Tips for living a healthy, vibrant life from one cool cat lady

And so it continues…

Sorry I haven’t posted an update in a while, I’ve been processing quite a lot. Let’s recap. Just before my second surgery on Dec 15 I met with the radiation oncologist who told me she wanted to start radiation right away. That threw me for a bit of a loop, but once I recovered from the shock and got through the second surgery (which was nothing compared to the first one!) I got back on track and made an appointment to talk to the medical oncologist as well, just to see what he had to say.

Just as I had walked into the radiation oncologist’s office fully expecting to be told that I would NOT need radiation, I had the same expectation when visiting the medical oncologist, since I did not have to do chemo the first time I had cancer, so why would I need it now?

Well, things are different this time. It turns out that the main tumor that they removed was 3.5 cm and it was grade 3 with perineural invasion. This is not good. It basically means that this cancer is trying to kill me, and it’s serious about it. The cancer has invaded my nervous system, meaning that it is trying to metastasize. All the doctors keep referring to my BARD1 genetic mutation as a possible reason why it’s so aggressive, but no one really knows. What they do know is that it must be stopped.

The medical oncologist called the radiation oncologist while we were waiting and it turns out that chemo trumps radiation. I have to start chemo right away in order to get this bad boy.

I managed to postpone the start of my chemo treatment until Feb 1, since I’m still recovering from the second surgery and I needed a little time to prepare myself mentally. I’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that this is happening and I’m okay with it. I know it won’t be pleasant, but it will be an interesting new experience!

I always dreaded the idea of losing my hair from chemo treatment, but now that seems like the least of my concerns after learning more about what chemo does to your whole body. They really do take you to the brink of death.

I learned that there are cold caps you can wear during treatment to slow down the flow of blood to your scalp, which can prevent or reduce hair loss. The caps are expensive and they are a huge hassle, so I decided to skip it and wear fantastic colored wigs! Thank you so much to everyone who sent me wigs and other cool headwear from my Amazon Wish List! They are all fantastic and I will post lots of photos!

I will be cutting my hair short this weekend and donating the long part to Children With Hair Loss. Once it starts to fall out we will shave it.

My protocol is AC-T dose dense. A = Adriamycin, C = Cytoxan and T = Taxol. This combination of drugs has been used for many years to treat breast cancer with excellent results. They have a solution for all of the expected side effects, although you never know which side effects will actually show up, everyone is different. Dose dense means 8 treatments every other week for 16 weeks. Because I am only 46 more frequent treatments (as opposed to every three weeks) are required.

My naturopathic oncologist gave me a complete plan to follow in conjunction with my chemotherapy, and all my doctors are on board with the integrative approach. Vitamins, supplements, acupuncture and medical marijuana are all on the list — and lots of cat snuggling!

I’m just focused on the chemo treatment for now, I will revisit the radiation recommendation after I have recovered from chemo. Thanks to the generous contributions to my Go Fund Me campaign I’ve managed to stay on top of the medical bills, but with a new year we start a new round of deductibles, and none of the naturopathic treatment (which I think is the most important part!) is covered. I’ve updated the Go Fund Me campaign to help cover this next round of unexpected expenses. I just want to say thank you again to everyone who has already contributed.

There are also several new resources, including some books that I’m hoping to read, on my Amazon Wish List. Again thank you to everyone for sending the amazing wigs and headscarves and all the healthy living resources, which I use regularly!

And thank you all for following along on this adventure. I plan to continue sharing my experience so that others can see that it’s totally manageable! If you ever have questions, feel free to contact me.

11 thoughts on “And so it continues…”

  • Kate, your young age and strong, positive will, will help you overcome this. Many, many friends and fans are thinking of you and appreciate your updates. I have always felt it’s a privilege to know you.

