A few weeks ago I asked you guys to ask me anything, I’m so happy to share with you the answers to your questions!
Watch below 🎬
Like and share!
Follow me on Facebook & Instagram: @pheovsfabulous
A few weeks ago I asked you guys to ask me anything, I’m so happy to share with you the answers to your questions!
Watch below 🎬
Like and share!
Follow me on Facebook & Instagram: @pheovsfabulous
Five years ago I was told I had 1-5 years to live. I sat in a white office with the same diabetes posters and bland medical facts I had looked at several times, and contemplated how angry I was. Angry because had I not been so ‘rare’, something might be different. Perhaps someone might have listened to me, instead of blaming my symptoms on anxiety. This was the worst day of my life.
If someone had just listened to me while I complained of symptoms for years, I would not be sitting here listening to how I had 18 tumors that metastasized all over my organs, and were now killing me at an aggressive rate.
I left the office that day SO angry, but that anger turned into determination. The fiercest determination I could have ever felt, I was not going to die because I wasn’t heard.
I would be heard.
For the last five years, I’ve been heard. I may have suffered along the way, I may have had to do every form of treatment possible, but I’ve been heard.
Not accepting my fate was one of the best decisions I could have made, even after countless disappointments and setbacks, despite being told again and again mountains of bad news, I didn’t give up.
We didn’t give up.
I have news …
Today I sat in a white office, waiting to see my oncologist to hear an update of my cancer progression. For the first time in the last five years, I held onto the hope I felt countless times, and waited for news.
It’s always bad news …
Not this time.
Today, for the first time since my diagnosis, I was told I was stable.
There’s no cure for the cancer I have, not at this stage. I was given palliative care, and supposed to await death. I was sent away to die at 24 years old.
I didn’t accept that, I fought. Hard.
Now I’m stable!!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?
Stable means that for now I don’t have to continue treatment, I can take a break. Stable means I don’t have to go do any more scans for 6 whole months, 6 months! Stable means I can be in less pain, it means less attacks.
It means hope...
I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, because when I started this journey I just wanted to make a difference in as many peoples lives possible. To prevent suffering like mine. Today I feel that I can finally GIVE hope, the hope I’ve been clinging to so hard for the last few years.
Many of you have followed my journey from the beginning, clinging onto that hope just as hard. I’m finally able to tell you that I have good news, and it feels incredible.
If you’re reading this and you’re going through treatment, if you’re in pain, if you’re suffering, if you’ve just received your diagnosis, wherever you are in your journey… just know that I’ve been there.
Now I’m here.
It’s an amazing thing.
My life will never be normal, and I’m certainly not cured, but this is the first time I can say that I’m able to breathe a little. I don’t have to plan my life around what treatment is next, wondering if it will work, or what side effects it will have. I can just live. For now, I can breathe again.
If you’d like to see more of my journey, and learn about what treatments I’ve done… take a look around my blog. My most recent treatment plan was PRRT, although scary, it definitely made a difference in my condition.
Not giving up saved my life, being heard by the best of doctors for this condition… changed everything.
Never, ever, give up.
Hope is the hardest thing to have, but it’s worth it.
Pheo VS Fabulous 💖
Facebook & instagram: @pheovsfabulous
But I learned something new again yesterday
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
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:
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.
Part 1: 05/23/2017 – PRRT treatment prep
But I’m tired now
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
learning how to be okay with never leaving your little comfy space (or rather being confined to it).
constantly leaving that comfort zone you’ve been confined to for the purpose of being EVERYTHING but comfortable.
Luckily I’ve acquired the most important lesson of my own, & that was to stay fabulous no matter what. Have YOU guys figured out the meaning of ‘Staying Fabulous’ yet?
This past year my health has declined significantly despite doing the most treatments packed into one time frame ever.
With that said, my wardrobe mostly consists of comfy pyjamas, my hair is done by my husband (bless his heart). Speaking of hair, let’s be real… I can’t even wash my own hair, there I go again painting a whole different picture for you guys. I have care almost every day, and a lot of things I’m unable to do. Fabulous means SO many different things, but I still haven’t lost my fabulous, even if I’ve lost my ability to do all of these things by myself.
