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Topic: My message after 5 years...

Forum: Biographies and Inspiring Stories —

Share your personal story, diagnosis, and treatment path, and stories of survival, hope, and success to encourage and inspire others!

Posted on: Jun 1, 2017 06:14PM - edited Jun 1, 2017 10:54PM by MammaRaysHusband

MammaRaysHusband wrote:

Hello friends!

Some who don't know me may seem confused as it looks like I am new to these threads. I found my way here five years ago but choose to leave for a while earlier this year. Only because of my own emotional state after seeing the losses of beloved members here, and struggling with my own advanced diagnosis.

I have missed this place and the comfort that it brings.

I'm currently going through chemo, and thus have lots of "down time" while I rest. I have been reading through a lot of old posts, emails, texts, etc... Yesterday was my five year "cancer-versary". Wow! SOoooooooo much has happened in those five years. Beautiful and challenging things. Inspiring and frustrating things. I would think/hope I have grown and learned as well. I decided that I would share some of my thoughts:

- You don't always need a reason! I feel, especially among those of us who have strong faith, we will reach for any answer. There very well may be a reason for our trials, (there may not be) but WE do not NEED one. Can we really think of any reason that would pacify the frustration of our diagnosis? Probably not.

- People typically mean well. I will continue to be amazed at the foolish things that are said to people who are ill. But, when really evaluating the context of those things, I think that most people think that they are doing or saying the right thing. Try to be patient. I know there have been many times in my life when my mouth moves faster then my thoughts. Smile

- Let peope Pink! Pink annoys me. Pink annoys most of us. However, I was one of those people who did a 60-mile 3-Day Walk the year before my diagnosis. I donated my hair and walked until I had blisters. I genuinely felt that I was doing it out of compassion and to help others. I also know that as annoying as it is, some people do benefit from those actions. I've learned that it's okay to just let people do what they feel is right in whatever way they want to do it. And if that means wearing pink feather boas and walking 10 miles then so be it. Choosing to not participate in the "pink" celebrations does not mean we need to be antagonistic towards it.

- Asking for help is ok. Asking for help SUCKS. At least for me. Like, REALLY! I have tried so hard to maintain as much "normalcy" as possible by not asking for help, not expressing my frustrations, and not being open about the extent of my health issues with my family. Only in the last few months have I accepted that I need more assistance then I want to admit. I have also accepted that giving others the opportunity to help me helps them grow. It's MY belief that in serving someone else it can bring them closer to the Lord, closer to the one being served, and bless their lives in the long run.

- Let the little things go. This is still a work-in-progress for me Winking I don't think it matters what stage you are at diagnosis. Any time any of us hear the big "C" word we are hit with the reality of our own mortality. That is enough to help us prioritize. That is enough to help me try to pick my battles, let things go, and appreciate the joy in each day. I promise it's there if you look.

- Teach those around you. Of course it's not our responsibility to educate everyone about every aspect of this disease, but if we do have knowledge and there are those who need support, by all means we need to share it! As I look back through some of the pages on this site and remember when I first came here I was terrified! I genuinely don't know how I would have gotten through without the support that I found here. I was 28 years old and found out that I was pregnant and had cancer on the same day.

- It's ok to say goodbye! This is not meant to sound dramatic. At ALL stages there will likely be many things that we need to say goodbye to. Say goodbye to spring cleaning, or jogging, or gardening for a season during treatment. We may need to say goodbye to some friendships that simply aren't strong enough to be maintained through this challenge. THAT is hard, but let go when you need to. Hang on to things that bring you joy and hope. Not stress or regret. I said goodbye to a beach not long ago (silly I know), knowing it would likely be my last visit to the beach. That's ok! Sometimes accepting and letting go can be a relief.

Lastly- find joy and give joy. Yes, it's as simple as it sounds. On days when I don't want to get off the couch except to run to the bathroom and throw up, I try to find joy in the sunshine. In my son reading to me. In the crazy soft blanket a friend has given to me. When I'm no longer around (however far away that is), I want people to remember joy I may have brought to them. This can be simple small things guys. Touch people's lives. We are all here for each other. Take care of each other.

Thank you for all you have done for me.

Dx 5/31/2012, IDC, Left, Stage IIB Dx 3/2015, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Dx 4/2016, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/lungs Dx ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 1, 2017 09:55PM Zillsnot4me wrote:

Hey MammaRay. Good to see you back. A very thoughtful post. Sorry you're still puking. I completely understand about saying goodbye to the beach.

Liver 1/ 2016, Xgeva 9/2015, Bones 4/2015, Lungs 4/2013 Dx 4/2013, 4cm, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/29/2013 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 5/23/2013 AC Hormonal Therapy 10/2/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 11/6/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 9/25/2015 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 1/7/2016 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 1/7/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy 2/4/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 4/24/2017 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Chemotherapy 11/16/2017 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Jun 1, 2017 10:01PM Beatmon wrote:

I know what you mean, Mammaray. Our losses of such sweet friends has been terrible.

But I still come daily to read, if not to post

Dx 7/27/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 8/8/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 11/30/2013 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 6/30/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 8/9/2014, IDC, Both breasts, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 8/26/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 8/26/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 8/26/2014 Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jun 2, 2017 06:11PM MammaRaysHusband wrote:

Thank you ladies. :)

Dx 5/31/2012, IDC, Left, Stage IIB Dx 3/2015, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Dx 4/2016, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/lungs Dx ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 2, 2017 09:31PM darceebysea wrote:

Hello Mammaray,

I am new to this community. I see that there are kindred spirits on this blog and I'm glad I read yours, considering you've been off site for a while. I get your comments about letting people help you. I realized from the get go that if I denied help from my friends and family I'd be denying them the blessing of helping me. Who am I to deny anyone such a great blessing.

