Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Chemo Plan

My husband and I met with our Oncologist Monday, and I was surprised how much I was looking forward to the appointment!  I don't like not knowing what's next, and now we do...we will start Chemotherapy on Friday, January 20th.  I will continue to use "we," because it really is a team situation.  My husband and kids, my huge immediate family, my work family, and my wonderful network of friends are all going through this with me!  While I don't want any of them to suffer, I know they're there beside me in spirit, and I feel the strength.
        Now for the nasty news: because my tumor was "triple negative" for hormone receptors, it puts me in a more rare category for therapy (less than 15% of breast cancers are triple negative.)  They can't use tamoxifen or any of the hormone blocking chemos, so they are recommending two chemo cocktail options including Taxotere, Cytoxan, and possibly Adriamycin.  Adriamycin comes with elevated risks for a couple of scary long term things, so we are trying to decide if the risks outweigh the cancer killing benefits.  This is the same regimen recommended by the oncologist who met with us in the multidisciplinary clinic before the surgery.
For the record, my tumor was 1.3 centimeters (Stage one), two lymph nodes were clear, but grade 3 in invasiveness.  Add the triple negative fun factor, and they're going to use some "Badass" chemo to get it, no matter what.  Dr. Whisenant says I will lose my hair, and likely my eyebrows and eyelashes, but he says many women have been able to work through the fatigue, neuropathy and other side effects.
      My sister, Toni, went through chemo for a different kind of breast cancer three years ago, and she GAVE me her two wigs while we were home for Christmas.  (I say "gave" because I do not want it to be a "loan."  I don't want her to ever need them back!)  I am already working to find someone who can help me with natural looking eyelashes that I won't have to re-apply every day, and I'll have to practice my eyebrow artwork for a while.
The plan so far is four doses of chemo, one every three weeks.  We will meet with the doctor again next Monday, after picking the brains of many others, to make sure we're doing the right thing.  We also plan to shoot the first chemo treatment for a news story...gotta do it before my hair is gone!  I also think sharing the process helps me feel less helpless, if that makes sense.  I don't like waiting or not being able to do anything...so maybe talking about it publicly helps me feel like I'm doing something constructive.  Cancer survivors are "talking" with me, and maybe it's a bond that helps both of us get through it all.  I'm finding I have more friends than I ever imagined!

59 comments:

  1. You are awesome Mary and I wish you the best! Thank you for sharing with so many of us. Stay strong and you will be ok. Take care!

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  2. Good 'we' have a plan now, 'we' will kick that big 'C's' arse, let the hair go you are always going to be beautiful you!!!!

    Sounds like you need a party Mary and for those days you need a lil' lift I reccommend listening to this http://youtu.be/kqgUIKYVKmY
    Take a red solo cup on treatment days and fill it up :)

    We are with you!!!

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  3. Mary - I just read your latest post. You have EXACTLY the same situation that I had last year. Triple negative, stage 1, grade 3, negative lymph node (thank goodness!). My tumor was 11 cm and only 4 cm of that was the bad cancer. I also had 4 treatments. I did not use the Adriamycin. I wondered if you know what your vitamin D levels were when you were diagnosed? I was EXTREMLY deficient and there may be a correlation. Just curious. I haven't been able to stop thinking about you - I think because it is all still fresh to me and I do know exactly what you are feeling and what you will go through. (My husband is a radiologist and had to come home to tell me my diagnosis while I was 8 months pregnant with our 5th baby!) I'm happy to report that I have a full head of hair! and only lost about half of my eyebrows and lashes. You will be amazing and you will learn so much about yourself and those who love you. My deepest prayers and positive thoughts are with you and your family. I know you have an outpouring of support, but if you do want to talk to somebody who has been through it, I would love to talk with you.
    Much Love,
    Danae Shill
    faithofasunflower.blogspot.com
    P.s Sometimes I would turn on "I Love Lucy" to laugh. Laughing really does help!

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  4. Mary, so sorry to hear about all of this. There are some good organizations that help with make-up, etc and dealing with the hair loss.

