Three Month Scan – Round 3 ✔️

Gosh, it has been awhile since I have written a blog post. So much has been going on in my life personally along with the world. We are all in this together!

This quarantine/shelter in place situation hits home with how my cancer life was once upon a time. In away, my cancer life prepared me to be able to deal and cope with this crazy time being at home 24/7 and being careful going out when needing. But, I am getting stir crazy just like everyone else. There were many times I had to cancel plans, not be able to be apart of things, and be careful with who I could be around because of my immune system being compromised. Thank goodness, I am healthy during this time and I am so blessed I am where I am at in life. The huge difference between what I went through while battling cancer to now, EVERYONE is going through this. Dealing with cancer, you feel so alone and so isolated. For me, I searched for those individuals who I can truly relate to while I battled something so traumatizing and life changing. During this quarantine time, we all are trying our best to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy by staying in as much as possible. During this time, we all are in the same boat and in this together.

After two years, I officially returned to work in March. I had all sorts of feels when I entered through those doors. I did not think I would go from being back in the office to working from home within days but it happened. After two days in the office not even feeling comfortable one bit, it was back home I go. I am very lucky to be employed and to be able to work from home! But, getting back in the swing of things has been overwhelming and difficult to say the least. Life after cancer is challenging. Even though I did this job for three year prior to being diagnosed and going on long-term, it feels like I am learning a new job all over again and learning it somewhat on my own. Not being able to physically ask my manager or coworkers for help or clarification is difficult. All I can do is do the best I can in this situation. Taking it day by day. I mean, I haven’t worked in two years and all I focused on during that time was saving my life and doing what I can to survive. As the days do go on with working from home, I am feeling more confident and more comfortable with what I am doing. It will take time to get my feet under me again but I am learning that is okay.

Fast forward to last Monday, May 10th, I had my 3rd three month CT scan to see where things are at. Friday, May 15th I officially got the news from my oncologist that I am in REMISSION. Good things are happening durning this weird time we are all in. So much happiness filled that room and I could not believe that word came out of my oncologist’s mouth. He told me I am his miracle patient and it is truly a miracle that I am in the position I am in. Cancer fucking sucks! I kicked its ass though and it feels so good! I have officially been in remission since my last chemo which was May 24, 2019. So – I am so excited to type this out for you all to read, I have been in remission for ONE year. Four more years, I will be able to hear the words, “Audrey you are cured of cancer”. Without a doubt, I know I will get there. I did not come this far to not get to that point in my cancer journey. So – it will happen!

My CT scan will now be every six months verses three months. It’s so exciting to have these types of appointments get pushed out more and more. It is quite an accomplishment and it is time to fully focus on living life. Plus, have a huge celebration as soon as it mellows out! It is also official that Betty the port needs to get out. I have talked about how much I enjoy having my port and how great it has been to have her. She has saved my veins on so many levels. However, it is time to take her out and that will be happening very soon. She is not needed anymore. I will say, it is bitter sweet. Although, at the same time it is the last thing for me to do to be able to move on with my life that does not involve cancer anymore.

No matter what, I will have in the back of my mind those ill feelings that something can happen. I battled stage IV metastatic colon cancer and I have lynch syndrome. It is scary to think something can happen later on in life. HOWEVER, it is truly time for me to enjoy my non cancer life and focus on all the good. Life is truly amazing and I am a cancer survivor who is officially in remission!

There is a list of people I would love to thank for all their support, love, and encouragement through the last couple of years as I battled cancer. You know who you are! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog and who have followed my journey from day one. It is truly a miracle to be where I am at. It feels so amazing! In a crazy way, I want to also thank cancer for showing me that I can handle anything that comes in my way and for showing me how strong of a women I am. Cancer has nothing on me!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey

Three Month Scan – Round 2 ✔️

I had my 2nd three month scan February 3rd and on February 14th, I FINALLY received the news. It was a longer wait than I had hoped for to get the results back. My oncologist was out of town and I figured with not hearing anything from his back up, no news was good news! And, it sure was!!! My scans and bloodwork came back all clear and nothing concerning or unusual came up. Lots of big smiles in that room that day, even some watery eyes! My oncologist literally said, “this is truly a miracle”. Never did we think I would be where I am at today, but look at me now and it feels so damn good. Two rounds of three month scans under my belt and all is still good! Life is good!

Moving forward, I have one more three month scan scheduled. If all goes well with that follow-up (it will), my oncologist at that time will spread out the scans to every six months. WOW – that is so insane to have heard that and to type it out for myself and everyone to read. For two years of my life I was visiting the hospital so much it truly became my second home. Now, I am rarely there and it feels so good because there is no reason for me to be there anymore. It is truly a blessing!

