navy beans is in the stable, results are in….

Those who graciously follow my story, this blog, know that recently I had my latest scans.  Before my “cancer-cation”, I spent the day at the cancer care center soaking in some radioactive juices and then soaked in some saline fluids to wash away those juices, and boost up my blood pressure which continues to be as low as those pesky mosquitos.  Anyway, it was nice to actually have all of that time to sit and reflect on how much support we have had during this odd stage in our lives.  Thank you all for the comments and reactions to my blog entries, and if I haven’t replied to them all, it is merely due to chemo brain or tired nights, but the words of encouragement are more than appreciated!

I had begun a new course of treatment about 7 weeks ago, Navelbine…Navy Beans.  After an allergy to the Taxol, we had to go through the experimental process of which drug to try next, navy beans won out.  The side effects have continued to lessen and my quality of life has vastly improved, aside from my colds, I have really been feeling so much better, lots more energy; sometimes I can even keep up with my little one! So the prayer was that I can stay on this drug, and that prayer was answered for now…and hopefully until we reach remission.

The results weren’t astounding to be honest with you….there was no change in tumor sizes.  I was disappointed and honestly a bit fearful of the what if’s, however, as I have written, as my best girlfriends says “slow and steady wins the race”.  The doctor is positive that this treatment is working and that we just need to give it more time.  He feels stable is a good thing, considering how fast this cancer was originally moving.  He was very happy that we saw no growth and feels that I am doing really well. I continue to feel truly blessed to have great care, a great community, and feel good about this next phase of treatment.  I am still going with my mantra of decades to live and the hope that we can hit this cancer bug into remission soon!  So let’s continue with the ‘Go Navy Beans!’ fight song.


Sent from my chemo jail…

Excuse the typos as I’m writing with half a brain due to the concoctions scientists devise. My chemo brain has a film of grease, a layer of cloudy with a chance of hairballs. Excuse the dark wit as I am writing you from chemo jail. It’s sunny outside and 73 degrees. This is April in Seattle so….I’m going a bit crazy in here.

Post chemo jail, my mind will be fuzzy and I might even walk like a drunken sailor, but it’s four blocks to my mom’s apartment, and sunny, so I am walking.

Walking in a fog, feeling hungover, even on this easier treatment I wonder how people go shopping, run errands or really, carry a conversation after chemo. I overhear all of these grand plans in the chairs next to me but I’ve never felt the reality that some of you feel. Seriously? You really go grocery shopping and cook dinner after chemo? I can barely eat dinner! This must be a front, I always think to myself. Today I got to walk to and from chemo in the glorious sunshine and that was a pure gift. My 15 month old escorted me, with his Nonna, another lovely gift. Still, I am fogged over and warning those who received email or read this that it has been sent from my chemo jail…I really should change the sign off tag on my iPad.

“tonight i can write…”


“tonight i can write…”   (title inspired by a Neruda poem title)

Absent spring, absent with this spring, I was hiding. I finally have embraced spring, the newness upon us, this new drug, feeling good, finally weather to take a sweater off to…and finally a rebirth, a change.  Yet with trepidation of moving forward to this unknown, I was holding onto the feelings of a cloudy day.  I was absent from here, from me. Quiet inside.  But then, tonight I can write.

We spent the last few days enjoying peace and sunshine at the ocean here in the Pacific Northwest. Mountains gleam with winter’s snow in spring. There is so much to love about this typically cloudy locale when we are blessed with these days. I was reluctant to let myself enjoy feeling good, looking better, and the brightness in the sky. I was being cautious of the benefits of navy bean and it’s minimal side effects, as it is still an unknown cure for me. How very Italian Martyr of me, as if I “should” be feeling worse because I was miserable for so long.  The shoulds can really kill us sometimes. My husband clarified things for me by advising that well, if navy bean isn’t working, these weeks of feeling good would be wasted with my reluctance to enjoy it, and if it is working, then I have a head start of knowing what living  with this cancer drug will feel like. It was such a simple thought.  Later, I stared at my husband carrying our sweet son to the ocean, sun shining, waves crashing and realized that I wasn’t tired, I was hungry, and had just walked a good length.  I can now be present with spring, this new phase and continue to move forward towards the mantra of decades, of prayers for remission and hopes that navy bean is the drug of choice until this beast is bested.

No longer an absent spring I see.  Reviving my spirit to delight in the days of feeling good, even if the clouds roll in, I will awaken the positivity again of which I was reluctant to enjoy.  No longer an absent spring because tonight, I can write.

Good Luck Navy Bean….

Navelbine really. I have a new chemo drug that I began this past Monday. It’s widely referred to as navy bean so says the nurses, and it just really does sound like navy bean! The side effects thus far have been pretty mellow, much more tame than my taxed, stripped & fucked cocktail. The protocol will be Navelbine, Herceptin, & Zometa. I get one week a month off! Lucky me.

I have been in a quiet space with this change because quite honestly I am nervous; I need this to work really well. After seven straight months of working the “say-no-to-cancer” angle and fighting the good fight, I had gotten a bit weary. Much of it was due to Tykerb hell, Taxol allergy, and shear exhaustion. My positivity was getting lost a bit, and the latest scans did not show shrinkage, no growth but no shrinkage. It is/was time to move to a different treatment and that is scary.

I have a good feeling about navy bean, because I feel pretty decent and that is what I need to keep my positivity up, which I firmly believe assists in this process. I am determined to win this little war inside my body, but after seven months of slow changes I am wanting a push. I am wanting the battles to gain ground and have my liver feel normal, my bones less creaky.

My doc won’t give me an end date to chemo jail but I am wishing and meditating to be finished by August. I, honestly, think this is an unrealistic goal considering how advanced this shit is, but hey what about this thing called cancer is realistic? Half the people I communicate with in this cancer community seem to be people this theoretically shouldn’t be happening to….but the ‘shoulds & whys’ don’t apply when life is on the line. We all live, breathe, and walk certain lines, some of us luckier than others, some of us more determined than others, some with love and life and death all mixed within. So when meditating on completion of my stint in chemo jail, I allow myself some wishful thinking, instead of why me’s, how about why not me? I get to best this beast into remission right, all by the end of this summer, right? Good luck navy beans, we have a race to win.