    I did my treatment at the Utah Cancer Specialists group and they provided a lot of support and help that I had no idea was available. I'm hoping you find that same level of support.

    Like My Journey - I watched (and still watch) Friends reruns to help me laugh and take my mind off things.

    Best of luck to you and thank you for sharing.

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  5. Correction: 11mm and only 4mm bad cancer. Big difference!

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  6. Thank you for this blog. I will keep you tucked into my Good Night Prayers. Heck, make that all of my prayers.

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  7. When our little 18 month old grandaughter was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor back in 2008, I remember being so devastated and the fear I had of her going through chemo and radiation, but she was amazing through the whole process and such a trooper. I was also amazed and inspired by my daughter in law and how she jumped in with both feet in learning all she could about the medications and treatments they would be dealing with and the side effects. I stand in awe of her strength and courage as she helped her little girl survive cancer. Our little Caitlin was so brave and she is my hero. Your story inspires me Mary and I am glad you are sharing it with so many people. I have no doubt that you have saved many lives and will help so many other people who are dealing with similar situations. May God bless you with strength and comfort. My prayers to you and your family. We are all rooting for you! God Bless!

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  8. Mary
    My prayers are with you.

    I've found so few resources specific to Triple Negative breast cancer. In September 2011 I was diagnosed with a TN tumor 1.5 cm, Grade 2, node negative. Scary experience. I've had lumpectomy and radiation but no chemo due to a heart condition. Just had a cardiac ablation last week and hope that will fix the heart.

    Let us all live our lives to the fullest and enjoy each and every moment.
    KarenL

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  9. I wish you well, but please do not use this as a forum for all women to begin mammogram screening before age 50. This has become such a politically contentious issue, in part because radiologists have been pushing for earlier screening. (Gee, I wonder why?)

    There are risks that go with mammogram screening, including false positives that put women needlessly into surgery, which itself has risks. There is too much we do not know about medicine and we put too much faith in the medical profession.

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  10. Mary, my 31 year old daughter is currently going through treatment for Triple Neg. IDC. Her treatment sounds very similar to yours. A/C x4 every two weeks. 12 weeks of Taxotere. She has 4 Taxotere treatments left and then dbl. mastectomy. This regimen has worked very well for her. Yes,she has lost all of her hair but has managed very well with the wigs that we bought her. She is a single mother of 2 boys 8 and 6 and was let go from her job the day after being diagnosed. You will be doing a great service by reporting your story. My best to you! You can do this!

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  11. Mary , Leave it to you to plan the Chemo during the winter when everyone is wearing a hat anyway. I will reach out to my friends on the eyelash thing. I am thinking about you and saying my prayers.
    Tera

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  12. We triple negative survivors are an awesome bunch! You will do amazingly well through your treatments, you are strong.

    Thank you for the blog. I wish I had chronocled my journey.

    I hope you are asked to MC the Babe Golf Tournament again this year, it would be awesome to have you there as a cancer survivor.
    Two years ago I sat in the audience at lunch just a couple of days after my second treatment and was so greatful that you were there sharing your family's cancer story.

    I finished treatments a little over a year ago and have had four post-treatment haircuts!! I loved my wigs and had so much fun being creative with the scarves. (I kept just enough eyebrows that I didn't need them waxed, and had enough eyelashes that made mascara very effective!)

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing this journey. . Praying for a quick and complete recovery. Proverbs 3:5&6.

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  14. Mary, I too was a triple negative, but Stage II grade IV, with lymph node involvement. Tumor was only 1.3 cm, but was a fast grower! I did the Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxotere. Adriamycian is nasty stuff - they don't call it the "red devil" for nothing! But, 6 years later I'm still here and healthy.
    Have fun with the hair! I let my then-4 year old shave my head when it started to fall out, and wore scarves. No bad hair days! By the way - I didn't lose my eyelashes and eyebrows until after chemo was finished.
    I wish you all the best - you can kick this!