  • A couple days ago you came into my mind and I looked for any recent post, and then today you have one! Sending you positive vibes. When I pet my cats I will think of you,

  • Thanks for keeping us in the loop Kate. What a pile of unexpected developments to have to reckon with. Aaaaargh! That being said you have great resources and a great support group, so your well researched, and well rhought our, game plan should provide you a confident way forward. One step at a time.

  • You are beyond strong and your attitude IS amazing! I wish I could donate but right now I can’t, as soon as I can I definitely will! Sending love, positive energy and prayers. xoxo

  • Hi Kate –

    I guess my comment is a bit more intense than the rest –
    You’re very smart to take some time and mentally prepare in between each “event”. It’s very wise to question everything & listen to that little voice in all of us if it won’t back down. It isn’t the cancer that ends most lives, it’s the chemo AND it’s now been found that chemo possibly spreads it to other parts of the body.

    If possible, hop over to (when you have the energy to read for a bit) before your chemo is scheduled. Go through it slowly & with an open mind. Some of what is written by other cancer survivors & doctors is amazing! Anything you can change in your diet for the “better” right now is a positive step. You can call Chris & talk with him also – he’s very approachable from what I’ve heard.

    There ARE other treatments, plants, oils, etc. that have already cured different types of cancer (for thousands of years) & still do. Our medical system doesn’t promote them though because there’s no money to be made – Big Pharma can’t patent oxygen, natural oil or sap from a plant.

    Intravenous Vitamin C infusions have worked wonders for some patients and other “add-ons”( for body wellness) such as infrared saunas (detox), raw diets (meeting with a natural nutritionalist who has cancer diet experience), massage & hyperbaric oxygen treatments, yet I would bet these weren’t mentioned to you. It’s all about the money – no matter how much your Dr. likes you.

    I don’t want to come off sounding unsympathetic Kate. I just have been through this with a few friends & you start to see a pattern after a bit. You must let it sink in that you are in a Real, Huge battle & you must try Everything possible – not only what your Drs. say but what you read on your own that makes sense to you. Have you asked Jackson if he can make a special flower essence for you? That would be an add-on help.

    You are a STRONG Woman, You are a BRAVE Woman & You are a WARRIOR.

    YOU’RE in charge of this because YOU make the decisions. YOU got this Kate.

  • I’m sorry to hear about the aggressive nature of your cancer but YOU GOT THIS!!! I went thru A/C chemo starting in July of 2016. Here are my pointers for dealing with nausea: 1. BRATS diet, Bananas, Rice (steamed white, nor seasoning or butter), Apple sauce, Toast and Saltines. I will ad to this Ginger Tea. It was a lifesaver for me. You can try ginger ale but the fizziness made me more nauseous. Eat every hour or so. The idea is to keep your stomach from getting empty. Just a small meal or snack, nothing too big and nothing spicy. Take your anti-nausea meds BEFORE you get nauseous….prevent, rather than treat. If they only give you Zofran and Phenagrine as k for Comprazine. It was the only thing that touched my nausea and by the fourth treatment, nothing did. You will need to crunch on ice while they are pushing your A/C to help keep from getting mouth sores. The second treatment on, you will be able to taste the drugs and they are NASTY so you will want to have something like a flavored Popsicle or slushie or something like that. I know you probably want to avoid sugar, but one battle at a time. (: One of best pieces of advice I got from a fellow survivor (my aunt) is sleep whenever you can. You will get powerful steroids to help combat the side effects from the chemo and they will keep you from sleeping. SO, again: sleep whenever you feel like it. I highly recommend joining a support group, locally or online. I’m in a great one on facebook if you would like the information. It is a closed group for women cancer survivors (ALL Cancers). You can go to ask question, vent, celebrate, anything! I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with info. I’m a “details” person and I wanted to know it all! Feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat or get the facebook group info!

  • You KNOW you’re always in my thoughts and *PRAYERS*, Kate. Get plenty of C.A.T. (Cat-Assisted Therapy) to beat this thing. Tarifa, Baby Su, and Elvis are purrin’ for their Aunt Kate to get 100% better REAL SOON.

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