Reclaiming my power

I’m feeling very inspired lately, my urge to make a difference is strong.

I sometimes get an overwhelming feeling of responsibility to prevent what happened to me, from happening to someone else.

I know I can’t save the world, I know I can’t prevent every terminal diagnosis, misdiagnosis, and suffering.

That’s not going to stop me from trying.

There’s a number of things I’ve learned over the past year or so, my brain is more awake. I’ve come to realize there are so many important aspects of healing, and improving quality of life.

The issue started with the moment I was diagnosed with terminal illness, it was like my life became less important. That my life was no longer going to be about living, but dying.

I don’t accept this view, this is why I’m challenging the way terminal illness is viewed. Even by ourselves.

The purpose of this post was to share some specific points of my treatment and management journey, so that maybe someone who’s living with metastatic pheochromocytoma or similar, can maybe take something from my experience. As we know, there’s no cure. Only symptom management.

But as I write, it’s become more powerful than just a bullet point list of things that have helped me.

Treatment isn’t a one size fits all, nor can it happen overnight.

I’ve suffered, I’ve triumphed, I’ve lost hope, regained hope, fought for my life, and continue to keep living. Really living. I’ve accepted that I’ll never ring a bell that tells the world “I’m cured!”

So I’m going to share with you a recap of my treatment journey, and then I’m going to expand into what I’ve learned about healing and improving my overall quality of life.

Feel free to get lost in the highlighted linked words and read detailed past experiences

Keep reading, it gets good.

October 2014diagnosed with terminal metastatic pheochromocytoma after being misdiagnosed with anxiety for 4 years

November 2014– changed doctors and formed an entire medical team specializing in rare neuroendocrine tumors

I didn’t know why, but I felt that overwhelming urge to share. To document. I wanted my misdiagnosis to have purpose. I wanted to be heard. I wanted it to matter.

April 2015– started my blog, sharing my experience, channeling my anger into helping others.

May 2015- first treatment effort: had a massive surgery to de-bulk the amount of disease

(I had over 50 tumors at this time)

November 2015- started losing my hair, no known reason at the time other than stress on the body, started to see more physical impact of the disease

Exactly one year later after my terminal diagnosis, I received another life changing diagnosis.

My remaining adrenal died. I was now going to be reliant on steroids to live for the remainder of my life. I was now adrenal insufficient.

Atleast this explained the hair loss and not being able to keep my eyes open for more than 30 seconds at a time. Problem solved.

Not quite… but more on that later

January 2016- happy new year! Just kidding, time for my introduction to specialized radiotherapy. This is not radiation, this is direct radioactive poison into your blood stream.

Things would move quickly now, my symptoms were out of control. They needed to intervene, and quickly. But there’s a lot of prep to do for a serious procedure like this safely.

Within the first 20 days of January:

Bone marrow transplant: This was one of the most uncomfortable things I did, as far as pain. Who knew I’d have to go through several procedures just to get ONE treatment? It’s a stem cell transfer where you donate your bone marrow to yourself in case of failure after radiotherapy treatment. It’s quite genius actually. I highly recommend doing this, because if your marrow fails, you need to find a transplant match. In my case, it was just waiting for me on ice in a special vault. Cool, right?

pharmaceutical blockade: preparing my body for the extreme dose of poison. Trying to get my vitals to a low level so that when my tumors explode adrenaline during treatment, I won’t die.

Complications: my thyroid stopped working. More medication for life. But atleast I won’t keep suffering from all those weird unexplained symptoms, right? Wrong, my adrenal insufficiency would continuously be an issue with all of the stress on my body, I could never get enough cortisol. I was burning it too quickly, my body was too stressed from all of the prep, I hadn’t even done the treatment yet.

Well now that I’m ready for MIBG, it’s time to administer the treatment.

January 20th: 3:30pm-5:30pm I became a medical experiment, a spectacle. One of the first to undergo such a treatment at the hospital for this disease. A scary, and confusing time for everyone involved. You can read about my experience here

All better. Just kidding, I actually felt a lot worse. I was in so much pain, and I couldn’t get my attacks under control. The MIBG treatment actually set off my tumors more, so I was suffering greatly. I was praying every day for a moment of reprieve. I thought I’d never see a good day again. I didn’t know what it felt like to be normal anymore. I just knew pain.

