxma Member Posts: 3,577 Member

Most of my replies have been sporadic at best but I do read all the posts and my thoughts are always with all of you.  There are so many newbies (hate that they have to be here) and many are in big battles and some have lost their battles.  But whether it is an early catch with good prognosis or an advanced cancer with lots of treatments ahead it is cancer and it is scary.  There are so many different types of breast cancer and each one (even those that are similar to someone elses) is unique.  Treatments vary and so do results.  I wish that there was one magic bullet that we could all take and snap everything was all better.  But there is not so we each consult our doctors and do what we feel is best for us based on their advise and our own guts. The one constant I have found throughout my journey is that this board is here and the people on it are my friends.  They are there for me.  Rooting for me, encouraging me, caring for me,praying for me, giving me advise, telling me of their journey, asking for my help,making me laugh, sometimes disagreeing with me (like any good sister), mourning with me when we lose someone we care for, and just being a rock to cling to on a turbulate sea.  I appreciate everyone of you.  You have helped me in ways that you will never know.   When my Dennis had his stroke, broke his hip and got a C Diff infection that nearly killed me you were there for me.  Holding me up and helping me through it. Regarding my cancers, sometimes I feel like the odd man out.  Although I have had cancer (uterine, bladder, breast, several types of skin cancer, and pre cancerous polyps) I feel so fortunate.  Fortunate that they have all responded well to treatments and that my doctors are vigilant with follow ups and looking for any new cancers. Fortunate that I have been NED for 15 years with the uterine cancer, NED for 6 years for breast cancer, that my bladder cancer recurrences have been small, that the colon polyps were precancerous and that the skin cancers have been easily removed and not melanoma.  I am "lucky".   But I think that my greatest fortune is that I rarely worry.  I don't know why.  I worry about Dennis plenty but that's because I don't have control.  But over my cancers and follow ups and tests, it's just routine.  I go to my yearly mammos, yearly cystoscopies, yearly endoscopies, yearly colonscopies, yearly skin checks and expect (not just hope) for the results to be okay.  It's not that I don't think I can't have recurrences, mets, or new cancers.  It's just that for me I refuse to let worrying about tomorrow job me of today.  I might get more cancer but then I might never have it again.  I am diligent about my tests and a realist that it could come back.  But I will face that problem when it appears and not before.  I know these is not possible for everyone and my heart is there for those that worry and feel their lives are forever changed by this diagnosis.  It is a natural response (I think more natural than mine) and my heart and prayers are there for them. My sister has had breast cancer and constantly worries about it coming back.  I never tell her not to worry, nor would I tell any of you not to worry.  I feel we each need to handle our cancers in the way that works best for each of us as individuals.   I have been blessed to know each of you.  I have seen incredible strength, grace, courage and determination.  I have seen woman on this board lose their fight but never their spirit.  I have learned so much more than fighting cancer here.  I have heard woman and men talk about their lives, their families, their other struggles, their joys.  I have laughed with the witty ones, cried with the sad ones, prayed for those that want praying, sent hugs and encouragement, and shared so much.  I am not sure why I am rambling but those that knew me way back when I first joined know that I do this on occasion.   I guess I just wanted to tell you all how I feel about you.  I love you, each and everyone.  I pray that of us each finds their peace, their joy, their courage, their strength and fights their battle with the help of family and friends.  I also think fondly of those we have lost.  Far too many and all so loved.  Woman who lead by example, who gave and gave even while fighting their final battle.  I have a candle that I light in remembrance of them.

Personal update:  Dennis and I move back to Fairfield in September.  The kids moved to Hawaii for a job change (didn't work out) and they are now in San Diego (hear her husband's entire family).  It is wonderful that the other grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins will have them close to them like we did in Alameda. We miss them and the kids like crazy but we have the rest of my family in this area. So we are no longer renting the big beautiful Victorian in my picture.  We have a lovely apartment and one thing is has that the victorian did not is better heat and cooling. My DH is doing very well healthwise.  I did my mammo yesterday and will know in 2 weeks how it is but I expect it to be fine, I saw my skin doctor and he found a small basal cancer that he excised and we are using a topical on the area as well, I have an upcoming cystoscopy at the end of the month, and my yearly colonoscopy and endoscopy in July.   I did my yearly check up with my gyn onc, my breast onc, and my PCP.  All is good.  My diabetic numbers are down and I have reduced my insulin.  I have dropped a few pounds.  A drop in a big lake of need to lose pounds but each pound counts.  I did develop Rheumatoid Arthritis in November.  Let me correct that.  It appears I have had it for years based on the x rays and joint damage but didn't ever have a serious flare until November.  Couldn't more my fingers or wrists (both hands) and had the worst pain I have ever had.  Nothing touched it.  Went to the doctor, referred to the rheumatologist who is wonderful.  Got xrays, examed and she put me on a steroid and methotrexate.  Did blood tests every two weeks as we added doseage to the methtreaxate and reduced the steriods.  The steroids gave me immediate relief while the metho kicked in.   We have found the right dose of metho so I am off the steroids and doing well.  I do have to admit that the RA had me worried at first.  I was worried about who would look after Den and his needs.  I help him with his baths,  prepare and puree all his meals, handle all his meds, help him with his walker, get him to his appointments.  I worried that if I couldn't use my hands and fingers properly that I wouldn't be able to care for him.  But I was lucky again.  All is well.  Maybe in the future it will flare and I won't be able to care for him but not today.   I am a strong woman and I know it.  I had a strong mother who taught me well (she lost her battle in 2003) and a strong family who love me.  And I have all of you.  I AM A LUCKY WOMAN!!

