“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
metacancer_winter17

Pheo VS Fabulous 

XOX

#pheovsfabulous

The Mighty -Can·cer & Quality of Life

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

img_4332

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

Round 2 -Clinical Trial

It’s that time again…

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?”

It’s different. 

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

XOX

 

 

Can·cer & Quality of Life

can·cer
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? 

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)…

_________________________________________________________________

Remember those simple joys? Small victories?

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

_________________________________________________________________

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… 

_________________________________________________________________

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 

img_3572

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

Time..

The last post I wrote was filling everyone in on what’s been going on these past few months. Besides that I know you haven’t heard much from me.

I wish I had more time and energy to write… Actually, if I am completely honest, I just wish I had more time and energy.

When your time becomes scrambled into appointments instead of days, cancer treatments instead of months, it’s bound to become exhausting… and all consuming.

It will be 2 years on the 10th of October that I’ll have heard the words that changed my life, and since then my life has been a constant whirlwind of how to’s:

-how to become educated on an incredibly rare disease
-how to become my own advocate
-how to save my own life
-how to fight against a cancer that will always win
-how to not lose hope
-how to help others through my own experience
-how to not let this cancer take away who I am
-how to stay FABULOUS

I touched briefly in my latest post about starting chemo injections, another new treatment. I am so fortunate to have this treatment available to me, and incredibly blessed to have a doctor who is always working with me to be one step ahead, but it doesn’t come without its share of side effects.

This is partly why you haven’t heard much from me, because it’s been quite hard to settle into yet another new treatment regimen. One that is unique – every day, multiple injections a day, without any reprieve.

I can no longer choose when I want to be reminded of this cancer, I am now surrounded by it 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

I wake up to the pain of it, and I go to bed to the pain and discomfort of it.

The very few times I am feeling ‘okay’, I definitely want to spend this precious time doing things that bring me happiness, joy, and relaxation.

Before we know it I will be heading in again for another massive radiotherapy treatment, this time even more intimidating because it’s a clinical trial setting.

So I’ve decided that after two years of
becoming educated on my rare disease,
figuring out how to save my own life,
fighting against a cancer that will inevitably win,
holding onto hope and sharing that hope with others like me,
and most of all… finding ways to stay fabulous after EVERYTHING that’s happened
….
it’s time to focus on one thing and one thing only… 

BEING fabulous!

I wrote this on the first page of my blog – the day Pheo VS Fabulous was born:

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.

 So that’s what I am going to be doing, focusing on BEING fabulous, strong, and positive…. despite the odds! 😉 

Using the little time I do have doing joyful things, take a small break from the PHEO, and focus more on the FAB…

Since I can’t exactly fly across the world, let alone walk up the stairs… haha, I’ve started my little happiness scale by decorating pumpkins with my family, and spending time with the ones I love the most. I love fall, so this means everything to me.

Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.