I am so grateful to my church family and friends. My faith has got me through some of the worst trials in my life and yet I have such a calm about me, it's a feeling of peace in knowing that although I didn't choose this plan or journey, I will be okay. I've totally handed all of this over to God, He's in control and I trust that He will never leave me.

I'm praying that you will be able to overcome your nausea and discomfort. You sound like a really wonderful person and I truly hope you're going to be just fine.

Much love, hugs & prayers


Darcee Neal
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Jun 3, 2017 10:50AM SusieM49 wrote:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us MammaRay. You are a wonderful example of charity. Take care of yourself.

Love Susie

Dx 1/10/2016, IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/16/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jun 3, 2017 11:34AM - edited Jun 3, 2017 12:49PM by Loveroflife

Ray Ray, I love your post.....gracefully-written. You and Darcee are right about receiving help. You can bless others by receiving the help they offer. By receiving, you allow them to be closer to you- another level up in relationships. It is a door you open to let them show their love for you.

Thank you for being patient with me all this time for the stupid things I have said. A foot in the mouth is no comfort at all let alone two feet. And I know there were a few times when I had both in my mouth.Thank you for your grace.

Had to edit because my original one didn't make sense.

My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor 12:9. Dx 8/25/2014, DCIS, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR- Surgery 9/16/2014 Mastectomy: Left Dx 10/13/2014, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 1/12/2015 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 5/13/2015 Reconstruction (left): Saline implant
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Jun 3, 2017 01:16PM MammaRaysHusband wrote:

Loveroflife, sweet lady I was not pointing fingers at anyone in regards to foolish things being said. In fact my mind was on a recent conversation with a woman at a gas station. I've never noticed your "foot in the mouth" when talking to me. Take care dear. Thanks for your love and support to all here.

Dx 5/31/2012, IDC, Left, Stage IIB Dx 3/2015, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Dx 4/2016, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/lungs Dx ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 3, 2017 10:13PM Joanne58 wrote:

Wise and wonderful, dear Ray! So glad to see you back, posting, and I love your new profile pic--so sweet :)

"There is beauty all around when there's love at home." --John H. McNaughton Dx 9/7/2010, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 9/16/2010 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 10/28/2010 AC Targeted Therapy 1/21/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 3/23/2011 Hormonal Therapy 4/27/2011
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Jun 7, 2017 10:43PM MammaRaysHusband wrote:

Thank you Joanne. ❤️

Dx 5/31/2012, IDC, Left, Stage IIB Dx 3/2015, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Dx 4/2016, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/lungs Dx ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2017 04:31AM JWoo wrote:

<3 <3 <3

great post, MammaRay!

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Jun 27, 2017 01:57PM Tappermom383 wrote:

I'm new here, MammaRay, so I didn't know you when you were active before. But, boy, am I glad you came back! Such an inspirational post. I am in total agreement about the value of this forum - the wise women here have been my lifeline in this unasked-for adventure. And now, as those more new than I ask questions, I am sharing my own experiences (cautioning them that each of us is different and so my experiences may not/will not be theirs).

I'm sorry to read that you are going through chemo now and hope you will be feeling better soon. I recently learned that two friends here in my community have just traveled down this road (they kept their diagnoses private). One called me her survivor sister, a term I liked.

I'm not good at asking for help as I never want to inconvenience anyone. However, my DH went back east to visit his mother, leaving me to fend for myself for just over a week. I'm fine but don't feel comfortable driving alone to my rads - our mountain highway can be challenging to drive and I certainly didn't want to endanger anyone (my fatigue has been epic. And so I lined up seven people to drive me down and back. And to a person they said what a pleasure it was - I've had some wonderful conversations over the past week! The friend driving me today (the last day) suggested we have lunch before taking off and that's what we're doing.

Looking forward to hearing more from you.


Diagnosed at 70 after four excisional biopsies over the course of 47 years. MammaPrint came back Low Risk. DexaScan: osteopenia. Cancer removed was 1.8 cm. Dx 3/23/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 5/22/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 7/17/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 27, 2017 11:10PM MammaRaysHusband wrote:

Tappermom383- Thank you SO much for your response. Asking for help is so very hard, isn't it. Yet with the tables turned I am certain most of us would jump at the opportunity to help someone else. Good for you. I'm sorry you are on your own, and that you are so fatigued from the rads, but I'm glad you reached out for help.

I actually just got home from the hospital today. Had an Ommaya port placed in my head. This will allow testing of the spinal fluid, and injecting chemo right into the brain. We are quite disheartened to learn that the cancer cells have spread into the spinal fluid itself, and the surrounding membranes. I did accept some help with house work and meals this week.

My son and I have been working on small acts of kindness this summer. I hope to continue with it as much as we can. We took cookies to the Police Station last week, and left a note and treat for our mailman today. Spreading joy you guys, it makes life worth living. Take care!!

Dx 5/31/2012, IDC, Left, Stage IIB Dx 3/2015, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Dx 4/2016, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/lungs Dx ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 25, 2017 08:00PM SusieM49 wrote:

Thinking about you MammaRay and hoping you're doing alright. Prayers to you.

Dx 1/10/2016, IBC, Right, Stage IIIB, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/16/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Sep 13, 2017 10:26PM ladyb1234 wrote:

MammaRay, just found this post. It moved me and so inspiring, written with wisdom and it is real talk! So glad to see you back💞

Continous Prayers for you.

Love across the miles,


Once or twice in our lives, we are given the chance to find out just how much inner strength we possess. Usually we find we have far more than we ever imagined. (Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me). Dx 6/9/2014, IDC, Left, Grade 2, 8/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/11/2014 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary

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