Stef

 

Comments

  • mj_weis
    mj_weis Member Posts: 59
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    Beautiful

    I seldom post, but read religiously.  This is such a beautifully written heartfelt composition that I had to stop and tell you so.  I too feel so unbelievably greatful for my second chance at life, and will never take another moment for granted.  I now, always try to look on the positive side of things and try to be as happy as humanly possible.

    I too am a very Lucky Woman!

    MJ

  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
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    Dear, amazing, sweet, strong Stef...

    It's been quite a while, I think, since your last 'long ramble' here. I continue to check in regularly - though not nearly as often as 'back then'... Always I scroll for any new posts from 'old timers' - those like you (and me). Always with truly sincere hope in my heart.

    You're correct, of course you are. Each of us must find our own way. Just as our cancers are unique to us, dealing with it all must also be. There is no one 'right' nor 'wrong' way. Yet, I believe we can learn from each other. I've learned much from many - including you.

    Am very glad to know all is well in your world. Thank you, dear Stef, for sharing your own individual perspective.

    Take very good care, always.

    Love, Susan 

  • camul
    camul Member Posts: 2,537
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    Stef,
    Personally, thank you. i love your outlook. Life would be so much easier if we didnt worry as it really just sucks our energy, but we are all different. I never really thought much about the.cancer in the 8 years between initial and mets until the night before the scans. I was told at the beginning that I was most likely not done because of the amount of hormones that I was on over a 20+ year span. I think I have worried more about how to pay for it and missing out on being with my family than the actual cancer. (but overall, I have wasted too much time worrying about things I had no contril over. Wish I didnt have that worry gene!
    I love your Victorian House and wish you all the best in your new place and am happy you get to be close to your family. I know as I am getting older and my boys have their own lives, I would love to live closer to my sisters and brothers.
    Ramble on anytime you want, I always like reading about how everyone is doing.
    Carol
  • linpsu
    linpsu Member Posts: 747
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    thanks

    Stef,

    That was a a beautifully written letter and it was so good to hear from you.  You are a strong and brave woman, with a great spirit and attitude!  Continue to live your life to the fullest.

    Hugs,

    Linda

  • New Flower
    New Flower Member Posts: 4,294
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    linpsu said:

    thanks

    Stef,

    That was a a beautifully written letter and it was so good to hear from you.  You are a strong and brave woman, with a great spirit and attitude!  Continue to live your life to the fullest.

    Hugs,

    Linda

    thank you for your update

    I wish i could give you more support than I have been providing lately. my thoughts are with you and your family. If you go to San Diego, please let us know we will arrange something nice and meet in person.

    Hugs

  • aisling8
    aisling8 Member Posts: 1,627 Member
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    thank you for your update

    I wish i could give you more support than I have been providing lately. my thoughts are with you and your family. If you go to San Diego, please let us know we will arrange something nice and meet in person.

    Hugs

    Yes, San Diego

    Stef,

    Yes, if you and your husband decide to visit San Diego, please do let us know. I'm here and if Olga feels well enough, she might want to come down. It would be lovely to meet you. Just a thought.

    Your post is wonderful. Well-written, thought provoking, caring. Filled with interesting concepts and things to think about. A lovely read. Thank you for taking the time to map out your ideas and catch us up on your life.

    xoxo

    Victoria

  • fauxma
    fauxma Member Posts: 3,577 Member
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    aisling8 said:

    Yes, San Diego

    Stef,

    Yes, if you and your husband decide to visit San Diego, please do let us know. I'm here and if Olga feels well enough, she might want to come down. It would be lovely to meet you. Just a thought.

    Your post is wonderful. Well-written, thought provoking, caring. Filled with interesting concepts and things to think about. A lovely read. Thank you for taking the time to map out your ideas and catch us up on your life.

    xoxo

    Victoria

    Thank you all for your

    Thank you all for your response to my post.  It was nice to hear from Susan.  She, like me, is an old timer that only occasionally posts.  ANd the responses from those of you that are in the heat of battle to take the time to respond is heartwarming.  The advice and support that you each give to everyone is awe inspiring. Although I hate that we all had to met I am blessed to know such incredible women.


