Thursday, May 31, 2012

Round IV

Hi there,
Keeping up with my treatment plan, here's my latest update. Yesterday was my final treatment for the "AC."  I had 4 rounds every three weeks since my diagnosis.  My final PICC line!  I had removed early, because it was really painful this time.  They weren't able to use the same vessel that was used the last three times, so they used a smaller vessel and it was not pleasant.  I couldn't move my arm the day I got it, but now that's it's removed, I'm doing much better.  This last treatment has been a lot harder on me.  I'm not violently ill or anything just feel like I've been hit by a truck and really moody and groggy.  I guess this is what I should expect since I'm getting more pregnant along with the chemo building up in my system.  For someone that has zero patience, this is a true test for me.  I'm getting more antsy and trying to knock the nerves of becoming a mommy and trying to understand that I have a long road ahead of me with my treatment is wearing on me.  I have many things to look forward to, so I'm trying to be positive and focus on those pleasantries, but I'll admit it's not always easy.  Please remember that I write this blog as my personal diary to remember my experience.  I'm willing to share this with those who read it as a window into the life of someone dealing with real issues that aren't too common for most, but could help just one person.  With that said, I'm going to share a story of a situation I experienced yesterday that was unpleasant and has been weighing on me. By no means, am I sharing to get sympathy from the world, just expressing myself to get relief that I have dealt with it...yesterday while waiting in the waiting room to receive my final "AC" treatment which is a pretty big milestone for me (a good milestone), my mom and I are just chit chatting about whatever passing the time while we wait.  This woman in the waiting room whom I've seen before interrupted us and asked how old I was because she observed I looked fairly young.  I told her I was 30.  She proceeded to ask if I had "it" in my breast, to which I responded yes and she asked what was feeding it, meaning what hormone, if any, to which I answered I'm triple negative so we don't know what's feeding the cancer.  She then explained that she too had triple negative breast cancer had been diagnosed the first time at 34, was now 38 and is receiving chemo and radiation for the 4th time to treat the same cancer that has returned FOUR flipping times now.  I just about bust out crying right then and there.  Here I'm thinking I'm done with phase one in just a couple of hours and then all of sudden my mind is swimming with this horrific thought that THIS could be my life over and over takes a lot to get in my head to where I cannot shake something, but this was the wrong time and place.  I could tell my mom wanted to physically close the woman's mouth from talking so we didn't hear anymore of what she had to say, I on the other hand kept with the questions.  To be honest, I have no idea what she had to say after a certain point, but I have been in a state of shock since.  I will end this story with saying that I'm allowing myself a day for self pity and then I'll get back to reality, MY REALITY, which is my treatment plan is going to work and I'm going to be fine. I just have to think that for some reason I was supposed to hear what this woman had to say, why else would that conversation take place?  Anyway, feeling like crap today isn't helping me much, but this too shall pass.  Anyway, back to my future steps to getting better....I'll have two weeks to get my blood counts back up and then start my new cocktail called Taxol of which I'll have a total of 12 treatments on a weekly basis.  By having the weekly treatments, I'll be able to take it in much smaller dosages with hopes to keep my blood counts from plummeting and hopefully they won't be so hard on my system overall. The greatest part to the Taxol, no more PICC lines.  In prep for the baby's arrival, I'll have just 2 treatments of Taxol on a weekly basis and then I'll begin my 4 week "rest" period and deliver baby Lansing.  I really can't believe how close we are to having our little miracle here in our arms.  I'm ready to have him here with us to give us laughter and light.  On the other hand, I freak out that I am so unprepared with all the baby "stuff" that we still need and learn how to use, etc.  It's something that I'm sure all first time parents think about, it's just funny that it's now our turn.  Thank heavens for my first baby shower this weekend.  It's with my closest girlfriends and I definitely need the time with girls to get my spirits up and feel like my old self. 
Peace & Love,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Friday!
Pups watching TV
I'm sitting here with my pups and so envious of the many posts on Facebook of friends slowly arriving to Cumberland Lake....awwwww what I would do to be there. It's the first time since I can remember that this weekend doesn't mean too much to me because we can't participate in the festivities that this weekend usually means for us.  We actually don't have any plans, so strange.  Planning for our pregnancy was critical to allow for me to have at least a smidget of summer sans pregnancy so I could enjoy my very favorite past time, boating.  Of course this was back in the day when we thought we had a little more control over our lives.  Please friends, continue to post all your beautiful pictures of the lake so I can live vicariously through you! :0)  I know it won't be long until I can participate again, but it stinks not being able to go.  This feels much the same as missing out on me, I know my favorite things but I don't realize just how much I love my favorite things to do until some things in my life were placed on hold.  My new mantra: Just think how sweet it will be when I get to push "play" again and start the ride all over. 