Another big change is coming up for me, I was officially cleared to return to work. I will start out part-time to easy into it. I do not want to overwhelm myself and I am blessed to have the opportunity to start back part-time. I am nervous and have some concurs with how it all will go. I’ve been out of work for awhile and things have changed for sure throughout the last two years. However, I am sure it will be much easier to handle than battling for my life. I am looking forward to getting back into a “normal routine” for a change and not have medical stuff to worry about. I have been so focused on saving my life the last few years, I did not have the strength or the ability to focus on anything else. Now, with cancer behind me, I can focus on my life again and what I truly want in life!

It is still so surreal that I am a cancer survivor. It is quite the accomplishment and such a huge victory to be where I am at in my life today! I will always look back on the last two years of my life and be blown away from what all I went through. I still take a moment to process all that has happened to my life, what all I went through physically and mentally, and how I have overcome cancer and the challenges that come with it. Cancer did not win and will never have an opportunity to win. I am the winner in my book!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey

The Survival Process

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

With being a few months post operation and the outcome of that, I am still in shock with where I am at in life right now. Truly enjoying life! I still catch myself thinking if this is really happening, that I am a cancer survivor or is this still a dream. Regardless, it is a blessing where I am at in my journey and in life. Getting out there and living life the last handful of months has truly been the best. Traveling and getting out there has made me feel so alive. It has been so good not to have any worry going on in my head about health related things and it has been feeling so good to just be living! I truly have so much to be thankful for. Two years of my life I was so focused on saving it on top of grieving the loss of my dad and what I needed to do to stay alive as long as I could. I wanted to kick cancers ass so bad. I wanted to hear the words NED and that you are a survivor so bad. I wasn’t sure if that was even an option for me then because in all honesty, it wasn’t. As the time went on, I started to realize my life moving forward was about cancer and what I needed to do to stay alive. I thought I will never really enjoy life again as a “normal” person because I would be living life trying to stay alive and to feel good when I could. Now, I have done just that! I am living life and enjoying it because I have kicked cancers ass. This time last year, I was in the darkest place I have ever been in my life and in my cancer life. Very depressed and I never have felt that before. I felt very alone. I didn’t know how to handle it or deal with what was going on. I needed help. Even to this day, I cannot believe I am where I am at in life and that I came out on top! I was dealing with a very scary side effect from the immunotherapy I was on at the time and on a medication that really flipped my world for the worse. Although, that time also brought out a lot of truth that I was holding in for so long. I didn’t hold anything back or hold my true feeling in anymore. I guess you can say I had diarrhea of the mouth! From then to now, I have worked on finding me again, finding my place in this world, and finding my voice. Being true to myself 100% and living life how I want to, not how others wanted me too. I am learning to not worry about what others think and just speaking my truth. Regardless, it is about me and only me! There for sure has been major ups and downs and a lot of learning on the way. I am sure I will never stop learning about life and I am totally okay with that. I know I am doing a great job with dealing with it all. I mean, the last two years I have gone through a lot of shit. Cancer sucks on so many levels. Right now, I’ve been taking time to find who I truly am as a women, as a cancer survivor, and finding out what my wants and needs are. Learning how to live life how I want to and do it with the people who I truly want to share it with.

Life with cancer and life after cancer is difficult. Life after cancer, you are finding your “new” identity, who you are as a person that isn’t fighting for their life, where you belong and don’t belong, and you find those individuals who truly are there for you through it all. People have come and gone in my life. I have learned the real truth about some individuals in my life that I may have never really learned until I was diagnosed. I have learned there are certain individuals who are meant to only be in your life during a period of time and that is okay. I am living life again and damn does it feel good! I do not have countless doctors appointments like it was for me the last two years, but I do have some to make sure the cancer stays far away. I still have that thought in the back of my mind that my cancer can come back because honestly, it very well could. BUT, I try to focus on what is going on now which is, I am NED and that I am a cancer survivor. However, that will always be in the back of my mind. Unfortunately, there is no switch you can turn off in your brain to never think I wont have cancer again, because I could. Right now, I am a survivor living life one day at a time, enjoying every moment, surrounding myself with the people who matter most to me, and who encourage me to be the best version of the “new” me. This isn’t easy or a walk in the park. It is scary, challenging, emotional on every level, and it is so very frightening. That is life though, especially when you are hit with the cancer card.