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  15. Hi Mary, I am so thankful you decided to blog about this life challenge you and your family are going through. I watch you every morning and I would be wondering every day what was going on, as if it was any of my business.

    My prayers are with you always I'm sending my strength your way!!

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  16. I stumbled across your blog through a news story and I wanted to send you some positive thoughts and strength. I, too, am battling breast cancer and while it's sometimes been a difficult and scary journey, I know I can win the fight!
    And you can too!
    http://storytobecontinued.blogspot.com

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    1. Hang in there! I just finished my chemo in October and my radiation in December. I hate to hear of others having to go through all of that, but I know you can do it. Find things to laugh at. I loved watching Don Knotts shows and Carol Burnett shows. They always helped me to laugh.

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  17. Mary,

    My prayers are with you. If I can do anything please let me know. I saw on Dr. Oz that women can now get permanent eyelashes that last for 4-6 months, but I don't remember what they are called. I think sharing your story is a wonderful thing to do. Wishing you the best!

    Annette

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  18. Hello,
    I have a question about your blog. Please email me!
    Thanks,
    David

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    1. Hey David- I tried to find your email, with no luck. I read every comment, but you can contact me-
      My email is Nicklemc@kutv2.com.

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  19. Mary, God bless you for being an active roll in activating thousands of others to get screened.

    I was diagnosed with stage 4 appendix cancer right before the Attorney General of Utah last year. I am on my second round of radiation and chemo.

    It's awe inspiring how many people have battled through and have contributed vital information to those of us still fighting.

    Strength and Comfort to you and your loved ones.

    Mitch

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  20. Mary thank you for sharing your journey, we are with you all the way. Your on our prayer list and we have a candle lit at St Johns. Fight Like A Girl, Godspeed jack and Cheryl

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  21. Mary- I love that you are approaching this journey with a smile, and a plan to kick some butt. You are amazing. Keep up the good fight. Sending positive thoughts your way!

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  22. Hey you, I met you once, when you came into my candy store. I was the one who liked the joke about cleaning moth balls! I was diagnosed with TNBC in May 2009, went through the same chemo with radiation on side and worked through it all, except for a few really tired days. I'm sending the good vibes your way, I know you'll beat it's ass!

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  23. Mary, I'm behind the times and just found out. You're a tough lady and I am happy to be able to call you my friend. You don't need hair to be beautiful. you've got that on the inside. Let me know if you need anything. I'm always good for a treat to make you feel better. Much love....Romina

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  24. Mary, A few years ago I had to have a lump removed from my breast. I had already gone through treatment for early stage three melanoma and was concerned. However, the lump had been there for a few years. I changed to an insurer who used Huntsman cancer and they don't mess with those things. So, I had my mammogram in the morning and they scheduled the removal in the afternoon.
    Anyway...in the meantime, I went home. My two teenage daughters insisted on going with me. I told them that wasn't necessary but they wouldn't take no for an answer! Having them there was a huge comfort...for all of us. The lump was benign. The experience reminded me that our family is on this journey together, as with all of the other life experiences. I will not underestimate the power of love, family and prayer again.
    Best wishes and prayers to you and your family!
    Terry Palmer

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  25. Mary, I have read your story and can I say what an inspiration you are? Putting your journey out there for others to read, what a selfless thing to do. Through the unknown, you are helping so many people, including inspiring myself! May GOD Bless you! You are truly special :)

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  26. I wish you courage, strength and peace in your battle against cancer. You will be the victor!

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  27. Mary, I was also Triple Negative and did the Cytoxan and Taxotere for chemo. Side effects were definitely manageable! I wish you the best on this journey!