Thank you to so many of you who checked out my post about the Benefit. I've added more pictures to that post and would like to recommend that you take a minute to read my best friend's blog.  Leslie has shared her personal experience of the Benefit via her posted.  I think it's so neat to get a feel of the event through her perspective...go to and let me know what you think!

On Wednesday evening, my mom, Robert and I all worked to get the nursery more established.  Let's be honest, I watched my mom and Robert work on putting furniture together and we still haven't finished.  I'm thinking this is probably what Robert and I will be spending most of the weekend doing. Our little monkey is going to be here in less than 8 weeks at this point which is unbelievable and so exciting to me!  By setting up the nursery, there's been a lot of rearranging going on in the Porter household, but all in all, it's looking good.  I can tell I'm in the nesting mode.  Wish I had more strength and energy to actually get things done myself, but instead I have to supervise.  Thank you Robert and Mom for all your help (Dad, I'll go ahead and thank you because we need your help now that you're back in town).  Once the nursery is looking like a nursery, I'll definitely post pictures!

Have a great weekend everyone!  Enjoy the beautiful sunshine & 3 day weekend!

Peace & Love,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friendship & Gratitude

Robert and I at our Benefit

The Ladies & I at the Benefit
Last night was such a beautiful evening...I honestly don't know where to begin.  I get a little weepy sitting here trying to find the words to express our gratitude for the love and support we felt yesterday from so many friends and family members.  I know without a shadow of doubt that I am loved and have so many reasons to be positive and continue to hold my head high and fight this battle.  To know I have so much love from all of you makes this process easier somehow.  Thank you to every single person who came to support us and our cause. Your presence meant so much to Robert and I and our families.  Thank you for the overflowing response to the incredible raffle items donated by so many wonderful local companies and vendors.  Thank you to my family, my wonderful family, to come and support us. Thank you to my co-workers for all your support, it's incredible to be able to say I have a second family at work, not many people have the luxury and are able to say that, I am very thankful that I do. On top of everyone supporting us, it was great getting to see and talk with so many of you!  I was able to see people I haven't seen in many years.  Some of you traveling from afar, thank you for making the trek and coming to see us.  I only made it until just before 8pm, I'm so sorry for those that I didn't get to see and catch up with but appreciate you very much.

Last but certainly never least...The Angels Responsible for Everything:
I have been blessed with such an exceptional group of friends, I love each of them so much I sometimes feel I could suffocate them with my love. To see what transpired from their love and devotion to me and my cause is something I could only dream about. These Angels pictured below are the reason for such a magnificent event and for my sanity.  Thank you so much for loving me unconditionally and supporting me through thick and thin...thank you for being who YOU are and for making something that is so ugly and unpleasant, so beautiful.  I love you girls so much.
 Left to Right: Jessica Salyers, Kelli Fohl, Jennifer Edwards, Amy Davis, Jill Salyers, Emily Wolfzorn, Brooke King, Leslie Marshall, Christi Riegler (not pictured: Natasha LaGesse, Molly Gosnell, Shannon Appelman, Melissa Rechtin, Nate Salyers).

To sum it all up....the benefit was such a GREAT time!  I will remember yesterday evening as one of the most positive and beautiful moments of my journey with stupid cancer.  I'll never forget the love I felt/feel from everyone.  I think for the rest of my life I'll be trying to come up with a way to thank every single person that made yesterday possible, until I figure that out....please know that I am talking about YOU and you personally have helped me get through this process by your encouraging words, hugs, laughter.  For all of you that were with us in spirit, thank you so much for thinking of us.
Here are some snapshots of the three raffle tables...thank you so much for the amazing raffle prizes that were ever so graciously donated by local companies, family and friends.  The evening would not have been possible without you!

A special thank you to the wonderful Blinkers Tavern for allowing us to hold our event at your location.  The establishment is beautiful and so inviting and we couldn't have picked a better venue.  
Forever grateful,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tonights the night

It's finally here, the much anticipated Benefit that my dearest friends worked so hard to put together for Robert and I.  I do not know many details (this was on purpose so that I had nothing to worry about), but I do know that so many people were ever so generous and thoughtful donating such wonderful goodies for the raffle giveaways, monetary donations, and physically showing up to support all of us.