With the season of life I am in, figuring out this “new life” of mine, you do realize a lot about yourself, the people in your life, and about life in general. For me, I have realized and learned about the individuals who will always have my back, who I can always lean on, who has my best interest, who always are there for me no matter what, who always truly wants to know how I am doing or handling things, and who are always there for me no matter what changes occur. When I was first diagnosed, I had people who I haven’t talked to in years all of a sudden pop up in my life once I was diagnosed. Some of those individuals still have kept in touch and to me, that means so much, but some have drifted away. It does make me think if those individuals really only reached out because I had cancer. It does happen. If I never did have cancer, I don’t know if those individuals and I would have ever talked again. Who really knows! Who really cares! I have learned about some individuals who I thought were a huge part of my life for a long time and who I thought would be there for me through everthing have drifted away. Some of those individuals I still do not talk to to this day and some I have slowly started talking to again. I have also learned that there are individuals that have come into my life that I have realized are only meant to be in my life for a period of time. For a season of life. I am learning that all of this is okay. Regardless, I have learned that I am the most important person to myself and in my life. I have learned that those individuals who have been there for me through it all and have never drifted away are my true cheerleaders. Even now that I am a cancer survivor, I am learning about individuals who were involved in my cancer life quite a bit aren’t so much involved in my life now that I kicked cancers ass. It’s very interesting how life works and how the different seasons of life with cancer or not with cancer can change.

It is interesting how people can come and go in ones life though. I recently got together with a friend and we talked about this. We have different stories as to how this relates to our lives, yet we both understood the feeling. She dealt with a divorce and realized because of that, certain people drifted away and people who she thought were solid people in her life were no longer that anymore. My situation is that I had cancer, not a divorce, but I sure can relate to my friend on this 100%. It is sad and almost heartbreaking to think when something traumatizing happens in your life, people who you thought were always there for you could easily one day not be. However, I am truly learning in this new life of mine, that is life and people will come and go, but the true solid people will always stay around.

Life after cancer, there is so much learning to do! Lots of ups and downs. It’s more challenging mentally than physically whereas fighting cancer is both physically and mentally challenging to the extreme. It has been interesting, emotional, but very rewarding in some crazy way. Be brave has been my motto from day one and will continue to be my motto the rest of my life. Thanks to my oldest niece! If I ever forget that, I have my wrist to remind me because it is permanently on my body now. I am taking one day at a time along with enjoying every moment. I will soon return to work and honestly, I am looking forward to that. A part of me is freaking out I’ll be honest because it has been awhile, but I am looking forward to finding my “new normal” again. Get back into a more normal routine that does not consist of going to the hospital every other week for treatment and dealing with the nasty side effects. I will still always worry about the cancer I once had because I will be going in every three month to make sure nothing has changed, but so far, nothing has and I am still living that NED life. I know though every time I go in for a scan/bloodwork to make sure all is well, I will have anxiety also know as scanxiety. It is just the name of the game as you are waiting for those results and that call from your doctor hoping for the best news, but a part of you does think the worse regardless because we are human. Plus, that is all I have known the last two years of my life is cancer and how shitty it is. Right now though, I will continue to enjoy life and continue doing what is best and right for me. You are your biggest advocate!

It sure feels really good to enjoy the holiday season this year and do the things I truly enjoy during this time! I hope you all have an amazing holiday season and I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for a new year and a new decade. Bring on 2020!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey

P.S.

I have received questions about keeping my port or not. I do have a choice to keep it in or get it removed. It does seem like once someone goes from being a “cancer patients” to a “cancer survivors” living that NED life, that is usually the step to take. To take out that port. Some see it as a negative reminder of what they have been through and want it out immediately. Or it’s annoying to have it in. I totally respect that because it so can. For me, it has become a part of me. I’ve had this port named Betty for the last two years of my life. It has saved my veins and as stubborn as Betty is, she has been the best. No issues and no problems have occurred. (Knock on wood) With that being said, I see my port as a positive thing in my body and something that has helped me in so many ways. I am actually not ready to say goodbye to her! I am all about using my port for everything and for me it’s quick and painless. No bruising involved. I am also not the biggest fan of getting poked in my arms and having my blood draw the “normal way”. So – for me, my port experience has been something I have not taken for granite. I am not sure how long I will keep it in for, but right now, it’s staying! With keeping it in, I do have to get is flushed every 4-6 weeks regardless to make sure there are no issues along with no blockage going on. I have no problem keep up with flush appointments because I also enjoy seeing the people in the office as well.

So to me, it’s a win win!