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  28. The day I had my first chemo I asked the nurse when my hair would fall out and she said 17 days. I was so sure I would have "mind over matter" and that I would not let it fall out. Wrong!! On the 17 day it started slowing coming out. By the way, your hair hurts when it starts this process. Not your head, your hair. Five days after it started falling out, I had a buzz cut to look like GI Jane. That was Dec. 20 2002. My hair still hurt. On Jan 1, 2003 I had my husband shave it bald and then it quit hurting. I was on the same Chemo schedule you are on. My eyelashes and eyebrows didn't come out until a month after the last chemo treatment. Also, my toe nails were a little funky. It's nice not having to shave your legs however! You won't feel like eating, but please do by the 2nd day after chemo. You will feel better with something on your stomach. Don't eat anything you love during the first few days after Chemo because then you will hate them afterwards for a long time. Took me two years to eat toast again. Smells made me crazy and so I used no smell washing liquids and no perfume or aftershave for my husband! Please do not beat yourself up if you do not feel like cooking, or cleaning or doing things. There are some days just being able to open your eyes and look around will be all you can do. Accept! Your body will let you know what can be done or not. I know I felt like I had to be superwoman, but it didn't work out that way every day. I think I had the Adriamycin also. Keep on Keepin on! Laugh, Laugh, Laugh!!!!

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  29. I have a gift for you that you will want before you begin chemo - my mom wears her hat every day when she is not wearing a wig, and the other hats she has tried irritate her head...I sent you an email, but don't know if you have received it. I started making hats for cancer patients after my mom was diagnosed and loved hers for the comfort it provided. I would like to get one to you. I will be in the SLC area this weekend - 13th and 14th for club volleyball...hope I can either give it to you personally or mail it to you this week. I wish you all the luck and will keep you and your family in our prayers.
    Stephanie
    blog: stephs-time4achange.blogspot.com
    fb: there is a link on my blog...
    I need to update my blog, but some of my mom's cancer story is on there..I have pics of the hats on my fb page.

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  30. Thanks for the update! With your positive attitude, your cancer will be defeated! I would like to give you a little advice when you go and get your chemo. Make sure you drink LOTS of water during the treatment. I also ate popsicles and both of those things, I think, helped me handle not being so nauseous! Good luck and know LOTS of people are praying and rooting for a speedy recovery!

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  31. Mary, I commend you on sharing your story with all of your fans, family, friends, etc. I wish you nothing but the best of luck, I know in my heart, you will beat this and everything will be back to normal for you in no time. As you mentioned, with all the support you have behind you, you cannot go wrong, that is often times the best medicine when battling cancer. I am still going to say lots of prayers for you giving you more strength, (not that you need it since you already are strong) and your family as well. We all love you and are here for you!!!

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  32. You are so lucky you are catching it early. I was stage 3c with double positive. I had to have a full mastectomy with 18 lymphnodes all cancer. I also did neoadjuvant therapy where we had to shrink the tumor before surgery, with chemo first. At surgery it was 6cm. I can only imagine what it was before the chemo! I had the cytoxin and adriamycin for 4 rounds then taxol for 4 rounds. Not sure if the taxotere is like the taxol, but with taxol there was horrible bone pain. I had it every other week, so I am hoping with you that doing it every 3 weeks will help it be not so bad. Losing my hair was hard, but after I shaved it off, it felt very impowering! I thought about doing the lashes and eyebrows, but I felt so horrible that I didn't care. I really hope that you do better than I did. Good luck! Oh you will likely get mouth sores, for that I got eucalyptis oil and put on it, and it worked wonders! There are alot of side effects, but I have learned to just take it a day at a time, one thing at a time. I have never pushed myself so hard, but if I don't get up and going and push through the day then I just feel worse! You are in my thoughts and prayers and you can definitely do this! Just fight hard! I fought for my kids, I was determined I wasn't going to leave them without a mother! They are 10, 7 and 4 too young to have their mother gone! Hang in there!

