Friday, January 21, 2011

I Won a "Vacation"!

BIG NEWS FROM HOUSTON: My latest PET scan showed "no evidence of disease," and this from the radiologist known to be super-picky. Of course, with Stage IV cancer, the word "remission" is never used, but "NED" is as good as it gets. As a result, I get to skip chemo for three months, which is especially welcome news since my side effects (touchy tummy, fatigue, tingly toes) were starting to become troublesome. I'm going on a hormone therapy and will stay on the non-chemo drugs that I get via IV as a hoped-for safety net during the "vacation."

It's always a huge treat when your oncologist smiles. And my MD/Phd pharmacologist brother-in-law, who helps develop cancer drugs, called this "spectacular" news and added, "You have been 'chosen.'" Strong words and strong medicine.

I am blessed. And grateful for such supportive relatives and friends.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wait Till You See!

This is Dustin, the newest member of our household. Hank knew I've been wanting a rabbit for a long time and surprised me by locating a breeder just before Christmas. Way to go, Hank! Dustin is an English lop--my fourth of this type and eighth overall. He is the sweetest-natured, calmest rabbit you'd ever meet, and has quickly made himself at home. He and the guinea pig are going to share a cage. The dogs know the drill already with small pets; once the rabbit is convinced they're OK, we'll be on a roll. Off to Houston shortly for scans tomorrow.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Sweetness

This week Madeleine's high school choir performed at Chez Chemo, as my friends and I call the infusion room at our clinic. She recently cut her waist-length hair for Locks of Love! These are just a couple examples of why I am such a lucky mama. (And these lucky ducks are performing in China in March.)

Wishing you cozy holidays full of blessings,



Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Metaphor for B.C.

Everyone keeps talking about the rollercoaster of having cancer, which it is: Wee, my scans were great. Eew, it's time for another one.

The rest of the time it is, in my opinion, like walking a tightrope. Fall one way, and you're blissfully oblivious or even, God forbid, cocky about the whole thing. Fall the other way, and the beast has robbed you of hope.

And then there's the "elephant in the room" that becomes apparent when we lose a friend.

Is this a circus, or what? If that's the case, I'm going to (in my mind, at least) get one of those sparkly outfits and make the pretty horses dance.

Love to all, and happy "awareness" month,


Sunday, October 24, 2010


Jeanne, Marie, me, Sue, and Sandy at our 'slumber party' with Carrie.

Friday I lost a sweet friend and guiding light, Carrie Madden of my support group. Carrie had inflammatory breast cancer, a scourge that makes my disease pale in comparison. (The pathology is completely different, even though the disease starts in the breast.)

Carrie wasn't supposed to make it past November '09, but canceled those plans, so to speak. Instead she eked out another year with the help of some big-gun chemo until a few months ago when she declared 'no more drugs, no more scans.' For a year, she'd been bearing the inevitable with grace and peace: a brilliant gift to all who knew her, cancer or not.

A month ago, several of us spent a Sunday afternoon with her. We all piled onto her bed and talked about a boatload of topics, from the mundane to the philosophical. It was one of those spontaneous, perfect times that will stay in the memory.

Carrie echoed in her actions what our group members all know: It's so much more than a band artificially assembled. Carrie specified that all memorial funds go to the IV League...our group with the name inspired by our 'elite' Stage IV status. (The country club nobody wants to join.) We are blessed that Austin's Breast Cancer Resource Center created our group, a lifeline in many senses of the word.

Thanks to all for your loving support.--Sally

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good Scans!

Just back from Houston, with happy scan results. Nothing visible in the liver, and bones stable. Thanks be to the deity!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Guinness Is Good For You

Hank and I have just returned from an 11-day adventure driving in Ireland, our 30th anniversary cum cancer-antidote trip.

Talk about good for what ails you:

Glorious sweeps of pastureland—it really is that green! ....Crashing waves with the spray hanging in the wind..…200-foot precipices overlooking the Atlantic (“next parish, Boston”)……Petite mountains that rise so quickly it’s as if they’re enormous…..Bossy sheep that like to play “police checkpoint.” Hearing Gaelic spoken on the Aran Islands. Butter for breakfast, butter for lunch….and later, Guinness.

And, of course, pubs, pubs, pubs. I am a new groupie for anyone who plays the flute-like, melodic uilleann pipes (smaller cousin to bagpipes). Also, I seem to have caught on with the men-over-70 set; it’s something about the wig.

We visited several neolithic stone circles where I channeled my inner druid, and Hank caught a glimpse of his. One of my many favorite moments: standing in a cow pasture, all stillness but for a few songbirds, face to face with a 12th-century Celtic high cross. No bustle, no entrance fee. Just us and the ages.

Hats off to Hank, the safe and daring driver and taker of 900 pictures. And even more hats to Hank's parents, who held down the fort while we were gone (even though they're moving on Friday!).

Love to all,