To be the honorary person tonight is something that is very daunting...never do you think something like this will have to happen, but the fact that is it, is such an enlightening experience.  Thank you for supporting us, loving us, being a part of this journey.  We could never do this alone and having such a wonderful support system and such devoted friends is something we'll always cherish.  We love you so much....can't wait to see everyone! 

Peace & Love,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

For my Mom

Hi Mom,
Happy Mother's Day!  I wanted to take a minute and say a couple words to let you know how much you mean to me.  We've always been best friends, you're the first person I call about EVERYTHING no matter how big or small the news may be! I swear you have ESP when it comes to me and will call right as I'm dialing your number.  You always know exactly what it is I need by providing advice to help me to fix an unsettling issue or to just listen to me as I sort through my thoughts.  As we embark on this double journey, you continue to amaze me with your unconditional support.  I knew at such a young age that I was always safe with you and this is still true today.  Throughout the ups and downs of this journey we are on, you help me to see the light in the dark, remind me of what is truly important, and to stop and take care of myself.  You raised me to be a strong, caring, independent woman but to also know you can't survive this world alone and to know when you need the love and support from others.  I try to achieve this balance daily, and have been working to fine tune these qualities over the past couple of months.  I'm really scared with what the next couple of months are going to bring.  To be a first time mom is scary enough, but to bring a baby in the world while dealing with weekly treatments is going to be something that I never dreamt would be a part of my life or something I'd have to deal with.  But knowing that I have you, I know we'll get through it.  Thank you for being by my side through all the doctor appointments, chemo treatments, and for encouraging me when I feel less of a person.  You are my hero and I will always be inspired by the woman you are and strive to be as much like you as possible.  You taught me to see the good in everything and everyone.  I hope to continue to make you proud and to become a mother to Lansing as you have been to me over the last 30 years.

All my love,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Round III

Hi there,
It's been two days since my third treatment  of chemo.  I have only one more treatment of this particular cocktail which means only one more PICC line!!! WOOOO HOOOO!  I hate those stupid things. Even though the PICC "installation" has been so much easier the last two times, it tears my poor arm up and is uncomfortable.  I feel for people who have to have to keep them for weeks/months on thank you!  I can definitely tell the chemo is getting harder on my body with each treatment.  I'm sure my growing pregnancy isn't helping matters either.  My hips have been so sore it's been hard to walk and the migraines are coming on strong lately...usually I don't have to worry about the migraines until the week after chemo, but everything happened right away after this round.  It makes it hard to keep up with blogging because I typically get a migraine in middle of a writing session.  With my list of complaints, it's always interesting to play the "is it from chemo or is it from pregnancy game" with the dozens of symptoms I come up time.  I've heard and read from plenty of women that their second pregnancies are easier for the sheer fact that they know what to expect and realize when certain annoyances are "normal" and to just expect them rather than to be worrisome or fearful of them.  I realize I have just listed a slew of complaints, but all-in-all I need to just be thankful for all the good things and that I really am doing/feeling much better than expected.  I'll take weakness & exhaustion over vomiting any day!

After I had my PICC line installed on Tuesday, my mom and I headed over to the medical office building at Christ to get another sneak peek at my baby boy....The ultrasound showed that Lansing has grown to a whopping 3 pounds and he's in the 77th percentile.  He's getting big and strong and makes his momma so proud already.  I was told by the doc in Houston that the steroids I get with each chemo treatment help him out tremendously.  I'm relieved he's doing so well.  As much as I am happy he's growing, I'm a bit worried WHERE I'm going to find the space to fit his growing body! ;0)  I feel like I'm maxed out already and I have a long way to go! 

Robert and I are working on getting Lansing's nursery ready.  I feel like I've been asked for months now if my nursery was finished already and I'm just now getting started on it.  I know we'll have his room ready to go in time for his arrival, it's just so hard to prioritize these days but now that we are setting our minds to it, it's definitely a very exciting time for us!

I wanted to send a very special thank you to the "Hope for Misty Crew."  My cousin Kim who lives in Atlanta, Georgia has put together a crew of her friends and family members from across the country and have been sending dozens and dozens of letters, cards, mementos of hope to keep me motivated and to raise my spirit.  I do not know any of these women, but I can tell you that your words of encouragement are so endearing and inspiring to me.  Thank you so much for taking time out of your lives to reach out to me and let me know your are cheering for me.  Kim, you have always had the biggest heart and I want you to know this was the most kind, thoughtful idea and I appreciate it so very much!  I love you!  

