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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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20 12, 2016

Stronger Than Cancer Part 10: Houston, We Have NED

By | December 20th, 2016|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |16 Comments

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

And big news…I’m officially finished with chemo! And why? Because an awesome PET scan showed that I’m NED! Translation? No evidence of disease. No evidence of cancer. Or, in super medical terms, no hypermetabolic lesions
to suggest active metastatic disease.

Now, I do want to provide a disclaimer: no evidence of disease does not mean that I’m cancer free or that I’m cured. Metastatic breast cancer can be managed but it is not curable. Going back to the medical jargon from the PET scan, there is no “active metastatic disease”, emphasis on the word active. Cancer mets have a cunning ability to hide out and stay dormant. Until they are active and large enough, they won’t show up on scans. And they could show up next week…or next month…or next year…or years from now. Who knows…

That said, NED is probably the holy grail of metastatic breast cancer, the status that every patient

8 09, 2016

Stronger Than Cancer Part 9: A Day in the Life

By | September 8th, 2016|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |10 Comments

I’m not particularly great at taking photos but I do feel that a photo is worth a thousand words. With that in mind, I wanted to document what our day is like when I have a chemo treatment–a day that Hooman and I repeat every third Friday. So here we go…

laboratory at cleveland clinic

First stop is the laboratory where my I get my blood drawn and my port access prepared for an IV

IV Port access

This is what it looks like when my port is accessed and all taped up

appointment buzzer

Just like in a restaurant, every appointment has a buzzer

patients in waiting room

Blood pressure

16 06, 2016

Stronger Than Cancer: Part 8

By | June 16th, 2016|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |3 Comments

13320892_961944019552_2925306602276270488_oHello Again!

I’ve been quiet on the #strongerthancancer side of my blog mainly because the cancer side of my life has been “quiet”, so to speak. Tumors are stable, nothing new has popped up and for the most part, life with chemo has become routine.

On June 10th, I had chemo #11. Side effects can be difficult but have also become routine–I know what will happen when and how long it will last. It’s always the same old, same old of fatigue, muscle aches, metallic taste, sore throat, etc. The metallic taste has been sticking around longer these days but for the most part, major side effects resolve by day 5-6 post chemo.

3 03, 2016

Stronger Than Cancer Part 7: Movin’ On Like Justin Bieber

By | March 3rd, 2016|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |10 Comments

keep calm i'm moving on bannerI realize this post will not win me any friends but this needs to be said. I have hesitated putting this into words for a while but at the end of the day, those who stop talking to me after today are probably doing a crappy job of it to begin with.

Being diagnosed with cancer has made me realize how many truly great people there are out there–both people I’ve always considered friends and others who’ve come out of the woodwork to support us. I’ve been amazed by friends who flew across the country to visit; family members who’ve cooked for me and cleaned my house when I was unable to do so; co-workers who’ve covered for me while I recovered from chemo; and the list goes on. At the same time, this diagnosis

17 01, 2016

Stronger Than Cancer: Part 6

By | January 17th, 2016|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |9 Comments

friends in ohio cityHello! Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and watching plenty of football!

It’s hard to believe Christmas has come and gone and we’re now in 2016. Despite having chemo on December 23rd, I managed to power through, get all the gifts wrapped and enjoy a great dinner with family. I had a goal in mind and was not going to let something silly like chemo side effects stop me–mind over matter! My mother-in-law was also staying with us so it was nice to have someone around to help with the household stuff. OK…I did pay for it afterwards and came down with a cold that got better and then came back about a week ago, but I’ll take a cold if it means enjoying my favorite holidays and spending quality time with family and friends.

I sort of equate my energy

10 12, 2015

Stronger Than Cancer: Part 5

By | December 10th, 2015|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |10 Comments

hair lossHello All,

I’ve been meaning to write this 5th installment for a while now and tossing around ideas in my head but sometimes the various side effects just get the better of me. Sometimes lying in bed with a book is all I can muster the energy to do.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and was able to spend some quality time with family and friends. Unfortunately for me, my hair decided to pick Thanksgiving day to bid me adieu. The falling out process was very odd this time around–my hair detached itself from my scalp but instead of falling out, it just formed a big beehive at the back of my head. Thankfully, this allowed me to fashion it into some sort of a bun and make it through dinner before having my brother-in-law shave it all

18 11, 2015

Stronger Than Cancer: Part 4

By | November 18th, 2015|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |9 Comments

ocean waves french polynesia panorama tahiti sea_wallpaperswa.com_67

It’s been 2 weeks since I last posted and that’s because the first chemo session pretty much kicked my derriere. I am now 6 days out and am finally starting to feel semi-normal–even 50-60% normal would be an improvement at this point.

On Friday, the 13th (perfect day for chemo, right?), I had my first dose of Taxotere. Chemo days can be long and boring and I usually expect to spend anywhere from 2 to 8 hours at the cancer center. I arrived at Taussig around 8:30 am and had my port accessed for the first time. I was always fearful of having a port given the chance of infection, but it’s actually been a blessing in disguise–all it takes is 1 small needle prick (instead of 4-5 it usually takes phlebotomists /

6 11, 2015

Stronger Than Cancer: Part 3

By | November 6th, 2015|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |6 Comments

pink mohawkBefore I start…I’m thinking of doing something fun with my hair before it falls out. What does everyone think of the pink mohawk on the left?

Another week has gone by and I’m getting closer and closer to starting treatment–which is scary and assuring at the same time. My symptoms have been getting worse so I’m hoping the chemo will kick in fast and alleviate the upper abdominal pain and fullness I feel all the time now. It’s like the liver tumors are pressing on everything they can find and I can easily feel how enlarged my liver is by just pressing on my right side.

Last Friday, I had my port installed and although the stitches are incredibly itchy, it looks to be healing up fast. Whether it’s ready or not, it will be used next Friday for my

29 10, 2015

Stronger Than Cancer: Part 2

By | October 29th, 2015|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |10 Comments

flowers dog shapebouquet orange liliesflower bouquet

It’s only Thursday and this week has already been a whirlwind. Now that most of my tests and scans are done, a treatment plan is starting to come together. I am most comfortable when I know exactly what is happening, and have a plan and an end goal. So just the fact that we’re getting things done and moving towards a plan makes me feel sane.

So far this week:

  1. My PET scan did not show any bone mets (Me-1, Cancer-0).
  2. My HER2 results came back negative, which means I qualify for the trial (Me-2, Cancer-0).
  3. I made it through 3 weeks of a very low carb and a meat, fish, dairy, and processed sugar free diet.
  4. I had an
26 10, 2015

Stronger Than Cancer: Part 1

By | October 26th, 2015|Categories: #StrongerThanCancer|Tags: |10 Comments

700px-Rain_to_clear_skies_panorama

Since I started Luxury Reading in 2009, it has always been about books. Since my diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer (MBS) two weeks ago, this blog – by default – will also become my avenue for chronicling my journey and updating others on my treatment (running two blogs was a daunting prospect!)

My husband and I love hearing from everyone by phone or through text messages but relaying the same diagnosis and treatment information to everyone can be a bit overwhelming. We will do our best to post the nitty-gritty details here and would love to chat to you about anything else!

Then

As some of you know, I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2012 at the age of 28. I tested negative for BRCA1 and BRCA 2 (breast cancer genes) and have no direct family history of breast cancer. At that