    We loved that old Victorian but our little apartment is so much better for us.  Much as I would love to go to San Diego and visit Denise and her family and to meet some of you it is not likely.  Den's health and ability to travel even a short distance is limited.  He would be the first to tell me to go and to let his sister or one of my family take care of him but in all our marriage we have seldom been apart and I could not leave him.  Denise and the family will be up here in June or July so we are content with them making the trek this way. 

    I do wish that I had gone to some of the Sacramento get togethers but the dates never seemed to work out.  I love reading about all the get togethers that many of you have had.   It must be so fun to meet in person and get that up front sense of knowing someone.  But I feel a close bond even without having met any of you. 

    Many people help to mold who we are and how we think.  You all have helped to mold me.  Thank you

    Stef

     

  • GlowMore
    GlowMore Member Posts: 789 Member
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    fauxma said:

    Thank you all for your

    Thank you all for your response to my post.  It was nice to hear from Susan.  She, like me, is an old timer that only occasionally posts.  ANd the responses from those of you that are in the heat of battle to take the time to respond is heartwarming.  The advice and support that you each give to everyone is awe inspiring. Although I hate that we all had to met I am blessed to know such incredible women.


    We loved that old Victorian but our little apartment is so much better for us.  Much as I would love to go to San Diego and visit Denise and her family and to meet some of you it is not likely.  Den's health and ability to travel even a short distance is limited.  He would be the first to tell me to go and to let his sister or one of my family take care of him but in all our marriage we have seldom been apart and I could not leave him.  Denise and the family will be up here in June or July so we are content with them making the trek this way. 

    I do wish that I had gone to some of the Sacramento get togethers but the dates never seemed to work out.  I love reading about all the get togethers that many of you have had.   It must be so fun to meet in person and get that up front sense of knowing someone.  But I feel a close bond even without having met any of you. 

    Many people help to mold who we are and how we think.  You all have helped to mold me.  Thank you

    Stef

     

    Thank you so very Much for Sharing **

    Hi Stef.........just read that first post and you had me in tears..... thank you for sharing with us.  I am probably about ten years older than you and I know about caring for a sick husband but he left me 17 years ago now...and before my BC Diagnosis in 2002 (for which I am very grateful....not that he is gone but that he did not have to watch me go thru the chemo etc)....but anyway.   What I mean is that I can totally relate to your concerns for your Mate.  You touched my heart with your brave battles....and we all know it is not easy but your attitude is wonderful.  I try to maintain a fearless attitude also and I don't have nearly as much to deal with as you....just a little RA in one shoulder and the BC threat hanging over my head each year  and each pain which shows up.......but so far so good I guess and at almost 79 in June I'm pretty sure that there are not that many years left anyway and I'm ok with that.  God has granted me Peace and given me many years that I was not sure about in 2002.  When I read your first post way above and you mentioned Fairfield, at first I thought you were talking about Connecticut.  Gene and I lived in both places  (CT and CA) during our 30 years together.   The CA living was done in San Francisco and I really truly did love living there (down the peninsula in San Mateo) and we both worked in The City at 50 Beale Street for Bechtel Corp.  Now all of that is so long ago (back in 1976) ....   Anyway....just wanted to let you know I think you are one fantastic lady and appreciate your sharing .....    Prayers and Hugs for continued Strength.  Glo

     

     

     

     

  • sbmly53
    sbmly53 Member Posts: 1,522
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    We are lucky, Stef

    that we have had you encouraging us, sharing with us our ups and downs, scanxieties and the like.

    i am glad you posted. I often wonder how you and Den are. Sounds good.

    take care,

    hugs,

    Sue

  • Double Whammy
    Double Whammy Member Posts: 2,832 Member
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    sbmly53 said:

    We are lucky, Stef

    that we have had you encouraging us, sharing with us our ups and downs, scanxieties and the like.

    i am glad you posted. I often wonder how you and Den are. Sounds good.

    take care,

    hugs,

    Sue

    Thank you for the lovely post, Stef

    It did my little heart good to read your post.  But wait!  You're in Fairfield!  Do you know we're only 45 minutes away from each other?  Would love to meet sometime and I can travel there for lunch or something so you won't have to leave Dennis for very long.  Or - he could join us. 

       I no longer worry either.  Enough time has gone by (2010 breast and uterine cancers) and the odds are not worth worrying about anymore.  I keep diligent on my followups because I do - not so much about recurrence, but sometimes I think if I grew these 2 cancers, I just might grow another one.   On the other hand, 2 is enough.   But I don't worry about that either, just keep getting good reports.  Somehow I've made peace with this whole cancer ordeal.  I remain realistic but definitely not pessimistic.  I think when we're facing treatments or treatments are newly completed, worry sort of comes with the territory.  But after a while, it does get easier for most of us. 

    I, too,  keep hanging around this board because of the friendships I've made and because sometimes maybe  I can contribute something worthwhile. 

    Suzanne