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  33. Hi Mary, Sandy's advice is awesome. These were the sucky memory points I remember from my treatment 14 years ago.
    - Day 17 hair falls out
    - Day 21 bone marrow starts to re-grow white blood cells. Its an exhausting day. New medications may make it better. I stayed in bed mostly on these days and let my body heal itself
    - Keep mints and other flavors around to keep the metal taste out of your mouth
    - Your sense of smell becomes extra ordinary and smells can make you sick
    - Eye lashes and eyebrows never went away but they did become sparse
    - I only wore my wig on days I was cold. I wore my baldness as a sign of courage. Not wearing the wig also helped me remind myself I was sick and not a super woman. I also hating taking it off at night. It was like losing it again every day
    - Have a routine so that you have accomplishments for each day and at the end of each day you know you’ve come that much closer to being healthy
    - Laugh. See funny movies and comedies. Find joy in little things. Celebrate the strength your body is continuing to provide you with even during treatment. Treat yourself well

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  34. Mary -
    I'm praying for you. When my teenagers were little and we had just moved to Utah you were the friendly face that always smiled at me and I gathered encouragement that I would feel better soon, even when I didn't know or realize that I had friends. Know that hundreds of people are praying for you, and we love you. Thank you for being a source of eventual strength to me in those early days.
    Jill

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  35. My thought and prayers go out to you and your family. I was a stage 2b with 3 lymph nodes involved. I did the Red Devil and the cytoxen also. The only lasting effect is the numbness in my fingers that comes and goes. It has been three years and I feel better than ever. One day at a time! Praying for you sister!

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  36. I am yet another triple negative, and I didn't even know it was as rare as you told us, thank you for the info. Cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me, and you will find all the wonderful blessings that come from the CLARITY about life that comes from it. I have all my hair and energy back, and now I live life a lot differently, cherishing every DAY that I have. I am clear after 3 yrs and planning on a lot more. Our family loves you.
    Karen Esplin
    St George

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  37. Good luck with everything. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer August of 2010. After 8 chemo treatments and 28 radiation treatments, I am now cancer free. My hair is growing back and I feel better each day. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Fight like a girl.

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  38. Dear Mary,
    I would love for you to be part of our yoga wellness program. (A free program for cancer survivors, caregivers and loved ones)

    A Quality Life Community www.aqualitylife.org
    This program works with the WHOLE family.

    Much of my story is documented on my blog: http://revealinggrace.blogspot.com/
    We are having a retreat for cancer survivors Feb 3-5

    A family retreat is coming up later this year.
    Take care!
    Amy Conn

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  39. As a 2 time survivor it's nice to see you are doing it right....ask, ask, ask and be informed of treatment and options. I always asked the Dr. what was the worse case scenario so if it happened that way, I was prepared and if not, I felt SO blessed!! Know that many appreciate and enjoy your spirit in the mornings. Be a good girl and when your body screams for a rest - REST! Take Care!

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  40. Mary;
    I remember watching you before you had the twins and I have been a loyal fan from then on..Not to mention that you was my saving grace during my first pregnancy, I had severe depression and you was my morning, positive constant!! I was heart broken to hear of your news, however your spirit and attitude has left me amazed and inspired. You and your family are in my prayers and thoughts! You give so much of your time to others in the community, now it is time for you to take care of YOU!! makes me wonder how many Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Friends your story is going to save, you are the example of a "selfless act"

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  41. Mary,
    My name is Heather. I was diagnosed at age 38... March 2008 with TRIPLE NEGATIVE breast cancer. They figured I was about a stage 2 with stage 3 cells fast dividing cells. I did neoadjunct chemotherapy for 6 months (chemo first) then a lumpectomy with lymph node-ectomy and then radiation everyday for 3 months.

    Don't worry about the brows and lashes...they thin and are the last to fully go.
    You're hair takes about 2 weeks or less to start falling out. Chemo is a rollercoaster of side effects and sickness, but it WORKS!! I had 100% success to chemo (it shrunk my tumor to nothing and remaining tissue was neagative for carcinoma) Radiation is exhausting.

    I bet you are scared, and full of a plethora of emotions. Know that there are those of us, like myself, out there who have gone thru it, and routing for you and your success!! Thanks for making your journey public! It will help countless women and men to be an advocate for their own health and life ....and get a mammogram and aware or their own risks for breast cancer.

