Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Last Houston Trip

Here I am enjoying my last Jamba Juice drink. Don't worry I wasn't driving while I took this picture.

I need to lobby to get a Jamba Juice down the road from my house. This place is one of the things I love about Houston, especially where Paul lives.
My friends Jessica, Paul and I out to dinner on this beautiful night. Notice, no jackets in February.
I was missing the first half of the Superbowl, however I did get to see one of the most incredible sunsets I have seen in my life. It looks so awesome to be above the clouds and watch the sun go under them.

This is one of Paul's neighbors' houses. This is the SIDE of the house. The front is just as wide. There is a ton of oil money in Houston. I go running on this path on this street every time I go to Paul's and I just drool over all of these houses.

This is a plant store I drive by on the way home from MD Anderson to Paul's. They have these IV statues everywhere. It's so cool to go there on a sunny day. They have orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime trees there too. One lemon tree had 22 lemons on it.

Hey everybody,

I am no longer on the clinical trial. I showed progression and once you have progression you are off the trial. Here's the details. My blood test went up (CA2729 went from 256 to 321) That's pretty significant. So, when the doctor came in and told me the scans didn't look good I wasn't surprised. There is this area in the Omentum that had growth. Tumors are not measured there (I don't know why), but they are growing. This area is spread out and I think more fluid than say the liver, so growth there I think really impacts the blood test more since it is spread out in tissue more rather than a compact tumor. The bone scans are exactly the same. The liver "polka dots" have actually shrunk in size. They have not budged for over a year and now all of a sudden they shrink?? It is possible for a drug to work on one area but not in another which is what I think is happening. I have also been doing some liver detoxing all the past month and I think that helped. I am super excited about the liver spot shrinkage. Hopefully it was the detoxing and not the drug since I will continue the detoxing and not the drug.
Now, lets not get sad and feel sorry for me because I am fine. I don't take this as bad news just different news which means it is time to try something different.

The nurses who were completely normal to me before I got the results came back in the room with an attitude like I was dying. They were sad, gave me pity faces, talked slow to me and kept asking if I was okay or if I needed anything. I kept saying I was fine, but they didn't let up. They acted like I was at a funeral for myself. I kept saying, "I am okay, I'll figure something out. It's just time to try something else." Then they said "Are you suuuure???" Then I started to get pissed off at them. Here I am coping with the news just fine and I feel like they are almost trying to get me sad. Or they are so sad for me that I have to cheer them up. WTF?? I have enough to process and concern myself with right now, and I'm supposed to worry about cheering them up too??? I know it is their way of showing they care a lot about me, but come on. Still I kept assuring them that everything was okay and I left on those terms without telling them that the only thing really bothering me was how they were acting towards me.

Here is the new mantra I have adopted for this situation. It's from The Greatest Salesman which Kevin and I read parts from every day. It is fitting that we are on the chapter of persisting until you succeed. It is written for a salesman, but you can apply it to life so much. Here are some of the life parts I have taken from this chapter:
I will persist until I succeed.

The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal (perfect health). Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner (like this corner I will have to turn right now).

Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult.

I will build my castle one brick at a time for I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.

I will never consider defeat and I will remove from my vocabulary such words and phrases as quit, cannot, unable, impossible, out of the question, improbable, failure, unworkable, hopeless and retreat; for they are the words of fools. I will avoid despair but if this disease of the mind should infect me I will work on in despair. I will toil and I will endure. I will ignore the obstacles at my feet and keep my eyes on the goals above my head, for I know that where dry desert ends, green grass grows.

So long as there is a breath in me, that long will I persist.

When I called Kevin and cried to him about my results but more so my frustration on how the nurses treated me like I was dying, he reminded me of some of these phrases from the Greatest Salesman they we use to apply to me and my quest for perfect health. I got my shit together, wiped my eyes, took a deep breath, and walked into Whole Foods on a mission. They have a Jamba Juice (which serves wheatgrass shots and green tea shots) and there are also two other Jamba juices on the way from MD Anderson to Paul's house. So, I decided I will persist until I succeed. I walked into Jamba juice and ordered doubles of wheatgrass and green tea shots in every one of them on my way home(6 healthy double shots). Ahhhh. Back on track.
I still have a lot to figure out. If you have been with me a while you will remember the "Am I doing enough?" post I wrote. Well, I am going to write a new one and kick it up a couple hundred notches. I will have to go to my doctor in Michigan and discuss medical options too. It's basically low dose chemotherapy or hormone therapy. I am not into the chemotherapy. I will be keeping my hair thank you very much. It might seem vain, but looking healthy makes you feel healthy and feeling healthy is key to actually getting healthy. It is not fun being treated like a sick person by every single person you encounter throughout the day. I DO NOT LIKE PITY. That is why hair loss doesn't work for me.