I also want to say thank you for everyone posting comments on my blog.  I promise I read each of them and each of your notes make me smile and keep me going.  Thank you and it's so good to hear from you! 

Finally, I want to thank my Toyota family for their continued support and encouragement.  I have received many thoughtful cards and know you are rooting for me and I miss all of you.  Thank you for thinking of me.  <3

Peace & Love,

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY GIRLIES: Christi, Kelli, Lauren, Heather & Alyse!

Monday, May 7, 2012


Hi there,
I just returned from a week trip to Houston, TX with Robert and my Mom. We met with a prestigious medical oncologist specializing in cancer treatment with pregnant women at MD Anderson. Our purpose for the trip was to gain a second opinion with my treatment regime to ensure we are on the right path. As I've said many times before, my primary oncologists are wonderful, however, this is a situation in which a second opinion is vital for our peace of mind and to cross it off the list so that we don't look back down the road and kick ourselves for not exhausting all our resources. Robert said it best, if we learn the same information in Houston for a second time, we'll be ecstatic.

For a little background, that I personally found astounding, MD Anderson is the first to administer chemotherapy to pregnant women in the world and conducted the first long-term study to follow the children who were in the womb during the treatment. The oldest child is 22 years old today. All of the children have been reported to be healthy with no long-term ill effects from the treatment. I was encouraged by each of the doctors I met with in TX that both my baby and I would be healthy after treatment with a confidence that was new to my situation. Prior to MD Anderson, I was informed repeatedly of the potential risk to me and my baby on a regular basis (which I understand is necessary) but to meet with a doctor that has seen for herself time and time again that everyone is HEALTHY in the end gives me strength and confidence that I was certainly lacking before.   If I can help just one woman by going through this myself, is to tell you that this place exists and it's worth everything for you to meet with these professionals and hear what they have to say. Even if you receive your treatment in your hometown in the end. They are pioneers and KNOW (fool-proof) what they are talking about...our doctors are using their studies to administer our therapies...if you are scared, if you are uneasy, go see them.  In the end, the oncologist we met with agreed to my current treatment plan. My tumor has reduced by .5 cm since beginning my treatment and I have tolerated the therapy pretty well so we are going to stick with our current program. It's what we wanted to hear and we are very happy with the results. I'll be honest and tell you that after our final appointment on Friday, I wanted to scream and cry when we got in the car...instead a couple silent tears fell down my cheeks.   I think there's always going to be that hope that this isn't real or that I really don't have to go through ALL of this crap, but this trip was the final nail in the coffin so to speak. I have cancer, it's getting better, but I have cancer. I wonder if I'll ever really grasp that.   Part of our take away from this trip was that we have also been advised to pursue additional genetic testing. The initial genetic test results indicated that the two markers indicative of breast/ovarian cancers came back negative and that I do not carry the gene for either. As this was great news to me to know that my mom, sister and brother don't have to worry about having to go through this, I now have to understand this little monster better for my baby. I'm the beginning of a family history....a really bad family history.

As I mentioned before, my purpose in sharing this information is for the slight chance a woman going through something similar is able to find hope and resources through my journey. The fear that comes with this process is something that we don't talk about. I don't think it's possible to quite understand this fear unless you are in the midst of it. I wouldn't wish this fear on anyone, but am thankful for the enlightenment it has brought into my life and the life of my family and friends. I've never been one to take anything in life for granted, but I can confidently say, I never will.   I will continue to be grateful for every minute I have, period.   ENJOY this life, every minute...even the bad ones because they make the good moments all the more sweeter.

Other than going to Houston for medical advice, we were able to spend a couple days site-seeing. We drove to Galveston and Lake Charles and spent a couple hours with our toes in the sand. It was so nice to hang with my favorite people and unexpectedly have some down time to enjoy together. We also went to the Houston Museum of Natural my delight they had a Gem Vault filled with the most exquisite gemstones and pieces of jewelry. I'm talking necklaces like Rose's Heart of the Ocean in Titanic. Some of you may not know my obsession with jewelry and jewelry-making, but I truly love it! I was in heaven...thanks Mom and Robert for indulging me. :0)  This picture is of one of their amethyst necklaces in the vault...amazing!

Thank you to the Porter and Lester families for helping arrange our trip and taking care of our furry babies while we were gone. Robert and Mom, thank you for being there with me and caring so much for me. I love you.  Thank you to my girls for working so hard to get the benefit together. Thank you Kelli and Amy for helping me register for Lansing...god knows I have no idea what I'm doing! 

Peace & Love,