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  42. PS...I did have an axillary lymph node that swelled after my biopsy...that they also ended up biopsied and it was cancerous too. It, along with the rest of the nodes they removed after chemotherapy all tested negative for cancer-100% response.
    I have lasting nerve damage in hands and feet (tingly with tight joints) and my toe nails are jacked up. That's the taxotere. But it killed my cancer. I had dark circles under my eyes during during chemotherapy, other crazy side effects....but it killed my cancer. So chin up....you might have some challenges but you can do it....and it kills YOUR cancer!!

    On one little tid bit of a tip: chemotherapy is VERY caustic ....it causes some gastrointestinal distress. Get yourself some A+D diaper rash cream -er it may come in hand along with a bidet. You may have flame throwing diarrhea ...dr doesn't quite put it that way ....they just say a collective: nausea. Sorry. That might be TMI....just being HONEST.

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  43. Mary,
    Your sister Jean sent me this link. I was diagnosed about 2 years ago and have gone thru chemo/radiation. On the other side now and feeling great. You are so right that taking control of some part of this helps you feel better. I highly recommend that you add a naturopath oncologist to your team of doctors. They work with your medical oncologist and it will help greatly with your energy and some of the drug side affects. As far as the hair - it sucks but there are some benefits. Like you don't have to shave anywhere, easy to get ready in the morning, your hair (wig) always looks great. You are not a cancer victim, you are a cancer hostage!

    Kathy

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  44. 14 years ago (when my son was one) I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I did a lumpectomy, chemo (although my hair was really thin I never lost it all), and radiation. I felt like a cancer survivor.

    8 years ago during a routine mammogram Breast Cancer was found again (same location but thankfully it was DCIS). I knew that since I had already done radiation the only option was a mastectomy. I did immediate reconstruction (tram flap). The recovery was very hard but I had two small children (6 and 2 at the time) so I just had to get through it. I admit that I felt like a cancer victim.

    Last Halloween I felt a lump that was more than just scar tissue and I called and had my doctor schedule an ultrasound (after a while you just know what the next step is going to be). After I knew that I needed a biopsy I felt another lump (yes, this was on the mastectomy side--only I can get breast cancer where there is technically no breast). The pathology came back positive for invasive breast cancer (triple positive) on what turned out to be three different tumors. I started chemo on the 2nd of December and by the 22nd it was coming out so much that I had a shaving party. (Yes your head does hurt when the hair wants to come out-it is like you have worn a ponytail too long and when you take it out your head hurts). The great thing is that my brothers shaved their heads with me and my husband, son and nephews each got mohawks. I know that people don't watch me as much as I think they do but having my husband and son wearing a mohawk out in public really made it easier for me to venture out. (They looked so dumb that I KNOW people where watching them instead of me). I now feel like a cancer hostage (thank you yallpaint for that description).

    The great news is that I am a fighter and thank heavens there is something that can be done about this! How horrible to sit around and feel like it was out of your control. I have a week of bad days but then two weeks of pretty good. I will go in for my 3rd chemo (yay half way!) on the 20th but I will be done with chemo--I will have herceptin every 3 weeks for a full year--by this spring. I don't wish cancer on someone but really everyone has problems, my are just evident by my bald head right now.

    For me the best way to get through things is to be completely prepared. I asked everyone I could about HOW my hair was going to fall out and I received a different answer from everyone. It is all very personal. Thank you for sharing your story. My only advise is if something doesn't seem right or feel right to you then don't be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and even get another opinion.

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    1. I would like to say I made up the hostage descripton but I read it on the Silver Linings facebook page.

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  45. Mary,
    If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or fight like hell. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

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  46. Mary,
    I would like to thank you for helping me get through cancer treatment a year ago. The exercise specialist at Huntsman Cancer Center gave me a set of excises that I could do at home and I did them in the early mornings watching you and the channel 2 morning crew! You were exactly the right combination of fun and information. Exercise and laughter were 2 of my best tools for feeling good especially through chemo. Will keep you and your family in my prayers during this journey.

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  47. I am behind on getting my yearly Mammogram and plan to call next week to set up the appointment. Much love and prayers for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story and keeping us updated.