March 2016– “I don’t know what to do next…” this is not something you want to hear from your highly specialized doctor. But even the best doctors become perplexed when it comes to such a rare disease. Especially when it’s not cooperating. At all. It was just getting worse. It would be a bit of time before I’d get the official round of data compiled to know whether or not it had worked. Let’s stay hopeful

May 2016- it had kind of made a difference, but the results were ‘disappointing’. Great. Now what do we do? More tests of course.

June 2016– test month. Sooo many tests. So much travel. We are exhausted 😢

July 2016- it can’t get worse? Can it? Until it did. Chemo is being discussed. No no no, chemo is the last option. That’s what I was told in the beginning and it never left my mind. “Chemo is only something we do when there’s nothing left, it’s not a very effective option for this type of cancer”. So why are we doing it now?! It’s not the end. I’ll keep fighting. I promise! I’ll do anything.

Too bad, it’s time to introduce another team member: an oncologist.

July 27 2016- the oncologist. I actually really liked him, I still do. He’s an essential part of my team. Every mind is better than one. But I didn’t agree with his ideas at the time. I did NOT want to chemo, I did however that day learn about immunotherapy, TK inhibitor therapies, and so much more.

August 2016: new plan. I want PRRT. I heard about it from a support group, yes that’s right. A potential radiotherapy experimental treatment I was betting my future on, I heard from another thriver. See the importance of sharing? So we pushed heavily for this treatment, but it was still in clinical trial phase, oh boy. I’d need to meet a lot of requirements, only 50 people were being accepted.. only 4 places in the world were doing it.. ok my odds aren’t looking great.

You haven’t met doctor cupcakes.

Within 24 hours I was accepted into the testing for the clinical trial. My husband is a miracle worker, or he just really loves me. This is only part 1, a highly specialized scan that can look at the tumors at a cellular level. This was considered the gold standard. I wanted it, I needed it. I was getting it!

Here’s the thing with the scan, it’s not like a regular CT scan or MRI. These types of scans are specific to neuroendocrine tumors like mine. It won’t pick up a regular cancer. It also requires your tumors to be receptive. Still following me?

In order for your tumors to light up on the scan, a gallium scan is designed to be highly sensitive to somatostatin receptors. If your tumors don’t have this, they won’t light up. And you can’t get the PRRT treatment.

Lucky for me… my tumors lit up like a Christmas tree.

Accepted!

Isn’t it weird you can be excited to see an abundance of tumors on a scan? This disease is weird.

I’m getting tired, so please read about my PRRT experience here. In one year I did 3 super high doses of radiotherapy, different treatments entirely, and so many tests your head would literally spin.

January 2017- I still needed 2 more rounds of PRRT. It was so hard on me. It seemed like I had every side effect possible. My experience wasn’t going as smoothly as others. I kept wondering 💭 why do I always have it so much worse? Am I weaker? Do I just complain more? No, it can’t be. This is too much.

Fast forward

I had completed the 2 more rounds of PRRT. I had such high hopes. It was getting more difficult to live, to function, stairs were impossible, I was living in the main room of my house, in a hospital bed. My life was very different now.

We sold our home, I moved into my dream condo. No stairs, open concept, cozy, peaceful view, everything I ever wanted to be comfortable and continue to find a way to live with this disease. You have to find ways to adapt. This was ours.

November 2017- I spent my first night on my new condo, I slept beside my husband for the first time in months. Since the bedroom was accessible now.

I received a phone call, unknown caller. I always know that’s bad news. It’s the hospital.

“Can no longer participate in the clinical trial…”

Tumors not responding…”

Palliative care…”

Just keep her comfortable”

This is what I remember. I’m sure there was a lot more to it. But what I took from it, I’m dying. I’m being told this is the end of my road over the phone. There’s no more hope. I politely asked my husband and my mom to give me some time to myself. I locked myself in my room. This seemed like another moment I should document. I felt I should grieve privately, but my heart was telling me I should share my raw feelings and reaction. I thought of all the other people who had been in this situation, and I felt that urge to share again. It was bigger than me. So I filmed my initial thoughts.

Palliative– I went down a very confusing road, it all seemed to blur together. The only time I got out was to go to hospital appts. I could barely make it to the bathroom alone. My home care team always wanted to talk about ‘my wishes’. My wish is to live, for as long as possible. My wish is to not talk about dying. But that’s apparently not an appropriate wish when you’re palliative.

Unbelievable things started happening.. I started to realize what it really was like the moment your status changes to ‘palliative’

You’re seen differently. You no longer get the same options. Your life becomes about dying. When to die. How to die. Where to die.