When I choose to do my makeup it takes me sometimes close to 5 hours or more, but I don’t mind because it’s every couple of months or so – and it makes me SO happy! Despite what I share in photos, we create a picture to make others happy as well.
What matters is the love, the laughter, the same outlook I’ve promised to have from the beginning hasn’t changed.
My message is being delivered with the same sparkle (most days) ☺️✨ because that’s what PHEO VS FABULOUS is all about.
Regardless of everything that we have been going through to make it here, we’re here, and we feel just as grateful as ever.
When we were challenged, we leaned on each other for the support we so badly needed.
We felt so blessed for the support we constantly receive.
It isn’t in me to give up, the only thing to do now is move forward. To unfortunately just keep receiving another treatment and see what’s next.
What IS next you ask?
Remember option 1 or 2? Well, today is # 2. Actually this week is a bit of both… except today is …
leaving the spot I’m most comfortable in. (You know, normally I’m confined to my house)
AND, this week is being confined to a space … but unfortunately not the space I’m most comfortable in, quite the opposite actually – I wouldn’t call the hospital or a radiation room my comfort zone. 🏥☠️
BUT that’s the life of being terminally ill 😷 treatments, clinical trials, being radioactive, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! ✌🏼🏥👸🏻
After all that jazz I will be laying in the big spaceship scans later in the week… pretending I’m getting a facial in my Dream bungalow house in the trees that has NO stairs, one of those swim spa pools where my poor body can float all year round, and a little all year round sunroom for my puppies & me to relax when I’m feeling down 🏡 sounds wonderful right? My mind is escaping there already.
Dreaming, dreaming, dreaming ✨✨✨
Ok, time to glow friends 👋🏽😄
Tuesday is the actual day for treatment, PS 🏥☢️ In case you guys forgot what treatment it is, it’s the PRRT clinical trial – this will be my fourth round.
(Which also happens to be serge and my 7 year anniversary 😑, which also happens to somehow ALWAYS be spent in the hospital 😪😭)
I woke up this morning having gone through the day quite upset, I’ve had a couple of consecutive days like this. This is really unlike me, but there is a reason leading up to this sudden feeling of sadness.
Because I’ve come to the realization that my cancer is invading my body at a much quicker pace than I expected, causing me to become a person that I woke up this morning and hardly recognize.
((When I say the cancer is invading my body, it doesn’t mean the disease necessarily, yes in some cases it has, but it’s also the act of trying to make it go away and the side effects, the subsequent diseases of the cancer, living with cancer doesn’t always mean “THIS LITERAL cancer” that will make you sick))
I talk about adapting, staying positive, and not losing hope.
Do you wake up and have that happen to YOU?
The rate of which I have to keep up with the changing dynamic of my body is unfair, in fact I don’t even have the proper words for it. Unfair doesn’t sum up the right amount of feeling I have towards it.
I feel the only proof I have of who I am are the photographs I am incessantly taking and even then it doesn’t prove anything because sometimes I have better days than others and can make myself look like an entirely different non-cancer having person in a photo, which is the point. I want to look like a healthy person, not a sick person for a day when I get all make-up’d and ‘pretty’. So that leaves me with nothing.
Just the sudden wake up call that “wasn’t I able to do this this this AND THIS 1 month ago and now I can’t even get a glass of water from the fridge without it being a massive ordeal afterwards?!
Wasn’t I able to do this or that 2 weeks ago?
Do you remember? Neither do I.
Why is everything happening so quickly? If it keeps happening at this rate, what will it look like in another 6 months?
I’m scared to ask that question, but I did. Now I can’t stop thinking about it.
I don’t want to say it’s normal – maybe a better term would be inevitable, but I’ve talked about this many times before.
What’s not normal, is it happening again and again… what I didn’t realize is that I’ve been forced to become so different yet again in such a scarcely short period of time, I’ve no choice but to wonder what’s next for me in the near future if this is now my reality?