What’s Been Happening…

If you were to asking me a year ago if I would be where I am today in my cancer life, I would have said hell no. No way in hell I would be considered NED (no evidence of disease). I had a hard time thinking I would come out ahead in this journey. That I would beat my cancer. The last 2 years of dealing with cancer, I have always felt that huge question mark if I would come out as a survivor. I was dealing with metastatic colon cancer and had no idea where my life was going. For me, it was all about survival and surviving as long as I could. I was learning how to deal with my cancer and learning that cancer was my life. Now, I am learning how to thrive because I am a metastatic colon cancer SURVIVOR. WTF! It still is a shock for me to think about and wrap my head around it all. Honestly, I did not know I would have ever gotten to this point in my cancer life. No one did…even my oncologist. I am learning that I am truly a walking miracle! Saying that just gives me chills and tears in my eyes. Being a cancer patient isn’t my life anymore. I am no longer a cancer patient!

Knowing that I am NED (no evidence of disease) blows my mind, blows a lot of minds to those who have been going through this life with me. But, finding this “new” life after cancer is no walk in the park. It is not easy one bit. It is difficult and challenging. I am not only figuring out this survivor life and how it will look like moving forward in a different direction, but I am also figuring out this surgically induced menopause life and who I am as a 29 year old woman. I am working on finding my place again. It is tough, it is emotional, and it is a rollercoaster in itself. I feel like I am starting my life over and figuring out how to stand on my own two feet again. Some people may say this is so exciting for you Audrey – you get to start fresh! Don’t get me wrong, it truly is, but when all you knew the last 2 years was being a cancer patient and dealing with all the shit that comes with it and not knowing if you would make it – this “new” life is scary and nerve racking. It is a work in progress for me, but if I can deal with battling cancer the last 2-ish years – I can deal with finding my “new” place in life. Baby steps!

The update – This past Wednesday, I had a CT scan and bloodwork done so we have a baseline moving forward in this thriving “normal” life of mine. Also, to have something to go off of for my future follow-ups to make sure this cancer is staying far away and NEVER returning. Today (Nov. 15th), I went in to meet with my oncologist to get the results. And – all came back amazing. All good news! My bloodwork is looking great and my CT scan results showed NOTHING concerning. My weight is improving and my incision is healing well. My oncologist was very happy with how everything looked! Big smiles all around in that room today. My oncologist said it again, I am a anomaly when it comes to the stage of the cancer I had which is so true. I never liked to play things safe anyways! For the next year, I will be going in every 3 months for bloodwork and a CT scan. If something strange shows up, I will have a biopsy to figure out what is going on. If everything comes back amazing every 3 months for a year, I will then move to just having frequent bloodwork done and my CT scan schedule will be more spaced out. That plan will go on for a couple years. So – for the next several years of my life, I will be monitored in some way! It is very crazy for me to write this and let you all know this is my plan moving forward. It is insane and as much as I am nervous, scared, and emotional – I am so ready for my next chapter of life being NED!

To top it off, this was a great start to my vacation! After battling cancer the last 2 years of my life and grieving the loss of my dad as well, I am going on my first big vacation with a great friend to Arizona. I will be enjoying the sunshine, the warm weather, sipping tasty drinks beside the pool, and seeing some friends who I have not seeing in a very long time. I am so ready for this! I am so ready to live life again!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey   

S.H.O.C.K.E.D. – O.V.E.R.W.H.E.L.M.E.D. – B.L.E.S.S.E.D.

FYI – I have lots to share and open up with you all! So – bare with me because my mind is a little all over the place.

To think your life can change in a blink of an eye is surreal. It can change when you least expect it. This most resent surgery I just had, I did not really know what I would be waking up to. My surgeons and oncologist did not really know either. There was a lot of unknowns, but I knew regardless I was going to have a hysterectomy no matter what and hopefully kill whatever remaining cancer was living inside of me. Everything else was up in the air until I was placed on that table and cut open.

A lot of processing has been going on in my brain of mine. Mostly, I have been thinking about what all has happened in my life within the last month and even within the last 2 years. Let me just say, I have been through A LOT. Mentally, I have been through so much in my life and especially during this cancer life of mine.