It was when I was kicked out of my local hospital for refusing to sign a DNR (do not resuscitate) that I realized… I’m in trouble. This is no joke. I need to get better, I need to show them! I’m still here, I’m not dying, I have so much life in me, please listen!

My husband and I started to feel very overwhelmed and for the first time… unsafe. Unsettled. We no longer felt protected. Nothing made sense. He would keep me alive with breathing machines we bought ourself, to treat my pneumonia at home.

We clung to each other, we held onto our last shreds of hope, we would lay down in my twin sized hospital bed that made its way back into my living room. We would hold each other so damn tight, as if I’d disappear if he let go, the tears falling on one another, reminding us that I’m still alive. I’m still here. You can feel me. My heart is beating against yours, my tears are warm, only he could see it.

Everyone else was giving up on me.

The trauma we went through during this period… it’s indescribable. So much happened. I’m not going to go into it, you can choose to look further into my blog, but this post isn’t for that.

My pain was out of control, despite “keeping me comfortable”, home care was unable to get my pain under control. My medications kept increasing, the pain would get worse.

Any time we would call for advise, they’d say to give more medication. Get me out of pain. The cycle would repeat, and I’d be in more pain.

What is happening? Is this what dying feels like? You’re just in a constant state of pain? I thought it was supposed to be comfortable.

Maybe I wasn’t ready to die

I will quote myself from a previous blog entry:

“As my limbs become so weak I can no longer walk around, touch becomes unbearable, my speech is becoming more strained, my brain becoming mush. The pain is excruciating. My doses become even more frequent”

“So tired. So so tired”

“As my breath becomes more and more painful, more shallow, harder to gasp for air, my skin begins to heat up so much that it starts to fall off. Why is this happening? It has to be the cancer. Time for more medication”

“Miranda is having a lot of breathing troubles, what do I do??”

“She’s unable to walk or and can barely form a sentence, she’s passing out ALL the time, can’t keep her eyes open! What do I do??”

More medication.

November 2018- if we weren’t going to get the proper help locally, it was time to get me to my super doctors. The ones who kept me alive before all of this palliative care nonsense. If my husband had to carry me on his shoulders to the car, he would have. Luckily I had a wheelchair. We drove to Montreal, I was admitted immediately. No one could figure out why I was so damn sick. Why I was in so much pain. How could I be on so much pain controlling medication, but be suffering THIS much? I was a medical mystery, sometimes a zebra is a unicorn.

Every.single.day was a guessing game, what’s wrong with Miranda?

I will quote myself again from a previous blog post …

The one thing I knew so far: every nurse, doctor, and specialist could not believe how much pain medication I was taking. Some didn’t even want to administer it. I was getting worried, it’s the one thing that gives me relief, why are they so against it?”

My nurse, we will call her Angel, she outright said to Serge that the medication is what’s causing all of my pain. She said that some people react differently to opioids, and that not everything meant to help you is going to. Sometimes it can be the problem, and you can have a reverse effect. Just like that, mind blown”

But it can’t be that. I have cancer, it’s what’s causing my pain. I’m dying. They told me. All my doctors told me. That’s what everyone has been saying for years now, take more medication to be comfortable”

I was so angry at Nurse Angel, what did she know? Medication, bullshit

Fast forward two months in the hospital 🏥

It was my medication, kind of. What no one knew at this time was that I had suspected mast cell disease. Even as I’m writing this I am not officially diagnosed but being actively treated.

Since the very beginning, the unknown sensitivity to treatment, to chemicals, my amplified side effects, my heightened symptoms, the unexplained pain, the inability to breathe, the declining unexplained health… it all makes sense suddenly

My master cells were being attacked by the disease, causing them to be broken. High levels of mast cells mediators were being released into my system, similar to my tumors, bursting chemicals into my system that make you flare up into extreme reactions.

The pain medication was making everything worse, since it was making the mast cell flares worse and more frequent. It was just a vicious cycle that wouldn’t end.

Until we fought like hell for answers. Until we demanded that I wouldn’t die like this. Until we changed the narrative. We saved my life. You can read about that part here

The funny part? I wouldn’t have known about mast cell disease had it not been for another patient/friend/advocate. I was too sick and confused to understand it at the time. So I didn’t push for answers.

I accepted that it was the medication causing it, and I moved on.

It would be an incredibly long road of healing, it still is.

Healing – we moved away, we moved to the city that saved me. We wanted to be close to the hospital that saved my life. We wanted to feel safe. So we left our friends and family, took our life savings, and we moved to what I imagined would be my ‘retirement home’. I still thought I was going to die soon, but I was happy to do it in peace. Without pain. With a clear mind.

