4th..5th time? I’ve lost count! IS a charm 💛✨

There are two things this disease has made me become an expert with:

learning how to be okay with never leaving your little comfy space (or rather being confined to it). 

or

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 😪😭)

Bye everybody!

🛣🚘

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Reminding You…

I often say that I don’t feel I’m fighting cancer; I live with cancer. What I fight for is the ability to continuously mend myself back to health, piece by piece, taking back what this disease has stolen from me.
Exactly one year ago I wrote this article, it was after what I thought would be the most difficult procedure I would have to endure on my journey with this cancer, and the most suffering I would have to feel.
I was wrong.
I will continue to be wrong, and that’s what this article is about.
It’s a true testament to mine and many others real experiences; how we will continuously have to feel what we thought was the worst pain of our lives, yet wake up and do it all over again – only to be even more painful the next time, and the next time after that… but we will have to find a way to keep going, to WANT to keep going.

You can typically tell how sick I am with my level of activity, (I’ve been MIA) I haven’t been feeling too well lately.

My health has been ‘declining’ as the title says, and I’ve been physically suffering more than ever. 

Who knew my own words would bring ME a bit of comfort a year later after all of these treatments and just a year later?

I truly hope they are doing the same for you as well. 

I just wanted to remind everyone that no matter how hard it gets, these reminders are why you fight so hard.

I’d like to think that some day, I will be in less pain and get my own bit of happiness I’ve been dreaming about so much…but at the very least

I hope I can say I’ve made an impact

Pheo VS Fabulous 

I really need your help…Rare Disease Day

I’m dying

but you already knew that – I just had to grab your attention

The number one complaint you will hear from patients who suffered from being misdiagnosed or being undiagnosed is that nobody listened to them

Why?

Because they were “too rare” 

These are the people who then had to hear these words, the diagnosis that shattered their entire world… Just much too late for it to count …

There’s no cure, we can only manage the symptoms and pain ”

“With the limited information we have.. People live for about 1-5 years” 

“it’s 1 in 5 million once it spreads, I’ve never seen it personally, you’re very rare!” 



It’s Rare Disease Day

I thought that I would offer a different perspective – one that could explain what this day means better than anyone, and why it’s so important to share this message.

Today is rare disease day, they call them zebras. 
Zebras are the last diseases that doctors look for. The obvious ones are called Horses, those are the ones the Doctors are used too. So they get to cure those on time.

I have a Zebra at home so it’s the one the doctors didn’t catch in time. She is my beautiful wife 26 years old she is what we call paleative.

My wish is that the doctors would of listened when she was telling them that her illness was back and did proper testing instead of blaming it on anxiety, it would of been treatable she would of had 1 thumor instead of 16 impossible to treat.

So please doctors I beg you to listen to your Zebras when they say they know their illness is back and don’t look at the ‘Horse’ if they are Zebras. Continue on treating them like Zebras.

If you have a Zebra in your family fight for them don’t let the doctors see them as Horses.

I’m very happy of how I’ve taken care of you since you were diagnosed butt I really regret the way I did not react before. If I would of known better it would of been different. I know it’s not just my fault but I still carry with me a lot of blame, I always think if I had known more back then I would have fought harder for you, if I just would have known there were more tests, I trusted in them and I shouldn’t have. I would have never taken no for an answer, we just didn’t know what more to do. We didn’t know what to research for, we didn’t know we had to. And I’m so Sorry baby😪

Now we are doing everything we didn’t know how to do back then, and it’s helping others. I’m so proud of you. You will help so many other people not feel the way we did that day. I love you so much!!

Thank you for reading!!!

This is what it’s all about, to hopefully help rare diseases like mine (pheochromocytoma) cancer become less of an unknown disease to all involved. Eventually making these misdiagnoses, and undiagnosed patients less of a problem.

Help us become less rare.

Help keep sharing the information. 

Every day I struggle through my pain to write any little detail so that there will finally be information available – any information available to others about this rare disease. Explain what it is to participate in treatments, procedures, and rare trials real time…I patiently repeat myself as I explain what pheochromocytoma is over and over again to anyone and everyone.

All I ask is that you share my message further, just SHARE!

I have one common goal in mind… help make this disease less painful for the next person. Make this disease less of a struggle for the next family, less of a mystery for the next patient, more information available to the next medical team, and hopefully…

Whatever they can do to give us with more time, and better quality of life.

I know there’s no cure, but it would be really nice to not suffer so much while we’re waiting.

There’s one single day for thousands of rare diseases to become less rare and get the awareness, funding, and exposure they are looking for – all crammed into one 24 hour period. Why is that? 


Are we less important than someone who has a different disease? Am I dying any differently? 

This is why I need your help, today and everyday… but ESPECIALLY today, let’s make today count for all of us zebras.

Let’s make our February 28th 2017 Rare Disease Day worth it!

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Share to become less rare !

Pheo VS Fabulous

#pheovsfabulous

 

 

 

 

 

“Just Stay Fabulous”…

Just Stay Fabulous…

I am so honored to finally share some very exciting news right before Rare Disease Day.

Seeing as though I am just about to enter into my third consecutive round of treatment, it’s about time we see a little positive news and opportunity for awareness…

I have been featured in Health Monitor’s “Guide to Metastatic Cancer” magazine!

I was contacted to share my tips on how to make life a little bit more enjoyable while living with cancer… or rather just having done harsh treatments.