As I reflecting over the last 2 years of my life, it is overwhelming to say the least. I have gone through so much trail and error with saving my life along with lots of ups and a lot of downs. It is hard to wrap my head around it all sometimes. Being told my appendix needed to come out ASAP in August of 2017 to hearing my appendix was fine to hearing I have cancer instead at age 26 blew my mind. Blew everyone’s mind. I didn’t really know what to think, but I knew I needed to fight to live and fight like my mom did when she battled ovarian cancer several years ago. My life sure has changed in the last 2 years – extreme changes to my body, changes mentally and physically, and changes in relationships with certain individuals who have come and gone in my life. That is what the cancer life is about – so many changes can happen with so many different things. You find out who your true cheerleaders are and who really stick by you through everything because it is not just about appointments and treatments, it is also about the mental side of it, living life to the fullest, and enjoying the good times you have. I have really learned you are your most important person in your life. Take care of yourself and do what is best for you and only you. I have truly learned who I am as an individual and what I am capable of, which is so much! And it is okay to really put yourself first. Testing your limits, but not pushing it too much is important because even with cancer, you still should live life. Know your body and know you cannot do everything and that is okay because eventually you will. The cancer life is hell though and can be such a rollercoaster and such an unknown. You can never get too comfortable in this life. A lot has changed for me. I have learned so much about myself and cancer has truly helped me find my voice. It has helped me realize what all I am capable of and how I want my life to be. Many feeling run through my head as I think about how big cancer was and still is a HUGE part of my life. The last 2 years I have been “the cancer patient” and some of it seems to be such a blur, but some of it I think to myself WTF did I go through the last couple of years. When going through treatment, you are so preoccupied with your medications, appointments, treatments, diet, etc that you don’t have time to mentally internalize and process anything else. That is your life. I am beyond proud of how far I have come and excited to see where this “new life” will take me. I would be lying to you all if I said, I wasn’t nervous or scared of what there is to come for me – I am excited though, but I am freaking out!

What did all happen in my life the last 2 years? Well, I have been battling Stage 4 Metastatic Colon Cancer. Way too many different chemo treatments along with immunotherapy along with so many CT scans along with so many blood draws and a couple big surgeries in between. This cancer life sure flipped my world. However, I wasn’t just dealing with being diagnosed with cancer and fighting for my life, I was also grieving a huge loss as well. A few weeks after being diagnosed and having my first big surgery, my dad passed unexpectedly and that was difficult in itself. My dad was my buddy and my rock. I was thrown the cancer card and was also grieving the loss of my dad who passed way too soon. Although, I know my dad has been by my side this who time. I mean my huge surgery I just had happened on the day my dad passed 2 years ago. Crazy how things all work out in the end!

I am overwhelmed with so much to be grateful for. The team of cheerleaders I have in my life help keep me going and I cannot thank them enough. Specially, my wonderful team at Evergreen, my amazing oncologist, and my amazing surgeons – they are all amazing and helped save my life. My body and mind not only has gone through so much the last 2 years battle Stage 4 Metastatic Colon Cancer, but this last month was sure a whirlwind of emotions and craziness. A rollercoaster of a lot of downs in the beginning when I got released from the hospital. Weeks of not able to keep anything down not even fluids were sticking. Constant vomiting was happening. Major weight loss. A couple ER visits with results coming back normal, but no answers as to why I cannot keep things down. One of my surgeon’s said, “This is very unusual and out of the norm”. That was reassuring, but story of my life. I was so dehydrated and malnourished that something needed to change. I contacted my oncologist because I wasn’t improving and he immediately got me on daily fluids. So – since Wednesday September 25th, I have been going in for 2 hours to get fluids/potassium and will continue to do that until the 14th of October. It has helped so much and as of last Thursday, I have been able to eat and keep it done. Gosh it feels so good to EAT and not vomit.

I was so weak and completely not myself. Getting up out of bed was difficult and having conversations with people was exhausting. I ignored a lot of phone calls and text messages. I did not have the energy to explain or just talk. On top of that, surgically induced menopause at age 29 is difficult and I am keeping my true feelings PG-13 because it SUCKS and I know I have a lot to go through during this time of adjusting. It is hard. I have already had moments of feeling really down and depressed that I went through the hysterectomy portion of the surgery, but I know it was the right thing to do. My oncologist, surgeons, and cheerleaders have reassured me it was the right decision. The crazy hormone changes suck though. Between you and I, it has been hard to wrap my head around it all. It is a huge change to go through and a huge adjustment. But, I know by doing that, I have prolonged my life. The other side of the surgery which included the HIPEC did NOT happen. It was not needed!!! That was so exciting hear, but shocking! Every piece my surgeon removed to test or send off for biopsy came back either benign or endometriosis. The endometriosis shocked us all because we didn’t know that was what was in me. We thought it was just built up tissue, but it wasn’t. They removed all the endometriosis along with getting the whole hysterectomy done. The best part, there was no cancer to remove! Shocked us all. Shocked my team. But, thank you God!