But that’s not what happened is it?

I started walking to the elevator, using my legs, my muscles had completely died at this point. So I walked little steps every day. I finally made it to the door of my building. Then outside to the street. Then around the block. Then down to the water.

My body was healing, it was slowly recovering from all of the trauma. I was reconnecting with myself. We were finally able to take a breath.

Remember that moment when I started writing this, when I said I never thought I’d have a moment of reprieve? Well I did. I finally experienced it that day I made it to the water.

My mind was next, I was healing physically, but now I needed to heal mentally. We both did. We had gone through so much, how do you come back from that?

I was unable to share for quite some time during this period, I lost my ability to share my story.

The minute I got my voice back, I started sharing slowly, cautiously. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t understand it myself.

I didn’t understand how this could happen to me. How something could go so wrong. How I could be so close to death… but be so alive. I could have died because of a lack of knowledge.

I don’t like to blame, it’s not healthy for my mental well being. The lack of knowledge that exists is not a fault of anyone, it’s a flaw in our medical system that exists because of the rareness of this disease. It’s not fair, but it’s real.

Why do I share? Because it’s going to educate whoever reads this.

It’s going to push boundaries of the rules we are supposed to follow. We are supposed to be good patients and accept our fate.

Well I’m reclaiming my power, I’m slowly every day working on myself mentally and physically.

I’m doing things that bring me joy, I’m sharing things that make others aware, I’m connecting with who I’ve always been, I’m learning why I started this blog in the first place.

It wasn’t a choice, it was my purpose, it was a promise.

I promised I wouldn’t let this cancer take my fabulous, “Fabulous is your light, your smile, your energy, your positivity, your willfulness, your vitality, passion, excitement, beauty, laugh, and how you share it!” –

What you’re about to read is the very first statement I made when I started this blog. The blog that changed my life and so many others.

“This is my very first post, my first time writing a blog, and my first time speaking freely about my personal journey with pheochromocytoma cancer…. and staying fabulous while doing it!

Pheo VS Fabulous was born from the promise that I would never let this disease take away the one thing I could control, and I’ve labeled that my fabulous. When I became ill I realized how much we take for granted, and it started with how day to day tasks are so challenging when you’re battling an illness like pheochromocytoma cancer, that’s when I decided I wouldn’t let it that away from me. It’s more than just looking a certain way, it’s about BEING fabulous, strong, and positive when you have every reason not to be.

The danger of something being so rare is that it goes undetected, unrecognized, and is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions. Leaving many of us undiagnosed, and looking for answers.

If you’re reading this, you might still be looking for some…

My goal is through sharing my vulnerabilities with all of you, finding the courage to share something so painfully personal, someone else may have less of a challenge in the future of being diagnosed, treated, and living with this disease, #pheochromocytoma – or any other ‘neuroendocrine cancers. #netcancer  #raredisease

The idea is that the more I share, the more information there will be available for a disease where this is so much lacking. Every procedure, every test, every treatment I will suffer through – I will continue to share my experiences so that others don’t have to keep grasping for answers like I did.

Although there is so much to cover… first off, pheo-chromo-cy-whatta?! We will get there darlings, I just want to say…

This blog is meant for awareness:

Awareness for a disease that only a handful of people in this massive universe know about, probably only because they were diagnosed”

—————————————————-

Isn’t that incredible? I told you, it was my purpose. Before I even knew what was I was talking about, why I was saying it, and what it would mean. I knew.

NOW – I’m finally in a place where I feel things are improved and better controlled. I have good days, I never thought I’d say that.

I think the most important aspect is treating comorbidity, if you have other illnesses going on, and they’re not being treated as effectively or focused on as much as the main cancer, the issue is it exhausts the nervous system and keeps triggering the Pheo episodes. Everything from the adrenals, the thyroid, mast cells, anything that can be impacted, make sure it’s being properly treated. Even my endometriosis finally being diagnosed and treated has helped, because it took so much pain and stress off my body. Pheo is so triggered by stress, so the more stress we can eliminate from our bodies physically, the better quality of life we will have.

I started this blog post wanted to share a bullet point list of what has helped me, my meds, my treatments, but I think my heart needed to share, and my soul needed to be emptied of everything I’ve been holding onto.