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  48. Hello Mary,

    We saw your story the other day and just wanted to "touch base" with you and wish you the very best in everything going forward.

    Thank you for showing such great courage and toughness to beat this thing. We are cheering you on! Please know that you are in our prayers and we miss seeing you, Kent, Makenzie and Zach on a regular basis through baseball. We really have some great memories together. Hang tough! We are thinking of you all the time and will continue to follow your progress.

    Chris, Terri and Tanner Thompson

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  49. My story is similar to yours. Dr. Whisenant is my oncologist as well but I don't start chemo until the 24th. I think half of the battle is having a positive attitude (although I may think differently when I am in the middle of the treatments). My word of advice to all women is to 1) get your annual mammogram, 2) do your monthly breast exam, and 3) LOOK AT YOUR BREASTS AND NOTICE ANYTHING THAT LOOKS UNUSUAL. I had had an exam 4 months earlier and my cancer was not found. Luckily, Dr. Rasmussen discovered mine. Good luck on your treatments. One suggestion to prevent mouth sours was to suck on ice while doing chemo and to rinse with Listerine afterwards.

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  50. Mary...I will keep you in my prayers!!! I'm also a breast cancer survivor of 25 plus years!!! You are a fighter and can do this you have so many fighting for you! Stay positive and laugh everyday laughter is a great healer.

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  51. Mary,
    I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). I had a 5% chance to survive. Here I am, 12+ years later, still in remission. I had a great team of doctors and a support system who were there all the way. After 2 years of chemo and recovery, I went back to work with a whole support system at work. I can joke now that the corporate office classified me as "long term disabled". That translate to "Not ever coming back to work" or simply "dying". My HR manager had a hard time explaining I was not dead, going to die but was back to work. Seems because of me, they changed their policy on how LTD was handled. Through my time in chemo, I lost all my hair except eye lashes. Keep up hope you may keep yours! Had Doctors and nurses who complained that I didn't "beep" enough while I was in the hospital but also was willing to joke and have fun as well. They became my second family. Mary, I tell you this because I was pragmatic about my situation. I may or may not have survived. But decided to just keep going as though this was just another part of my normal life. Even is your scared, just treat this and another thing in life. Be positive as you always are and show that to others. BTW ... You can sleep in the chemo chairs and they are very comfortable and show your baldness. You define you, not your hair! Hair or not, you will still be you. I found that out when a nurse who was around from day one told me I "looked better bald"! Made my day and kept me going. Your known friends and unknown friends are all here to support you and let you know, YOU ARE A SURVIVOR!

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  52. Mary,

    My cancer was triple negative, too. This March I am four years out. If you are seeing Dr. Johnathan Whisenant, he is my doctor, and you are in the most wonderful hands. He is thoughtful, smart, kind and has a natural way of calming me down. You are in my thoughts as you go through this sucky journey.

    Jannifer Young

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  53. Wow - you look great even in a surgical cap! You are such an inspiration. I hope never to get cancer but if I do I will be able to draw on your strength and your support system. It sounds awesome. Hugs to all of you..

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  54. I discovered your web site via Google while looking for a related subject, lucky for me your breast implants utah web site came up, its a great website. I have bookmarked it in my Google bookmarks. You really are a phenomenal person with a brilliant mind!

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  55. You are brave and you are really cute with no hair. I looked like an alien. I hated the wigs, and just quit wearing them. I just wore scarves. You are right about the long hair, you looked way stylin with the one that was to your chin. Please know you are in my prayers and I love your fighting spirit! Keep on keeping on!!!

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  56. You are so beautiful with or without your hair. Thanks for sharing, it means so much. I learned cancer not a respecter of persons. My daughter has breast cancer also. She has 5 children, home schools, and her "used to be husband" is in prison for bigomy. She is going threw a divorce now, so she has gone threw a lot even without this cancer. I'm amazed how strong she is, Thank Heavens for modern medicine, that she has been able to carry on her daily duties, and until you said you had cancer, I had no idea. You seem the same Mary on the news. Thanks for being strong, and also for being an example. Love to you and your family!

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