THE CRAZY AND EXCITING PART OF THIS ALL – I never thought I would hear the words in my cancer journey, NED (no evidence of disease) because of the type of cancer I have. Prior to starting immunotherapy, there was a lot of worry going on as to what could happen to me. My oncologist was concerned. But, seeing my oncologist last Friday, he told me I am not go back on any treatment plan and I am considered NED. WHAT? Big smiles on our faces for sure that day. On mine for sure! I am thrilled and filled with so much joy, but I also do not know how to really react or what to really think. For the last 2 years of my life all I have been focusing on is saving my life and being a cancer patient. Countless doctors appointments, infusions, surgeries, medications, blood draws, shitty side effects…the list is endless when you are considered a cancer patient. I have been doing all I can to stay alive and hopefully kill this cancer. NOW I AM NED! My journey is far from being over. Endless check-ups will continue for me every 3 months to make sure this nasty disease doesn’t return, but in all honesty – it very well could. I am just throwing that out there. Cancer is a nasty thing, but right now I am flourishing. Just not exactly sure how that will play out quite yet. We will see and I am looking forward to what this “new life” will be about.

I do what to be clear up for those who may not know the cancer lingo, I am not in the “clear” yet, meaning I am not considered in remission or cured from cancer. I am considered NED which is so freaken fantastic! I will take this news any day. I am shocked…my care team is shocked this is the outcome. I never thought I would hear those words EVER from my oncologist. BUT I DID! My oncologist’s exact words were, “You are an anomaly”. I like to be different anyways so what’s new! 😉

I have a lot to wrap my head around and a lot to thinking about what is next for me other than my check-ups every 3 months which will happen for several years, but I am going to continue to get stronger, gain some weight from surgery, eat whatever I am craving right now, keep enjoying life, and most of all celebrate big for being NED after battle State 4 Metastatic Colon Cancer for the last 2 years. This is pretty damn cool!

This blog is not over for me. I will continue to take you on this crazy ride with me and I thank you all for supporting me and taking time to read my blog. It has been so good for me to get my thoughts out there for you all to read and I hope I have helped some a long the way.

Now, it is time for me to celebrate BIG because I am kicking cancers ass! It also feels pretty damn good to know I am NED. Still in shock though!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey

The Last Moments…

SURGERY – September 3rd

As I am sitting here putting my last minute touches on this last blog post for awhile, I cannot stop thinking about how blessed I am. Thinking about how far I have come living this ‘cancer life’.  It is not easy – most of the time it is miserable. 🙂 I’ve been packing for my next big adventure and I cannot stop thinking about this week and how great it has been. I celebrated my birthday and even had a little surprise party to kick off the celebration. On top of that, had the best last hurrah staying downtown before the BIG day. THANK YOU to everyone who made my birthday a special one! To be living and enjoying life while living with cancer has been a challenge to learn the ups and downs that are involved with it, but also rewarding because I am really finding who I am. In away, I do have to thank cancer for helping me find ME and my voice. Cancer has nothing on me, it is not what defines me. I am BIGGER than cancer! I am becoming ME!

Just a few days – that is all the time I have left before I go in for the most important surgery of my life. A surgery that could be my saving grace and one that really can change my life for the better! I am scared beyond measures because a lot of unknown as to what all will be happening and what I will be waking up to is up in the air for the most part. My surgeon’s goal is to get all the cancer. So – he will do just that! He will do anything and everything he can to get it ALL. Bye-Bye tumors! I am ready…I’ve been ready. With this surgery getting pushed back several times, I feel this was completely meant to be. I mean, I am going in on the day my dad passed away two years ago, but to me I see this as a day to get my life back. Start fresh! It is such a full circle!

From now until my surgery, I’ll keep enjoying my time and birthday week (it’s not over 🤣) with my cheerleaders by my side! Not think too much about surgery and September 3rd because right now, I want to enjoy my time. I am not sure when I will be back on my blog. I will return when I am ready! In the meantime – if you would like to follow my surgery journey, Instagram is where all the updates will be. Thank you all!!!!!!!!!

Instagram: auggiejo

THROWING THIS OUT THERE! Sept 21st – Get Your Rear in Gear. If you would like to support Team Auggie and I by either donating and/or joining the team, please visit:

http://Donate.coloncancercoalition.org/Seattle/TeamAuggie

THANK YOU!!!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey

Surgery – Is it happening?

Well, let’s see if the FIFTH time’s the charm. I won’t hold my breath just to be safe! Is it happening – I sure hope so. I heard it is officially put on the schedule for the whole hospital to see and not just written down somewhere on the desk of the scheduler’s office. I have heard it is scheduled…in the books. So – I believe it!