I started this entry by saying I sometimes get an overwhelming feeling of responsibility to prevent what happened to me, from happening to someone else. So now I’ve shared everything I possibly can to do that. Even after I’m gone, my story and my information will remain available forever.

I will continue to share, every experience, every new piece of the puzzle, but most of all… I’ll continue to share why I have hope.

We can’t heal until we are treated, so hopefully this will help you begin your journey for better treatment. I truly hope you will be able to feel that moment of reprieve I described.

I am terminal, and I am thriving.

I still have bad days, but more importantly… I have goood days!

I still have attacks almost every day, and mast cell flares, but I live with hope, happiness, faith, love, and I control what I can. I no longer live in fear, I am in control, I decide.

I live with a new mindset, I see clearly, I live purposefully, and I remember who I am.

More importantly, I want to help you do the same. That’s my purpose.

The rest is out of my hands, the rest i cope with. The rest I made peace with.

My terminal cancer and I live in peace with one another.

I live in peace

I said I would never do that again 😭

But I learned something new again yesterday

these bodies we think are ours?

They’re not.

We think they own them, we signed them over the moment we agreed to save our selves from the disease that’s killing us every day, see how that works?

Cancer: you get to kill me.

Doctors: you get to save me by any means necessary

Me: I TECHNICALLY have a say… but…

Believe me, there is ALWAYS a but

If you start saying no to things, how can they save you by any means necessary?

Anyone can go on from the outside and say there’s always a choice etc etc, and yes there absolutely is. We always have choices, mine often look something like this:

your veins aren’t working for the 189th time in your life, let’s rush you off to a secret room after after having poked you 7 times – and we will surprise you with a procedure you swore you would NEVER.EVER.EVER do Again – (text here)  I wrote about in previous times to GREAT lengths because it caused you such trauma the last therapy during MIBG (and out of all the things you’ve had done.. that’s saying a lot), just the mention of it is traumatic. 

My words aren’t coming out, no one is listening to me. What good would it do anyways? It’s now my only alternative to receive the treatment I’m here for. 

Ever wonder why the term cancer sucks is so popular? Why so many people want to say fuck cancer? ….

this is why. 

It’s because of situations like this, when you are no longer a person, when you no longer have a say in your own body in order to save yourself.. because you know that you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. 



Facetune

Part 1: 05/23/2017 – PRRT treatment prep

jugular insertion 



Facetune

But I’m tired now

Facetune

I’ll leave you with something good, as I always do… I was greeted with my Doctor cupcakes (my husband), after some kisses 💋, and pain control, I was ready to start my treatment in a little less agony.

(My clinical trial doctor) is amazing, and does everything to administer the treatment in a comfortable fashion.

The treatment itself was a bit improved VS the last few times.

More on that later once I’m not so traumatized from the morning, and tired & in pain.

FABULLLLUS IS EXHAUSTED. 🖐🏼🏥

more fun trial stuff soon, byeeeeee

#pheovsfabulous

Day 42, M.I.A

I really must apologize for those of you who follow my blog, and expect a semi regular posting of updates. I honestly do get an overwhelming feeling of responsibility towards my blog, to the people who I am sharing with. My goal was to be able to share EVERY part of my journey while it was happening.

I think I was a bit ambitious… as most things are that I set out to do.
Not realizing that every year, month, even days, cancer will continue to make my life and the things in it that I once thought ‘simple’…a little more of a challenge. 

Most of you have probably gathered from my last couple of posts
“Leaving Today” & “What’s going on – 2016” that I am participating
in a radiotherapy clinical trial, called PRRT. As of October, things got a little bit busy…
When November hit, it was like an instant ON switch flipped, then someone pressed GO!
Everything just got out of control, things got real. 

You never know just how difficult something will be until you actually go through it,
that’s why here I am writing to you all 42 days post treatment, only now having the mental stamina and energy in order to begin sharing, thinking, or doing anything besides …. well, suffering. Did I say suffering? I meant convalescing. Hehe.. I may even be getting some of my sarcasm back.

So, the point is… I wanted to let everyone know that although I am not what you would call ‘okay’, I am here, and doing my best to adapt to this new phase of treatment. I figured since I am now in a place where I can finally see the screen without the words being blurry, or stay awake for more than 5 minutes in a row, and not be distracted by the pain of my kidneys feeling like they’re going to erupt… I should give a small update of where I am currently. That might be nice, since I am not quite at the point where I am able to give the breakdown of what PRRT therapy IS yet & all of the details of what it entails
(future post *coming soon* I PROMISE!) 

