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Posted 2018-07-27T15:03:08Z

Ahhhhh Life is Good!

Hi all,

My updates are getting more infrequent and that’s a good thing, so when you don’t hear from me, know that all is good.  I am doing GREAT!  I’ve recovered from the reversal surgery well, other than some lingering bathroom issues, but I can deal with that.  I feel like my journey through cancer has come to an end and life is returning to normal ... just a new normal.  I have no signs of cancer in me and my cancer markers are next to nothing!  Yeah!  I tell people that I feel normal, almost like I never went through all that I went through.  But my belly shows otherwise with the roadmap of scars and my psyche is filled with more gratitude.  It’s amazing how an extremely hard circumstance like cancer can fill you with more joy and appreciation, but it does.  Not that I’d wish hard circumstances on anyone.  Some of you are going through cancer treatments right now (or other tough circumstances), and I have to say “fight hard and keep the faith”. It can get better!  It does get better!  There is always HOPE!  My journey was very difficult at times and I had an ever present heightened awareness of my mortality.  I don’t think that will go away entirely, and maybe that’s a good thing.  It gives me reason to be joyful right now ... today, in this moment.  And to celebrate my return to good health and all those around me (you)!  I’m fully aware that Ovarian Cancer has a high rate of reoccurrence and if that happens to me, I know I will resume the fight.  My prayer is that I won’t have to.  There are so many new treatments and I feel like I had the best care team.  I truly credit Johns Hopkins and MD Oncology with saving my life ... all through the grace of God!  [...]

Posted 2018-06-29T01:36:26Z

Final Leg of the Journey

Hi all,

Well the surgery to reverse my ileostomy went well yesterday!  This was one surgery that I was looking forward to.  Now on to healing and allowing my system to settle (may take a little while).  I am so thrilled to have this behind me.  I should be heading home from the hospital tomorrow.  It’s all good from here on out!  Whew, what a ride into unknown territory with twists and turns around every bend.  I hope and pray that this will all be a “one and done” illness never to reoccur.  My oncologist is starting the process of applying to my insurance to put me on a long term maintenance medication called a PARP inhibitor.  Those with the BRCA gene mutation do especially well on these.  I’m all for it![...]

Posted 2018-06-12T01:13:48Z

Finally the sun is shining again!

Hi all,

Yes, the sun is shining again for me and the bumps in the road are in my rear view window.  Yeah!  After my 2 hospital stays, I am now feeling so much better (must have been those 2 blood transfusions) and can begin to feel like like my pre-diagnosis self again.  I can breath better, have much better stamina, and have my energy back.  I’m walking again (when it’s not pouring down rain) and I just feel really good.  I’m still going through lots of tests (more CT scans, echocardiogram, complete physical, blood work) and have to still go for IV Fluids twice a week ... but these are in anticipation of my surgery to reverse the ileostomy which has been scheduled for June 27th.  Oh that will be a happy day!  [...]

Posted 2018-05-30T12:51:07Z

..... and think yet again!

Hi all,

Well the finish line is still a moving target.  I spent this last weekend in the hospital, yet again!  Last Friday my blood counts dropped to an unsafe level (primarily platelets) so they admitted me to Hopkins hospital this time.  My surgeon wanted me to have an IVC filter put in for the blood clots, so they quickly did that last Friday evening.  I have to say that did give me some comfort knowing that if any more blood clots decided to travel that they would be caught before reaching my lungs.  Blood clots aren’t something to mess with.  Saturday they did a scan of my brain and abdomen and all are clear.  Yeah!  That was the first scan done since before the surgery.  The rest of the weekend was spent trying to pump me up ... 2 blood transfusions, replacing electrolytes (magnesium, potassium), fluids, and monitoring my VERY low blood pressure.  They also took me off the blood thinners until my platelet counts are high enough to support going back on them.  I was discharged on Monday and am taking it easy and trying to get my strength back.  I told my oncologist that if I need to be hospitalized again to please send me to Bayview so I can submit my reviews to Trip Advisor!  Haha ... gotta keep laughing!  [...]

Posted 2018-05-23T13:19:19Z

..... and think again!

Hi all,

Well, the journey continues.  Last week I was hospitalized again, this time for the pulmonary embolisms.  My symptoms worsened so my doctor admitted me to the hospital in order to get on a Heparin drip and to be watched.  I was admitted last Wednesday and discharged on Saturday (yes, I had to watch the royal wedding from my hospital bed).  They also discovered I have a clot in my left leg.  Now my surgeon is saying that I should have a temporary IVC block inserted just in case the clot decides to travel to my lungs.  So next steps are to see her in the next week or two for another CT scan (I haven’t had one since before surgery) and to discuss this.  This new development will also delay my final surgery (reversal of my Ileostomy). But there is a silver lining .... my doctor says I am done chemotherapy and can forgo the last 2 treatments.  Yeah!  I’m so happy about that.  Now I can begin to feel better and slowly get my strength back.  I guess now that I’m done with the chemo treatments, I’m officially a SURVIVOR!  I’m ready to put this journey behind me![...]

Posted 2018-05-15T13:08:05Z

Just when you think the journey’s almost over ... think again!

Hi all,

Just a quick update.  I’m down to my last 2 chemo sessions, yeah, but starting late last week, I began to not feel so good (weak and short of breath).  So when I went in for my chemo yesterday, I begged them not to give it to me (they didn’t).  I just didn’t think I could take it.  With my shortness of breath and tightness in my chest symptoms, they decided to send me for a chest CT scan which came back saying I have pulmonary embolisms in my lungs.  So now I have to give myself shots twice a day for the foreseeable future until they clear up.  Evidently, pulmonary embolisms are a risk while going through chemo.  I’m just so grateful that my doctors office was proactive and that there’s a solution for it.  But boy this journey through chemo just won’t end!  [...]

Posted 2018-04-30T17:40:40Z

“I Will Survive”

Hi all,

It’s been a few weeks since my last update.  I’m doing well ... as well as I can be doing given I’m still going through treatment.  Last week, I needed another blood transfusion (for low red blood cells) and more shots of Neupogen (for low white blood cells).  While those two have come back nicely, and I feel so much better, my platelets dropped really low again.  So today I wasn’t able to receive the chemo as a result which means another delay in crossing the finish line.  I’m so looking forward to that day!  It can’t get here soon enough.  I have so much of this journey now in my rear view window (yeah!) but the remaining treatments and surgery just seem to keep getting pushed out farther and farther.  I always thought of myself as a patient person so I’m trying to stay that way, but for goodness sakes God, let me finish .... please!  [...]

Posted 2018-04-12T00:12:52Z

Quick update

Hi all,

Just a quick update. I’m again reminded of the unpredictability of this journey and to be patient. All I know is that God’s got it! I had 2 weeks off from chemo ... first due to low platelets then due to low white blood cells. I’m back on track this week but finding the side effects today to be hard. I’m hoping the warm weather in the next few days are just what the doctor orders and that I can get outside to enjoy![...]

Posted 2018-03-25T18:18:51Z

Falling in a Sewer .....

Hi all,
You’ve all heard the phrase that someone could fall in a pile of (you know what) and come out smelling like a rose. Well, my mom had her own version of that phrase and used it many times to describe me. She would say “Julie could fall in a sewer and she’d come out with a piano on her back”. Funny, I know. Maybe it’s because I played the piano that she used that as the example. Or maybe it’s because I fell into a sewer often. Ok, I’m kidding on this one as I truly don’t think I did. But one thing I do know .... life pushed me into the sewer on several occasions! I didn’t go willingly.[...]