Sunday, November 11, 2012


Let me tell you about my fears.  I used to fear silly things like blood draws and clowns.  Now I fear losing another person who I deeply love to a terminal illness.  I fear infertility.  I fear cancer recurrence. I fear dying before my son gets a chance to really know me.

Although I have tried to convince myself that everything is normal, the truth is that I have been having a difficult time these past couple of months. 

Over the summer, I successfully weaned myself off of all of the meds that I had been taking throughout my cancer treatments.  That was no easy feat.  I did this partly for myself, but mostly because I wanted to make sure that my body was as prepared as possible for a future baby (meaning: completely drug free).  I wanted to spend the next few months getting my body strong and healthy enough for another pregnancy.  We have been patiently waiting for the day when can finally add another little one to our family.  According to the doctors, it will be safe for us to get pregnant this upcoming spring, as I will be two years out from chemotherapy and it will be completely out of my system by then.  

I started to feel a little “off” around the time of Ryan’s birthday in September.  I had to really push myself each day to find the energy for things that I used to do easily.  I gained about 8 lbs, so I decided to try to start exercising regularly.  The problem was that I couldn’t even work out as much as I wanted to because I felt extremely tired all of the time.  Granted, I was trying to keep up with the never-ending workload of my grad school classes while packing Ryan’s social schedule full of activities, so I never actually took a moment to rest. 

We were caught off guard in October, finding out that I was pregnant for a couple of days and then immediately suffering an early miscarriage.  I know that it wasn’t the right time for us, but there was certainly a huge part of me that got my hopes up.  It felt too good to be true for something in life to actually happen easily (instead of having to worry about trying to get pregnant and fertility issues).  Of course, it was not meant to be.

The past two weeks, I have felt more fatigued and I lose my breath easily from just doing regular amounts of physical activity. I came down with a cold, so I figured that was the reason that I was so exhausted. But the cold is gone, and I have not improved.  I push myself each day to keep up with my responsibilities, trying to hide the fact that I can barely get Ryan in and out of his car seat without feeling short of breath.  I have sharp pains in my chest, lungs, and in my left shoulder/collarbone.  I also experience hot flashes and heat intolerance, which are probably long-term side effects of chemo.

I went in to see my oncologist and had a bunch of different scans/tests done, but all have turned up inconclusive.  Next on the list is a PET scan, which will determine whether or not the cancer has returned.

I am sure that whatever is causing all of this is something minor.  Maybe it is just stress, anxiety, and/or depression.  I have never had depression before, but I certainly feel less motivated to be active and do a million things.  I am sure that this will just resolve itself on its own, and everything will go back to normal soon. 

I still plan on having a long, happy life with my wonderful husband, complete with our dream of having three children.  Many people have grand, elaborate dreams and goals for their lives, but for me, as long as I am alive and have my husband and children, I will be the luckiest person in the world.  I will be eternally thankful if I can only have that blessing.

But for now, I will schedule that PET scan and keep everyone posted on how it goes. 

I am preparing myself for the worst but expecting the best.  Please keep me in your prayers this week and next.

Update: The results of my PET scan came back clear, as in: no cancer!  I am extremely grateful because it feels like I have been given a second and now a third chance at life.  I have never felt so appreciative of every single moment the way that I do now.  Now that we have ruled out cancer recurrence, whatever has been causing these odd symptoms will be minor in comparison, so I am not too concerned about them anymore.  They might very well just be the long-term effects of chemo that I will simply have to deal with. 

I am extremely blessed to be surrounded by the most sincere, supportive people in my life, and I just want to let you all know how much I love and treasure you!  (You know who you are, amazing family and friends!)


  1. Prayers, hugs, and warm fuzzies to you and your family.

  2. Dana, I am so sorry to hear about all of these challenges you have been facing recently! Please know that so many people who love you are constantly impressed by your unending strength and courage and believe you can handle anything the PET scan results throw at you, but we are all hoping for the best possible results. LOVE YOU!!!

  3. Lots and lots of prayers and happy thoughts your way. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings. I just love to read your blog - you really are an amazing example to me and a huge inspiration. Please keep us updated!

  4. Thank you all so much for the encouragement. My PET scan is scheduled for this Thursday, so I am hoping to know the results by Monday at the latest. xo

  5. Dana, I just found your blog yesterday and really appreciate everything you have shared. My sister is 39 and had a double mastectomy 4 weeks ago. She is stage 2, had two tumors and cancer in 3 lymph nodes in the right breast. We found out last week that the PET scan was clear. She gets her shunt on Friday and is starting chemo the week after Thanksgiving. She has the option of ACT or TAC chemo and is not sure which one to go with.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  6. So sorry to read about the extra stress you've been dealing with recently. I've been reading your blog for over a year and have never posted a reply but wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you today. Hope you get some reassuring news very soon!


  7. @Wendy- I am so very sorry to hear about your sister, but that is great news that her PET scan was clear. I had TAC chemo (Taxotere, Adriamycin, and Cytoxin) and it was tough, but seemed to do its job. Please let me know if you have any questions about it. I will keep your sister in my prayers.

    @Kirsten-Thank you so much for following my blog and for the thoughtful message! We have felt so relieved since finding out yesterday that I continue to be cancer-free! Hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. I hadn't been on your blog in so long, and I just saw these postings. I am so sorry I didn't know you were going through this recent scare but am incredibly happy to hear about your great PET scan results. I know we have talked about this a little, but I can certainly relate to some of the things you are experiencing now and am on my own quest to get back to feeling the way I did pre-chemo. Hope you had an a wonderful Thanksgiving with your beautiful family. - Jessica

  9. @Jessica- Thank you! It was certainly the best news that we could hear! Now, whatever turns out to be causing these symptoms will be minor by comparison.

    I hope that you are continuing to feel well and that you and your family also enjoyed your Thanksgiving!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...