Showing posts from 2015

Calling All Team Lori Members

When I was diagnosis Stage IV in August of 2014, I started a targeted treatment of two infusions, Herceptin and Perjeta.  Unfortunately, the cancer cells eventually find their way around treatments, making them no longer effective. So after 14 months (20 treatments), my cancer cells have found a way to wake up and start growing again. No worries though, it appears to be just a subtle growth. 
So I have started a new targeted treatment plan.  I will now be getting one infusion of Kadcyla (TDM1) every three weeks. This is a relatively new treatment that got FDA approval in 2013.  This treatment is Herceptin with a chemo drug in it.  So needless to say, I can already tell a difference in the side effects...FATIGUE!  This drug also calls for a little higher maintenance work on watching blood counts and staying healthy and well.  But we can handle that!

So I need my TEAM! Please pray that my next scan in December will show that this treatment is working and knocking those cancer cells back…

Shattered Pink Windows...My Video Story

Every once in a while, we are presented with an opportunity to let others hear our voice. An opportunity to share our thoughts and our concerns.  A chance to ask others to consider our message.
     Komen of Central Indiana gave me this opportunity to share my voice in this video (below). It was shown at their Pink Tie Ball where I was also given an opportunity to speak to the audience.  All of this giving me a chance to share with others about the importance of research to the some 150,000 of us facing stage 4 breast cancer.

     As October approaches us...please remember that behind all of the many pick ribbons you will see for next 31 days, are faces of women who are dying everyday. Women whose lives depend on the next successful research drugs.
     Pink helped us raise pink needs to help us find the cure.
     I ask you to help us to keep pink ribbons from becoming just a way to decorate like major holidays.  We cannot "Shop for a Cure." Please do not …

365 Days

365 days.  They seem to go by a little quicker each year that we get older.  So much so that I have often joked that I wondered if by the time you reach your seventies, do you feel like you are Christmas shopping all year long?  Usually the 365 days of the year would come and go for me without much thought...often overlooking days at a time just looking forward to the next exciting event.

     365 days ago my second oldest son, Luke turned 16 years old, but it was also the day that my oncologist held my hands as she told me my cancer was stage 4 and had metastasized to my bones.  It was the day that my life forever changed, as I was forced to face my own mortality at 44 years old.  It was the day that I had to change my already hectic crazy schedule to fit in treatments and the following side-effects every three weeks. It was the day that I decided that every single day would have to count now.  Every day was a gift.  Every day was a blessing.  Every day was another day with my hu…

My Peaceful Place

Think about a peaceful place...a place that surrounds you with warmth and comfort, a place where you feel safe to relax and be yourself.
     Mine is located on a Lagrange County dirt road, surrounded by fields and pastures, in the heart of Amish country. There along a mile stretch of country road is a weathered white farm house with a century old dairy barn and a working windmill spinning in the warm summer breeze. The colorful garden lines the driveway with an array of beautiful flowers and all types of vegetables in perfectly straight, weedless rows, much like a picture from a magazine. The house is large with many different sections of living areas added on over the years. There is also a smaller "Dawdy house" attached, which means Grandpa's house in Pennsylvanian Dutch. 
     My dad grew up in the main house, and years later, one of my aunts raised her family there, while my grandparents moved into the Dawdy house. My dad and I recently found out that they were …

Ain't Nothing Gonna Break My Stride

Today was Treatment #15, and I thought I would write about what is going on to catch everyone up. It has been 10 months since my Metastatic Breast Cancer diagnosis.  I haven't had any new scans since March where the last scans showed that everything was stable. (We like stable!)  I currently do not have any future scans scheduled as I do not have any severe bone pain at this time. 
     I guess that I couldn't imagine a day that I would get used to going in for infusions and shots every three weeks, but today I realized that it is slowly happening.  I will continue to have the Perjeta and Herceptin infusions every 3 weeks Xgeva (bone strengthening) shots every 6 weeks and Lupron (reduces Estrogen levels) every 3 months. Today, I got all four. 

     On June 14, we had the Women's Fund Afternoon Tea.  I am the Foundation staff person for the Women's Fund, and this is the largest event I work on all year.  We served over 200 women and girls tea and hors d'oeuvre…

Lori or Jimmy Fallon...Who Delivers A Better Commencement Speech?

Remember... So here it commencement speech for Jake's high school graduation!  What?!!?  If you didn't know...don't worry, hardly anyone knew until the day of graduation.  What an honor this was for me!  I am so thankful that Jimmy Fallon did not accept his invitation because his might have delivered a better speech ;) Congratulations to Jake and his awesome classmates! I plan to do treatment #14 tomorrow on my way home from a Foundation regional meeting on the north side of Indy. I am going to go to the IU Health Springmill Infusion Center...hoping to catch up with a few great nurses there!  The last time I went there was for my first round of chemo in the spring of 2013. 

