Follow my unexpected cancer journey...the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Knock on Wood
As previously mentioned, my first post PET scan that was 3 months after my CAR-T infusion showed my main mass in my chest has shrunk. Hopefully, the ninja cells will continue to keep fighting and my next PET scan (hopefully in May contingent on lovely insurance of course). Cancer wise I feel sooooo much better than anytime period since being diagnosed. Unfortunately, those darn kinders gave me something fun in February and it transformed into chronic infections which have been horrid. After 3 different antibiotics, different prescription nose sprays and steroids (my body literally laughs at any medicines any nothing ever works) the last round after months of crud has finally made a difference. My immune system is just gonna take a while to build back up again even with the help of monthly IVIG infusions. My last oncologist appointment showed my levels were all still looking good. I've loved being back in classrooms subbing and getting back to teaching english to students in China online again BUT can't wait to start interviewing to finally get back to teaching in my own classroom this next school year!
Confession: I can't paddleboard....well, I've actually never tried BUT just the thought of falling off and not getting my big butt back up is a sight no one (including me) ever needs to see.
I was so honored when Britt made this post to make donations in my cancer journey honor to the upcoming Flatwater Foundations "10th Annual Dam That Cancer"! I wanted to share my experience with this awesome foundation and encourage you, if able, to donate to such a great foundation.
I should start by admitting I didn't want to go to counseling after my cancer diagnosis. This is NOT because I don't "believe" in counseling/therapy etc, in fact I am the complete opposite and think everyone should go to and/or would benefit in some sort of counseling in their lives and I myself have been to therapist multiple times in the past. I was a hot mess before cancer so after being diagnosed you can only imagine how lovely I was then.
Why didnt I want to go to counseling then when I obviously needed it the most? Well, in my head and thinking going to a therapist and talking about your bad day or bad break up etc was far different than 1) opening up about how you're feeling about cancer 2) in all honesty no one can understand how you are feeling because they haven't been thru what you have OR if someone has had cancer, everyone's journey is completely different. and 3) talking about it isn't the easiest.
After my 6 months of intense chemo didn't work (when I was told would be the answer and I'd be done) and then after radiation was a failure I literally had 3-4 of my doctors (on different occasions) bring up the suggestion of me going to a counselor. When it gets brought up by one dr is one thing, but when multiple doctors bring it up you can only imagine the lovely state I was in. My first thoughts were 1) the last thing I want is to go talk about this on top of the going thru it 2) adding one more appointment to my already crazy dr schedule was not very appealing and finally 3) I obviously couldn't financially pay to go see someone no matter how bad I needed to or not, I mean I can't even pay my monthly bills/student loans/cancer bills as it is.
The turning point was after one of my doctors again brought the topic up and mentioned that the Texas Oncology social worker could do all the leg work AND it would be covered by a program called the Flatwater Foundation so I financially wouldn't have to worry about it. I was now out of excuses so I folded and the next week I started seeing a counselor that I was set up with and have been seeing her every week since! Best decision ever and I wish I wasn't so hard headed in the beginning and started sooner. Life is hard in general, life with cancer is a whole different ballgame, especially when all treatments available were failing. My counselor on more than one occasion has mentioned how amazing the foundation is and how easy they are to work with. I am beyond appreciative of this foundation and encourage more cancer patients to look into it AND for others to donate to them if possible, you truly will be making a difference.
I also encourage you to sign up to paddle board if you're more physically inclined than me (which doesn't take much) or to even volunteer for the event with me!
I will be cheering Britt and all the other paddle boarders on from the sideline while volunteering and appreciate all the supporters! I have attached Britt's donation page for his paddleboard team and also the link to the Flatwater Foundation for you to read more about it!
"You either get bitter or you get better. It's that simple. You either take what's been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you."