Now that I am off the clinical trial I am going to focus on the good things about being off the trial like...

No more monthly trips to Houston. I did like going but it gets a little old not having a say of when I have to go.

Less scans I need to go through because they over-scan you on trials.

Less sickness from travel and fatigue from travel.

Eventually one day we will get my travel money back so we will get about $6000. One day.

I will FINALLY go out to Chicago and hang out with Jessica and Joe like I have been promising forever, but have not gone in a while because I always felt like I was either about to leave for Texas or just getting back from Texas.

Kevin will be happy because I always go shopping in Rice Village or the Gallaria and I usually come home with a new article of clothing on every trip.

Here are some great things about Houston I will miss:

Jamba Juices everywhere - I mean everywhere

Jason's Deli - HUGE ALL ORGANIC salad bar with everything you could think of for your salads

70 degree perfect days and not a single cloud in the sky (in the winter) I did not see a single cloud the entire time I was here. (3 strait days. That doesn't happen in Michigan in the winter)
I will miss running on Tanglewood DR. and drooling over all the multimillion dollar homes right by Paul's

The Gallaria - HUGE mall with all my favorite stores

Rice Village - College town that is so cute with wonderful shops. I love shopping in Houston

Paul - Yeah, just some guy that let me stay at his place every time I come to Houston. Okay, also a dear friend who I will miss hanging with monthly. Guess I'll have to see him in Michigan now.

So remember, we will not be having any pity parties for me. (Kevin is like "What??? we have those all the time at home") Once I am done venting to Kevin it is on to happy and healthy thoughts. I will let you all know what I decide to do.
First thing on my therapy list is snowboarding. I heard that was killer for shrinking tumors.
My brother in law, Kevin, and I are going in an hour, so I have to go and get ready.
Lots of love and Jamba Juices


  1. Shannon- You are awesome!! Truly awesome. You have more discipline than most can ever dream of achieving. The raw diet and healthy choices are tough in today's unhealthy world. But of course the payoff is life, so who can argue with that?

    I lived in Birmingham, MI while going through treatment for BC, and I used to frequent The Grape Leaf in Troy- its in the shopping center next to Whole Foods. They have fresh veggie juices made to order... not the same as Jamba Juice, but it is nice to have someone else make the juice for you. Reasonable cost too.

    And make no apologies for wanting your to keep your hair!! People do treat you differntly when you are w/out. Mine is growing ever so slowly, and I still struggle with noticing how people treat me differently now than my "before BC" looks. Hopefully you can find a drug that works for you and allows you to keep your gorgeous locks! And I think only fellow cancer chicks get that.

    Love your blog and your story... you are a warrior... keep the game face on and forge ahead!!

  2. Shannon!
    Thanks for postin! Sorry those nurses were so out of line....they probably are not used to dealing with such strong women... i will "persist" to lift you and kevin up in prayer! you inspire me, girl!

  3. Hey Shannon,

    I'm sorry to hear about the bad news but you've got the right mind set to beat it! I'm looking forward to hearing what your next steps are. Have fun snowboarding.


  4. You have a very healthy attitude & great resolve. It's inspiring! I love reading your posts. I'll pray for your success! Hugs!!!

  5. Hey pretty lady! That picture of the sunset is crazy beautiful. Love the pic of your with your jamba juice too ;-) I really admire you and gain so much from reading your posts... Thanks for being such an "Awesome chick" :-) Now that you have all this time (since you dont have to go to Houston) hopefully we can get some of us girls together for a lunch date or night out?

  6. Thanks for my snowboarding lesson. You're the coolest coach EVER! See you soon - Love, Kev (AKA "Little Heavy on the Front Edge, eh?")


darker pink dots