Before I share the date of my surgery – anyone who had the honor to meet my dad, LOVED and enjoyed that man so much. My dad was a big soft teddy bear that would go over and beyond for anyone. He would honestly give his shirt off his back if someone truly needed it. My dad was an incredible man – he was truly my best friend and a blast to be around! The father-daughter relationship I had with my dad was beyond special. Something I will never forget. With ALL that being said and I could go on, the day my dad said good-bye to this world is the day I will regain my life back!

September 3rd, 2017 was the day my dad died from a pulmonary embolism. A day I truly do not want to relive or remember. This day also happened shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer at age 26. This day is also just a day like any other day. But, it is a pretty important day to me. In a few short weeks, I will be going in for the BIGGEST surgery of my life. That day is September 3rd. On my dad’s 2nd anniversary, I will be reclaiming this day and I will turn the meaning of the day around to mean something positive and incredible. It is hard not to think my dad had something to do with this and if he did, that gives me even more peace that I am okay having my surgery on this day. I am ready to have this surgery and ready to hopefully say goodbye to cancer for now and hopefully for good!

In the mean time, my 29th birthday is exactly a week before surgery. Let me tell you, I will be living it up and enjoying myself big time. I not only will be celebrating another year of LIVING and THRIVING with cancer, but to celebrate kicking cancers ass and having a nice hurrah moment before the big surgery day. August 17th will be my 2nd cancer anniversary! Wow. 

Oh – that bald life made another appearance the other day! Miss my little pixie cut that was coming in strong, but the hair needed to go. My scalp needed whatever was remaining to go. Thanks to my friend Haley who too is kicking cancers ass shaved it for me. We are rocking the bald together! It sure was a special moment for us both. We go way back, lost touch for many years, and stupid cancer brought us back together!!! This time, it was a little more emotional shaving it, but IT IS JUST HAIR and I kind of like the bald! You have so many options and it is great when the temp outside is HOT.

#bebrave

Get Your Rear in Gear – if you would like to support my team and I by either donating and/or joining the team, please visit:

http://Donate.coloncancercoalition.org/Seattle/TeamAuggie

THANK YOU!!!

xoxo,

Audrey

Countdown to SURGERY…

No surgery for me. There is no countdown going on anymore – at least for now. I had a completely different blog post I was working on and getting ready to post it, but not happening. Funny, how things change.

Nope, not frustrating at the least. Not annoyed or emotional. Thought the 4th time would be the charm, maybe the 5th? I’ve just been over here preparing for something HUGE and LIFE changing for my life. Not a big deal. Oh how bad I want this cancer gone and how bad I want to move on from this. Something I felt so ready for…finally. The liver issue has been resolved, my cancer is keeping at bay, and I am in a much better place with the body and mind to move forward. My plan moving forward was surgery though. WTF. Surgery is not happening on the 13th of August like I thought it would; like all you did too. No, it is not happening and most of all, it isn’t because of me or my health stopping it. Yay for that! Or even insurance. It is a lack of communication and organization on the hospital side. I thought my surgery was all good to go mid June when it was schedule, so I thought. But, it was not schedule, so I am being told.

I do not have any additional information other than the bit I just shared above. I have a follow up with my surgeon soon to discuss everything that has been going on the last several months that prevented me from having this surgery three other times. Hopefully, I will get clarification and answers. Discuss the potential of surgery, I hope, or just get a good game plan in place. I don’t have one right now and it is beyond frustrating. My game plan was my surgery on the 13th. I have no idea what this meeting will bring. The wait along with the unknown continues for me and it sucks.

Fuck cancer – this world is not fun. A lot of dark days pass by. A lot of tears. A lot of lonely and quiet times. A lot of let downs. A lot of WHY ME moments go through my mind. Even the thought – “why am I living, why am I here” goes through my head. However, you learn a lot, I have learned a lot. I have learned a lot about MYSELF and the person who I have always been and the person who I want to become. I have learned a lot about support and what that looks like through my support system. I have learned a lot about life and how to live it with an illness; how to overcome what you think you cannot. What to put up with and what not to put up with. I am still learning all of this and will never stop learning. I have learned what is really important in my life and what really isn’t or what isn’t the best or the most fulfilling for me. I have learned we are NEVER too busy in life. This cancer journey is very life changing in so many ways. Good and bad. Something I have been taking time to learn to put myself first and to really focus on my wants and needs. This is my journey, my cancer, and my life. I am my biggest advocate for my life – you are yours!