2015 Seemed So Far Away

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. Ben and I lived in a cute little duplex in the small town of Pendleton, Indiana.  It was early December 1995.  It was cold enough to snow outside but warm enough that I didn't mind walking to the grocery that evening. We only lived a couple blocks away, and we needed a few things for dinner. I remember as the biggest snowflakes fell from the sky, all I could think about was how excited I was to have this new life inside of me. As I happily strolled along, all I could think about was the family Ben and I were about to create! We were so fortunate as we went on to have four more children in the next seven years.
     Where did the time go?  How did 18 years go by already?  When Jake was born and we realized when he would graduate from high school, 2015 seemed so far away! It wasn't even the 2000's! No one was carrying around cell phones, and we didn't even own a computer yet! Suddenly here we are...planning a graduation …

108 Women Every Day

Imagine 108 women your in life. It might sound a bit challenging at first, but if you actually wrote their names down, it would only take a couple minutes. Or you could look at a list of your Facebook friends and probably easily find 108. Think about what that list would look like. Who are they?They are mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters, aunts, nieces, friends, co-workers, mentors, and neighbors.Think about all of the roles this group of women have in their families, their communities, and even your life. Think about how many lives are impacted by just your list of 108 women.
Now imagine that 108 women, like those on your list, die every day.Every Single Day...This country loses approximately 108 women due to Metastatic Breast Cancer because there is no cure.
While attending the Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s 9th annual Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference in Philadelphia, the women of the “Hear My Voice” outreach volunteers learned of this startling numbe…

LBBC Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference

I was blessed to spend this last weekend at the Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s (LBBC) ninth annual Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference in Philadelphia.It was an incredible experience as I met women from all over the country who were like me…women who are sharing the same feelings of hope, feelings of fear, and feelings of uncertainty facing the realities of Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC).  As I sat on the plane, I thought about how lucky I was to be able to go this conference. But I am not going to lie, I was a little nervous about what I was heading into.I was a busy 44 year old mom of five who had walked into this mean diagnosis only eight months ago.I was suddenly going to be surrounded by women who have lived with this for several years, and some for many years.Women who have had multiple reoccurrences.Women who have had cancer in their lungs, on their liver, up and down their spine, and endured large amounts of physical as well as emotional pain.Was I really ready…

My Decision to Get a Port

Throughout the 2 1/2 years of my cancer journey, I have had to do a lot of things that I did not want to do...surgeries, chemo, procedures, biopsies, scans, treatments, endless appointments.  But this becomes part of your new life, and you may grit your teeth, shed a few tears, scream that it is not fair a few times, and then you just move forward because you have to. So let me introduce you to my newest life altering decision...Portia.
     To get a port or not get a port...that was the question.  When I had my babies, the nurses always bragged about my veins.  They were nice and plump, easy to get a IV needle into.  Sadly, long term IV treatments damage your skin and veins, leaving them difficult to access. My last four or five infusions involved two attempts to get my IV in. The only good vein left is in the crook of my right arm. Something that never used to bother me, suddenly was making me anxious in the hour before getting stuck. I knew it was time to consider a port.

My New Favorite Word, Stable

Although this was definitely a week full of anxiety... the week turned out to be full of blessings!

    Monday I had a routine CT scan of my chest area. Although I was dealing with scanxiety issues...from what I could decipher from the report, I felt pretty good about it. 
     Wednesday, my doctor confirmed that it was indeed a good scan.  She said that we like to see the word stable on these reports.  So stable I shall be!  This is good to know because, I don't know if you have ever tried to read a radiology report, but they full of terminology that we do not use...ever.  So for you other patients out there like me, who cannot wait the two days for your appointment without looking at the report, the Living Beyond Breast Cancer website does provide a glossary of terms that may help define some of those wacky terms.
     After receiving my relieving news of stability, my friend, Becky, and I went to spend some quality time together in the infusion area while getting treatment #10.  …

Chemo Was Mean To My Nails

We all know that chemotherapy causes hair loss, but did you know that it also affects your nails?  Many patients are often surprised by the effects some chemotherapy drugs have on their fingernails and toenails. The good news is that this doesn’t occur with every type of chemotherapy, and it doesn't necessarily happen to everyone.
      So what happens? Chemotherapy tends to cause the nail beds to become discolored. Nails often become brittle and dry causing them to break and crack easily.  As you can see on the right, this is happening to me. Five of my finger nails have starting cracking much lower than I would like. They get caught on everything, and I can't scratch, which makes my skin itch all over just thinking about it!
     Lines can also develop in the nail related to each cycle of chemotherapy. Beau's lines occur as you nail temporarily stops growing. The lines then grow out with you nail. You can sort of see some faint white lines in my nails in this pictur…

Time with Friends, My Blond Moments

I no longer have to go to IU Simon Cancer Center every three weeks, so I can do some of my infusions at our local hospital.  During Treatment #8, I got to spend time with my dear friend Becky. Luke & Lydia also walked over after school to join me.

     Do blonds have more fun? Well, I decided maybe it was time for me to find out!  I tried some platinum hair just in time for a fun little vacation with some amazing friends! 

      So you know how you and your girlfriends talk about going on a girls' trip, but that is all you end up doing, talking about it? Well we did it! Stupid cancer started throwing curve balls at me, so we stopped talking about it and planned it!

We decided on Key Largo as our destination because while searching, I found something I had always wanted to do. Oma's Dolphin Swim Program atDolphinsplus had a free opportunity for me to swim with dolphins. I absolutely loved this experience, as did my friends.  Dolphins are truly amazing…

Time with Family

I am a little behind on posting!  Life got busy after my last post with Christmas and some traveling.  So let's get up to speed. 

This Christmas Season was so very special to me. Christmas gifts and time with family take on a new meaning when you have been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer.   

With the kids out of school for break, I was so excited that they could go with me to Treatment #7.  Sadly, when we arrived, we found out that they could not go back with me.  Flu season had hit, and they would not allow children in the infusion area.  But they were troopers, hanging out together in the waiting room for over three hours while visions of Cayman danced in their heads.

Two days later, off we went for a week's vacation in Grand Cayman.  I cannot explain what a blessing this trip was for Ben and me.  I have wished for a long time that I might be able to take the kids to the most beautiful place I had ever been. I will be forever grateful to those who made this possible for us.  The…