Not being able to use the stairs regularly in my house and sometimes having to use a wheelchair……
to being bed ridden and the only activity you have and can’t even look forward to is the bathroom because it sets off your worst attacks?
Now you’re being moved to the main floor, goodbye upstairs, see you only for bathtimes. Goodbye Barbie room, master closet, bedroom, sleeping with your husband, all of the ‘normal’ things you had left’. BYE 👋🏼
This isn’t so bad, the adaptive side you talked about – the good perspective? Until the good things went away. Now you can’t even do a few steps in your own house without a dreaded pheo attack. A few steps and you’re a goner, time for that bathroom routine again. Even then, it’s dangerous. 🚽⛔️ now you need assistance, because you know you’re going to have some kind of heart or blood pressure crisis just taking a few steps from your bed to any direction and it’s terrifying.
You know you will need pain intervention every couple of hours because your body is finding ways of becoming even more disagreeable, and your just suffering at all times now.
Treatment is in a couple of days, and all I can think about it is …
“more pain, more complications to add”
Of course then I snap out of it, I have no choice.
I’m in this situation, the only opportunity I have for a change is this treatment. It’s a potential chance for me to be able to have a difference short term outcome, each time I go it’s a chance to be different, less pain, less crisis, back to ‘normal’ within my self, so I need to have hope.
You always have to find hope someplace. This is where mine is currently coming from. Although right now I have very little, it’s being replaced with fear. I know that’s horrible to say – but that’s what this post was for, to admit things people normally don’t say.
I get hope every day from my god, my husband, and my family & friends.
I may not always admit that I’m scared, that things are moving too quickly, that my life is spiraling out of control… but I’m just like everyone else, a 26 year old woman who’s suffering like crazy with a cancer that’s taking over at a rate that I don’t know how to control that runs into doctors that don’t listen to me because I’m too ‘complicated’!
Sometimes the Pheo is a little more in charge than you might think…
F*?k you cancer, & YOU pheo.
Trying to figure out how we will pack all of my comforts into a couple of bags, and how we will leave behind everything important to me in my life.
Secretly wondering in the back of my mind… Will I return?
Catching glimpses at one another, knowing we’re thinking the same thing. Instead, distracting ourselves by packing those couple of bags… hating that it’s ‘that’ time again.
It’s been a really tough couple of months, since the first treatment.
Specifically the last couple of weeks have been especially hard. I don’t know why, and we have not been able to figure it out. Going into treatment in this condition? Not the most comforting feeling, I’ve never went into a treatment feeling physically inadequate, this will be a first. I’ve never went into a procedure with a mystery looming over me, wondering…
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Why do I feel like this?”
We’re close to leaving now, I can hear Serge packing the last few things in the truck, the dogs nervous feet scampering around, so many hours ahead of us to go…
Treatment will be administered on Tuesday, and then all of the protocols will be followed the rest of the week, scans, scans, and more extremely long and painfully still scans. Putting us leaving around Saturday a week later.
This is what I know for now, I am still gathering information for my longer informative post about PRRT. I figured since I’m doing the second round maybe it’s best I wait. Also, I just haven’t felt well enough to write anything remotely informative 😂🤓 that requires brain power = brain shut down= eyes go bye bye.
Okay, time for me to get dressed, and that includes putting my smile on. It’s time for a ROAD TRIP!!! 😁
Talk to y’all later 😝👻💀💩☠
Pheo VS Fabulous
ˈkansər/ – disease; causing the body and mind to adapt, overcome, and embrace change.
Quality of life: What do these three seemingly simple words mean to you?
I used to just see it as phrase.
I actually used to see many things as just phrases, words put together to fill silences in sterile rooms to allow for some sort of relief from the inevitable uncomfortable points of cancer.
Until you live them, you are intimate with each word, and you get to know what each one will mean to you… you get to appreciate what kind of quality you’d like to live, and start to live it.
We cannot simply continue to live our pre-cancer, pre-adrenal insufficiency, post surgery, post treatment, etc etc, the exact same way we did before…
Well, I kinda did. I think we all do in some respects, and that’s normal.