I have way better news to share because that is what I need to and should be focusing on (it is a struggle)…my CT scan results! All came back looking amazing. Giving myself a HUGE pat on the back because thank you to my body for staying strong and determined to bounce back. The remaining little devils inside me haven’t grown nor any new ones showing up! Nothing is changing. Very happy to hear this news for sure!

For surgery, a blog post will follow whenever that happens. In the meantime, I am just trying to stay positive!

Get Your Rear in Gear – if you would like to support me and my team by either donating and/or joining the team, please visit:

http://Donate.coloncancercoalition.org/Seattle/TeamAuggie

THANK YOU!!!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey

The BIG Day is Scheduled…

Never a dull moment in the cancer world, but things are finally looking up for me! I feel good about what is next to come. Not a whole lot to share with on this post, but I am wanting to share an important date…two actually!

SURGERY – it is schedule for August 13th. It is finally happening. I’ve been off of prednisone since June 5th and off of chemo since May 26th to gear up for this surgery. My latest bloodwork came back looking great! My liver specialist was very excited to call me last week to share the good news. I am happy to say, my liver enzymes are functioning on their own, which means bye-bye prednisone.

With the time I have before surgery, there are things I am wanting to focus on. The number one thing is ME! I am working on that body and mind because both have been through a lot especially the last handful of months. Prednisone takes a toll on your body, really messes it up, and it has on mine. Happy to be off this stuff! Focusing on living that life…taking a trip to OR next month and I cannot wait! I haven’t been out of WA for a LONG TIME and I am really looking forward to it. Eating and eating whatever sounds good and looks good. If it is sugar, I don’t care! Bring on the ice-cream. Exercise!!!!!!!!!! I need to gain those pounds and gain that muscle – very important before my big day. I’ve started to get into swimming. Now, I am no pro, but I do enjoy it and my body feels good after. Need to kill this head cold before I can get back at it. 

For the time I have been off of prednisone, I am starting to slowly feel like a person again, despite living with cancer. I am driving more and getting out more. Getting that independence back in away! Socializing way more and really getting out of the house. I am enjoying life again! In away, I feel things are starting to look up for me and it feels good!

The second important date is September 21st! Get Your Rear in Gear walk will be happening again and I cannot wait to walk with all the participants especially Team Auggie. Let’s raise awareness on how important screening is and it doesn’t matter at what age, it needs to be done.

If you would like to donate and/or join the team, please visit:

http://Donate.coloncancercoalition.org/Seattle/TeamAuggie

In the mean time, I am gearing up for surgery! Regardless, I will be at the walk in September and if I have to be pushed in a wheelchair, fine by me. I will be there. Hopefully, I will be walking with my team and everyone else! 🙂

THANK YOU!!!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey

Get Your Rear in Gear – 2019

It’s that time again!

Let’s raise awareness and money for a cause that touches so many lives including my own. Help support Team Auggie! This is our 2nd year at this and I am so excited to do this walk again. Last year, my amazing cheerleaders and I raised almost $6,000 for this amazing cause. September 21st, another walk (running is an option) will be happening. Let’s show the Get Your Rear in Gear community that Team Auggie can do it AGAIN. Show that we can raise that money and spread the word on how important getting screened is – doesn’t matter what age you are. It is important!

SPREAD THE WORD!

Colorectal cancer, or cancer of the colon or rectum, is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Each year, it claims more than 53,500 lives. An estimated 145,000 men and women will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year alone. However, colon and rectal cancer can often be prevented with proper screening. Found in its earliest stages, colon cancer is survived by almost 90 percent of patients.

Also – Did you know, the rates for colon & rectal cancer have been declining among adults 50+, but rising in adults UNDER 50? Unfortunately, young-onset patients are more likely to be diagnosed in stage III or IV, when the disease is harder to treat. Missed symptoms and misdiagnosis can often delay the correct diagnosis in young-onset cases.

THAT IS WHY SCREENING IS SO IMPORTANT! Know your body and when something is not right, go in and get it checked out. Better to be safe than sorry!

Colon Cancer Signs & Symptoms:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Change in Bathroom Habits
  • Fatigue (ME)
  • Anemia
  • Unexplained Weight Loss
  • Persistent Cramps or Low Back Pain (ME, painful cramps)
  • Feeling bloated (ME)

If you would like to donate or join the team/make a donation, please visit:

http://Donate.coloncancercoalition.org/Seattle/TeamAuggie

I feel that my amazing team and I can raise $10,000 for this event! We can do it. I appreciate all the help and support throughout this journey!

THANK YOU!!!

#bebrave

xoxo,

Audrey