Update:
Since getting home from having radioactive therapy mid November… 
 
-I’ve been bed ridden
-Unable to leave my upper floor
(well, I’ve managed to now leave the upstairs a total of 3 times in 42 days)
-My body has went through every side effect and stage of pain imaginable listed as a potential option, and I think made up it’s own list to add 
-We have had to get a team of people to help with my care 
-I am starting to feel a tiny bit better, I’m no longer having pheo attacks every half hour (*more like every few hours now*) and I can eat now without nausea most of the time, I am able to go pee without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack afterwards (well, SOMETIMES)…!, we are making a bit of progress. I won’t get too far ahead of myself here. 

Of course when I give my detailed post about PRRT I will write way more about my symptoms, side effects, and current state, super in depth by date and comparisons. Right now I just wanted to let everyone know that this has been incredibly tough on me and this is the reason why I have been completely unable to communicate.

This treatment is done in rounds, which means I am coming up on my next one in January, probably why I am starting to feel a little bit better, ha! My body is finally to begin to have a bit of strength for the next blast.

Nonetheless, this is where we are currently, and why I have been unable to communicate with the rest of the world. Those of you who have kept in contact with me despite my hiding out, bless you and your concerns

If I haven’t been able to answer you or gotten back to you, please know that I am thinking about you and appreciate your words, prayers, and messages so so much.
I have read every single one of them.

I love you all, 

Fabulous 
XOX 

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Coming soon… 
A detailed overview of my PRRT clinical trial

Remedy for the rare: PRRT (Overview) 

Leaving today…

Oh hey guys 👋🏼

You may have to do a slight refresher from my last post, but otherwise I’m going to keep it short. I will definitely go more in detail about what’s to come soon…

I’m just so exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open while I’m typing and covered in my favorite fuzzy blankets and every pink and purple unicorn pillow/stuffed animal I own

🦄✨💜

You guessed it…… LONG DISTANCE ROAD TRIP!

To where you ask? To do what you might be wondering? We will get to all of that!

First off, I’m kind of sorry and not sorry for dropping off the planet for a little while. Since I’ve started at home chemo that is EVERYDAY, twice a day, it’s a bit hard to want to then blog about cancer when you have very little left to give. What I did have left, I ended up having to use to prepare for the upcoming cancer CLINICAL TRIAL 👏🏼  Yes, that’s a whole lot of cancer. Which we will get more into when I have more time/energy. So you can see why I am sooooo sleepy 😴😷😪

Remember back when we discussed doing the first clinical trial? The very exclusive nuclear scan that was only being done on a limited group of people to see if their tumors would light up and be eligible for ANOTHER clinical trial?

Basically, it was a special scan to see if you could participate in another form of radiation type therapy. Well… Here’s a recap of everything.

So I did that, and passed the test! My tumors lit up, lots of them, so… That means I can have the special radiation called PRRT radiotherapy. (Similar to what I did back in January, the MIBG radiotherapy) but still different.

Don’t worry, I’ll be writing all about this when I’m not so depleted.

I just wanted everyone to know what was happening so far. This week has been very overwhelming, everything has been so last minute, we were informed of my acceptance within a few days of admittance, and all I can say is how grateful I am to not be a beginner at this whole treatment thing. This last minute…. We would be FREAKING out way more, but we’re veterans, so we’re only freaking out on the inside….. A little…. Ha

-This morning we left, today is a hours and hours full of travel where we will eventually make it to our hotel and check in, and spend our last night together  😰😝

– Tomorrow (Monday) I unfortunately get checked into the hospital, alone. A new unknown hospital….! 😳🏥

(I have to start getting prepped with special meds, since the treatment will make my pheo tumors angry. Hopefully by being admitted into the hospital and being prepped with special medications, this will lessen my chances of complications)

– Tuesday @ 7:30am I begin to get prepped for treatment ⚗☠

-Tuesday @ 9am treatment commence! 🎉✨☠

The rest of the week is unknown, I do know I will be less radioactive this time in comparison to last time’s treatment. Which means I shouldn’t be isolated as long.

That’s all for now.

Will share more about our previous trip to Quebec City to prep for the trial, acceptance, and WHAT IS PRRT?

Until then…

Stay fab

💖

image

The Choice

“Should I do this treatment?”

Read this first:

https://pheovsfabulous.wordpress.com/radioactive-therapy-mibg-overview/

And then read…

Source: The Choice

After

A few days ago I made a promise that I would compile all of the last few months worth of information regarding MIBG Therapy – and put it into one informative place.

