Went to the Hard Rock Café today and was fortunate enough to sit between Eric Clapton’s and Chuck Berry’s guitars. I was surprised to see that Clapton’s guitar was yellow with sparkles and a sweet looking tiger. I was given two free meals for a certain suggestion that is unimportant to mention here, in this post. I like to think that the two free meals were truly a gift for having survived Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.
You see, at the Hard Rock it’s Pinktober, breast cancer awareness month, so they had breast cancer awareness limited edition collectors’ items. After purchasing a few, I was glad to find out that a large portion of the proceeds go to cancer research. Hope you can help us survivors out too. I am going to wear the T-shirt and guitar pin every month to my IV injection to show my support for patients and for furthering research of this disease, which is quickly becoming the number one killer worldwide (Livestrong Foundation), just behind heart disease. I’m almost in remission and the souvenir items I picked up at the Hard Rock are going to come in handy to open up conversation and tell people my story:
My doctors have told me that I have been the talk of the Cancer Institute. I was diagnosed in Jan. of 2008 with a very aggressive form of Ductal Carcinoma Infiltrating Breast Cancer Stage IV, at the Cancer Institute in Santa Fe, NM. At the time I was becoming so unbelievably tired and lethargic, and couldn’t figure out why. Then I found a lump which had grown so large that it started to become very painful and break the surrounding blood vessels. Eventually it made me looked like I had been in a train wreck.
The doctor’s did not think I would survive. My main tumor was 8 centimeters, growing like fingers across my chest. I also had two tumors in my liver and three on the spine. Five months after chemo, scans showed two more tumors in my brain near the speech center – quite frightening to contemplate, for a writer. I had Gamma Knife Radiation Surgery to the brain. For this procedure, a small team of doctors drilled four holes up against my skull to secure a metal helmet. The helmet kept my head perfectly still while it was being zapped with 402 rays of radiation.
Don’t cringe! It’s not as bad as it sounds. Gamma Knife Radiation Surgery was a medical breakthrough when first created, and has been around for about 12 years now. It omits having to drill through the skull, making the recovery time very short. I was awake the whole time, but was given a sedative called Versed. This medication took all anxiety away and I glided through the procedure smiling and laughing, telling the doctors I had a great time afterwards. (Ok, it makes you a little loopy as well.) The only strange part was when the doctors drilled the holes up against the skull. I could hear an unearthly crunching ringing through my brain, but, and most importantly to me, was that it was not painful at all.
I am glad I can now inform anyone who has to have this done, to not worry about going through the procedure. The technology they have now has pinpoint accuracy and a very high success rate.
Everything for me is in remission now, thanks to God and all those who prayed for and supported me. Well, every tumor is in remission or has disappeared, except for one near the hip, which is active, but stable – meaning it is not growing any larger: Cells are dividing but just as many are dying off. The doctor’s cannot believe I haven’t had any recurrences for nearly three years. They tell me I have almost broken the record for no recurrences, and I have already made plans for the next 40-50 years of my life!
It has truly been a miracle, and every day I wake up and give thanks for another day. I appreciate each moment I have left, and make time for all the important things in life – friends, loved-ones, helping the needy (humans and animals), prayer, culinary delights, art, music and poetry. Everything that makes life worthwhile…
Please use the comments at the bottom of this post to tell me your own stories, poems, opinions and thoughts.
To Order the Book THE MUSIC IS WRITTEN by Tatiana Pietrzak, a collection of poetry about music: http://rosedogbooks-store.stores.yahoo.net/musiciswritten.html
Or call Rose Dog Books: 1-800-834-1803
Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltISpYhSsZs
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