The difficulty is realizing where you can no longer do so,
and where you need to adjust your expectations.
I didn’t say give up there, did I? …
The next time you hear “You’re so strong!”, don’t shy away from it when someone admires your strength. Think about what it means to them, what it means to you, and how you have truly earned it.
“How am I supposed to have any sort of Quality of Life when this disease is doing nothing but take take take? “
I don’t even have a life anymore, so how am I supposed to have a ‘quality’ one…?
Everything I am doing is supposed to ‘provide me with better quality of life’, but after procedure I’m left feeling worse and can do less…
How am I not supposed to lose hope?
Did I tell you how wonderful it feels to simply be a little more kind to yourself?
Most importantly, understanding that even the smallest victories are worth celebrating, simple joys are to be found and appreciated everyday, because these ‘small’ and ‘simple’ things to someone else… probably mean the world to you.
Remember, although your life is different… it’s YOUR life, and these are the things that make the quality of your living.
And we did.
My response would have been: ARE YOU NUTS? I’m not doing that! Why would I do that!?
Now!? I’m only 25 years old, I’m not putting a hospital bed in my living room, that will never go with my decor! (priorities, jeeze)…
Remember those simple joys? Small victories?
Well THIS was the greatest joy, a godsend, a MASSIVE victory!
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!)
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,
A detailed overview of my PRRT clinical trial
Remedy for the rare: PRRT (Overview)
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?
It takes hours of pain and struggle to achieve ‘beauty’ at the beginning of my day –
It takes just seconds and not even the slightest struggle for my body to achieve unimaginable ‘pain’ at the end.
This is living with pheochromocytoma cancer.
This is how quick it is – seconds, minutes…. Bright, cheery, and ready to take on the world doesn’t matter when you’re hit with searing pain and an overdose of adrenaline hormones. Your body assaulted so all it knows how to do is scream, cry, or vomit in defense. How quickly things can change. Every day. From that ‘normal’ woman full of life with the big sparkly smile to the woman who can’t move in her bed, with dark eyes, tears of pain, sweat, and a constant reminder that no matter how positive she is – pheo doesn’t care.
I allow for what I want people to see, but it’s important to know that although I often choose to share only one perception, there is another.
I choose to share the bright smiles, and focus on the good. This is often just a small part of my day, despite me wanting it to be all the time – it’s out of my control.
Unfortunately the ‘other’ side far outweighs the one I choose to share, which is why I choose to shine a light on the brighter side of things, perhaps because it’s the one that needs a bit more love and attention in order to stay bright and stay as I like to call it – “fab”.
As much as I wish sometimes people would understand or really “get it”, I know that it’s really just an impossible situation to get. You simply cannot be within someone else’s body and feel their exact amount pain. I find myself pleased when someone doesn’t get it, why would I even want them to?
It’s easy for us to SAY “5 times in 12 days we have spent in the hospital completing tests and procedures, each time approximately a 12 hour day (actually feeling grateful if we made it back under the 12 hour mark)”
It takes seconds to go from perfectly ‘normal’ to what I’ve described at any given time several times a day. Regardless of tests, hospital appointments, procedures, or things that may further provoke and push my condition to an extreme, these are examples of what I don’t share when I share the most.
‘Normal’ days are no exception – these activities are just as hard, and have the same outcome. Taking a shower, climbing the stairs, trying to go to the grocery store, visit a friend or family member, go for a walk down down my street, they all have the same result. I know I will suffer the consequences, so I must choose everything I do with care, and plan every move carefully.
That is a real depiction of my day with this disease, and it doesn’t ever stop reminding me. I often focus on the ‘fabulous’, find the good, and try and empower others through my experience with this disease not just focusing on the obvious struggle. It’s important to talk about both sides, not just for me, but for everyone who’s living with this just as I am.
However, every now and again… I think it’s important to mention the pheo, since I think I’m pretty fabulous 🖐🏻
PHEO VS Fabulous 💛✨