What an incredible thing to be asked, what do I know better than the next person? I’m just taking things one day at a time, having my share of awful days. I guess the difference is I’ve chosen to share most of my journey on a platform for all to read, which is how they found me. I may not have a very fortunate outcome, but I am blessed to be able to help so many others get through theirs with the honesty of mine.

I have attached the screen shots as well as the FULL PDF version of the entire magazine just below 🙂

I really hope many of you can connect to some element of it, it’s not pheo specific – so hopefully everyone can take something out of my ‘guide’.

I’d like to say here that the most important point I forgot was helping others like me, bringing them joy and information, it will now and forever be my most rewarding experience. It’s what makes ME ‘thrive during treatment’.

Love you all,

Thank you Kathleen for connecting with me and helping me share my message ❤

cover-health-monitorindex-health-monitorthrive-during-treatment
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Pheo VS Fabulous 

XOX

#pheovsfabulous

The Mighty -Can·cer & Quality of Life

What ‘Quality of Life’ Means To Me as I Adapt to Cancer

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https://themighty.com/2017/02/what-quality-of-life-means-in-my-life-with-cancer/

Some of you may remember at the end of January I had written a piece about quality of life when living with cancer for my blog. It was an intimate article that focused on the body and mind’s adaption process when overcoming each new phase of your new life, and the quality that you now have to find within it.

I’m proud to say it’s also just been published on the Mighty as well. You can follow the link above to read it, and please share.

It’s at times like this I find quality within my own life, and I’m thankful to be able to share it.

Pheo VS Fabulous

xox

Can·cer & Quality of Life

can·cer
ˈkansər/ – disease; causing the body and mind to adapt, overcome, and embrace change.
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Quality of life: What do these three seemingly simple words mean to you? 

Someone who is living with a permanent illness which will impact their ‘quality of life’, will hear this phrase from time to time.

Someone like me who is considered a ‘palliative care patient’, which is a polite way of saying my disease will eventually kill me, this term gets thrown around a lot, but do we ever stop to think about what it truly means?

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.

 

I am going to share my perception of these words, and hopefully..
they will not just be words to you either.

 

This phrase, ‘quality of life’, it’s meant to bring a sense of comfort, a level of respect,
a sign that no matter what the cancer is going to take from you – we are going to do our best to keep you comfortable while all of these changes take place, and most importantly…
just keep you who you are.

There’s the first problem: expectations. If we don’t adjust our own expectations and EXPECT this disease to change us, this will be the first disappointment, the very first of many tears, and the beginning of the harsh reality which is called life with cancer.

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…
right?

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? …

Time to ADAPT

So here comes the hard part, once you start to change… no one but you can prepare you for this.

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.

So, you start changing, and this ‘quality of life’ thing everyone keeps talking about, seems like a very far away ideal at this point…

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?

FAST FORWARD a few months… 

My disease moves quickly, sometimes it seems like I can blink and not recognize myself physically, or suddenly go from walking around seemingly ‘normal’ to being completely bed ridden for months and needing a wheelchair the rest of the time. THAT was the most surprising, and still is…

OVERCOME

 Did I tell you how wonderful it feels to simply be a little more kind to yourself? 


After all… how am I supposed to have any sort of life if I am not going to accept the fact that my life is different? Change is constant, and I need to be willing to accept that although my life is very different, it’s mine.

The fact that I wake up every day, is a beautiful thing. 


The fact that I have woken up each day with a smile, and gone to bed each night the same way…

ADAPTING to each new circumstance, OVERCOMING each new situation.

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.

Embracing Change …

Throughout most of my story, I’ve chosen to share personal aspects of my life to help others come to the same realizations and places I am, but hopefully not have to suffer quite as much to get there.

Just in the last two months, having another treatment to control my disease has confined me to my upstairs floor, i’ve suffered the worst pain so far this disease has given me. It’s made me question my quality of life, since being palliative, I’m supposed to be as comfortable as possible, and enjoy my quality of life. Instead I’ve been writhing in pain, stuck in a bed, unable to leave the upstairs floor of my house, lonely, defeated.

It made me question…
“Now how will we get through this one?”

And we did.

Because…

Cancer makes you… ADAPT, OVERCOME.

Months ago, my perception of having home care and setting up a bedroom on my bottom floor?

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)…

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Remember those simple joys? Small victories?

Well THIS was the greatest joy, a godsend, a MASSIVE victory!

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I can now see out a window, I have LIFE fluttering around me, I can see my husband cooking in the kitchen, I can see my dogs run around the house, I could go and choose a very pink blanket for my new bed (ha!)
I can actually walk to the kitchen and serve myself a drink or snack when I’m feeling well,
I was able to have a christmas tree, I can drift off to sleep right in front of my fire-place,
watch the snow fall down… 

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That smile? It was fading slightly for the first time when I was confined upstairs for all those days, it was still there… but it just wasn’t quite as bright.

That’s what quality of life is

Those aren’t just words, This is MY life

And this smile? It’s brighter than ever now…

You too will be able to adapt to your new changing situation, overcome your new challenges, and embrace the changes as they come. You just have to remember… your new life is exactly that, a new life. You must explore the beauty it has to show, the joy it has to give, and the blessings it has to offer.

Just remember, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to your life.

 

As long as you’re the one who’s smiling at the beginning and end of it 🙂

Pheo VS Fabulous ❤
xox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

💖

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