I said I would reveal more details about the aftermath, as I had about the before, and spared no details during the procedure. It took me a little while, as it’s been quite hard to get to this point as some of you know… and only now have we just started to receive some information regarding the results. You can read all about it in the overview & more.

I am hopeful this will provide you with an understanding of what goes into to this type of treatment, before, during and after. To get a better look at how hard everyone works, in an effort to keep me alive.

With so little information about metastatic pheochromocytoma available, and even less about the treatment options, etc… I will continue to help fill that space for those of us who need it most, the patients.

I hope you will have questions answered that only someone like me who has experienced it could answer for you. I am hopeful for those of you preparing for this treatment, I wish you the very best in your own personal journeys…

Permanently available in the ‘Menu’ – Radioactive Therapy – MIBG (Overview)

Now Available

🙂


Remember… it can’t take away your ‘fabulous’ 

Pheo VS Fabulous ❤

MIBG Therapy – it’s here

Therapy, treatment, normally implies some sort of relief right? Well let’s hope so, because I don’t think it sounds very therapeutic, but what do I know… 😂

Today is the day!

Its 6:41am and I’m about to go have a fight with the shower, be assaulted by my tumors for a good hour, and then once all at calms down… Think about leaving for the hospital for admissions, yesssss honey! It’s a glamarous life 😜

‘Mibg’ radioactive therapy should start to be administered around noon.. I have no idea what to expect… We are anticipating my body to not cooperating during the injection, it’s just a fact that the tumors are going to uptake the radioactive isotopes, and they’re going to essentially explode their adrenaline, leavin me littered with the aftermath, this is the part where they have to be extremely careful to balance with medications to protect my heart and so on! Yikes 😬

I got the greatest gift of all yesterday, because of the kindness and generosity of so many … Serge is able to stay 10 minutes away while these complications arise, being right there, VS being 3.5 hours away.. He is literally my husband and yet my caregiver, and it’s hard enough being isolated during this whole event, and several days after, knowing he is there if something goes wrong… is the best gift anyone could have given me.

gofundme.com/a7k4rbek

Yesterday was one of the most difficult days of my life, but my heart was full of warmth and happiness because of every single one of you reaching out to me… Today you will be with me in my heart 💖 Getting me through each step, until I can update again! We love you all so very much, merci and thank you for your continued support in my journey 🏩

I must be off for now, tata my loves!

See you after I’m radioactive and a little less pleasant … 😈💖

Pheo VS Fabulous

And so it begins..

It’s here, that inevitable day has come.. The one I leave my warm comfortable bed at home once again, and will travel to my ‘super hospital’ in Montreal, and receive MIBG radiotherapy…

Tomorrow the actual process starts, but of course we have to leave a day in advance in order to be there, get admitted, be ready in the morning and make sure my body doesn’t have to endure TOO much stress and travel time before the actual procedure – as it’ll be dangerous enough to administer the treatment… Eeeeek! Okay. Getting a little nervous, understandably, when I did my surgery… It was basically – that was my only option for a real chance, when I still woke up with the unfortunate news that there was disease left in me and of course that disease had multiplied within just months …. You can understand  our thoughts when it comes to this. I’m a  realist, I know there’s no cure to this disease, but it would be REALLY lovely to not have these tumors adrenaline attack me every couple hours… And feel like I’m in a war zone with my own body, and waiting to die every minute of the day. I’m not asking for a lot, just a bit of relief, a little less pain, a little less symptoms, some better quality of life.. That way I can focus on being a little more fab for a while, help some others along my way, and perhaps take a small break from this constant battle? Here’s to hoping.

We must get through the hard part first, administering the treatment which will wake up all of the tumors… Sending all of the adrenaline into my body at once, while I’m awake, (amazing) being incredibly sick, potentially wiping out my bone marrow, monitoring my adrenal insuffiency as I’m going to always be going into adrenal crisis with the stress my body will endure, being locked away in isolation as I will be radioactive until further notice, and then hopefully… With time and lots of positive energy, we will hope I will come out free of a few friends, and a little more fabulous 😉💗

you can read about the special treatment Here

what I had to do to prepare 😖 Here

Pheo VS Fabulous

#mirandastrong

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Day 1 – bone marrow collection

I have a whole big schedule planned and everything, it’s very formal 🏩😁

First I’m going to get some bloods…

Second im going to get a big garden hose inserted into my tiny neck… AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Then I will go get my garden hose attached to the machine where I will be hooked up for 6 hours atleast that will steal all my of my bone marrow stem cells, while I watch I love Lucy and sleep and talk to all of you.

At the end of the day I will see how I did and then repeat all over again, except I go back to the hotel with the garden hose still in my neck (ew ew ew) lol. It’s a big IV BY THE WAY…

My goodness, ok I’ll update more later – I just had to let everyone know it’s STARTING ….!!!!!

XOX

Pheo VS Fabulous 💗

Pain pain go away…

Bone marrow injections 💉

Yesterday we started the special injections needed to stimulate the growth of new stem cells in my bone marrow, so that when we actually start the transplant/collection process on Monday it will be easier to collect.

Asides from the obvious pain of  being injecting by a needle, the burning sensation of a foreign liquid going into your body, and the look on your husband’s face while having to do this to you… It’s the pain it causes AFTER I wasn’t quite prepared for. I suppose I should have, given the fact that all of these new stem cells need room to take shape in your bones, but I wasn’t quite expecting a literal feeling of my bones being ripped apart. Well there you have it, I’ve learned something new.

Be prepared for your bones to feel as though they’re being ripped apart, your knees to feel as though they’re being hit with hockey sticks, your chest to feel like it’s being split in two, your rib cage to feel like it’s being pulled on either side, and your lower spine has become someone’s instrument in a very aggressive band. Yes, this is what my body has become, a painful symphony of well, PAIN. My pain level is already incredibly high, and this new development of bone pain and side effects has put my body into almost a shock like state, a trauma if you will. I didn’t mention the skull bashing headache, the intensity of nausea, and many other lovely symptoms, I think the bone pain is the main event worth noting.

We arrived home yesterday after having gone through the day of testing and first injections and appointments, I was exhausted. I slept immediately as I got home, and everytime I would wake up, I couldn’t stand the thought of being conscious for this magnitude of pain… So I would drift off into another sleep, this continued the entire night, or until I lost track of time.

Today was a new day, a new injection, no change as far as pain or fatigue. If anything .. it may have been worse if that’s even possible. They say to rate your pain on a scale from 1-10, I’m no longer sure if I can do that. My pain level has been at a ’10’ so often, it no longer seems adequate. I couldn’t keep my eyes open for long enough to care, and since I normally am plagued with the inability to sleep at night as part of my disease – I welcomed the change. What I didn’t realize is that this exhaustion was more than exhaustion, it was my cortisol once again depleting from the amount of pain I was in, and this inability to stay awake was a sign I was much too low, and needing steroids. All I cared about was not feeling pain.. So I ignored the fact that I should be watching out for this, I just wanted to not feel anything. It was when Serge finally woke me up and demanded I take steroids, I knew he meant business. What I didn’t realize is that I had been unresponsive for quite some time. Oh, what fun he must have had, wondering if I’m just tired or unconscious. I feel bad for him quite often, I must get him a present – like a whole year worth of steak.. Or perhaps the greatest gift of all would be to just see me without pain for a little while, yes I think that would do 💗

Tomorrow will be day 3 of the injections, and hopefully the last day needed. We may need more depending on collections, but so far as planned, it’s the last day for injection times… I’m not quite sure how long these side effects will go on for, a few days, everyone is different.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we will do our last injections here at home, and then leave for our hotel. Monday early morning we are scheduled to do blood, and then….. THE MOST DREADFUL PART – I have to have a line inserted into my neck 😫 My veins aren’t very good, so I will have to go to radiology, and have a procedure done where they will literally put in a big fat tube into my artery in my neck – while I’m awake. I’ve only ever had this done while out, during prep for surgery, and taken out awake… And let me just tell you, having it taken out, was one of my worst memories. LIKE THIS IS JUST MY WORST FEAR … So Monday is basically my nemesis. 😰 They will keep this in for the few days of collections, and then take it out once they’ve gotten enough stem cells. (UGH) So after I have that installed, I will go and get comfortable in the lovely machine, where I will spend approximately 6 hours a day .. and see at the end of the day if they’ve gotten enough etc! Can I just say.. It’s a good thing I absolutely love my hospital?! I spend half my life there and they treat us like.. family. Everything about this is awful, but atleast I have the comfort in knowing I’m in good hands 💗

Thats my update for now, pain 😂😁

The good news is… Our hotel is fab, I couldn’t possibly recuperate without a fabulous place to lay my poor body!

(I knew I would sneak fab into there somewhere)

💗💗💗

Pheo VS Fabulous