A Dose of Reality

The beautiful Connecticut shoreline

The beautiful Connecticut shoreline

So the latest news on the cancer front is that my tumor markers have risen. Bummer, I know. But i’m not gonna freak out. I’m just using it as a catalyst to get myself back on track.

The CA 27-29 is a blood test that monitors tumor markers in breast cancer patients. It is far from foolproof and not commonly used as a guaranteed predictor of anything. But many doctors use it as an additional tool to monitor disease progression or possible return. I usually get tested every 4-6 weeks. Normal is below 40 and I have been consistently between 30-40 for a while now. Until a few weeks ago. Now it’s 70. Ugh!

But as I said, I’m not freaking out. I know tumor marker tests can be unreliable. I know things like inflammation (hello recent surgery!) and stress (hello recent move!) can cause a temporary rise in tumor marker levels. As can meds, liver & kidney problems, ovarian cysts, or fibroids. I don’t doubt that with everything that’s been going on lately my body just went on overdrive and produced a few more cancer cells. But I also believe that as my life settles down & I get serious about living healthy again (body, mind, and soul) that my body will naturally get rid of those extra cancer cells and my levels will go back to normal.

So this is where I’m at. Recognizing the fragility of the balance between NED (no evidence of disease) and getting cancer again. It is another reminder of the life-long commitment I must make to live as healthy possible. To decrease stress. To eat right. To exercise daily. To meditate. To understand & honour my truth. To let go of stuff and people that are no longer helpful. To get out there & have fun. To do my part to make this world a better place. When I do this cancer doesn’t stand a chance!

Knowing this, I am working hard to assemble my new healthcare team… Not only do I need a new oncologist, but I also need a Reiki therapist, physical therapist, and psychotherapist. As well as a Naturopath. So far, I think I’ve lined up 2 out of the 5. Fingers crossed that my upcoming appointments work out and the new graceful woman warrior team will be complete.

A few nights ago I had my first reiki appointment here in Connecticut and it was awesome! I went in with pain, tension, and stress and left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.  I told her nothing about my recent surgery or the pain I was in.  Despite that she instinctively knew what parts of my body needed healing.  Pretty awesome.

I don’t know if reiki works because I believe it will. Or because there is a genuine energetic shift inside me during our sessions.  I know the mind is powerful.  But I also believe that the world, and all living creatures, are simply energy.  Able to shift and be shaped through energetic pathways that are beyond scientific study. Not everything can be explained, rationalized, or understood.  There is definitely something bigger out there. Beyond what our human brains can comprehend.  And for whatever reason, reiki and I just seem to work well together.

I also want to say thank you to those who reached out after my last post to tell me I’m not alone in standing up for what I believe and charting a different path.  I appreciate your stories, your strength, and your courage.  And I am psyched to connect with you further.  I know how important support and connections are for healing. And I know there’s only so much my friends & family can truly understand about what I’m going through.  I need to connect with other holistic breast cancer warriors.

Well, I always say that everything happens for a reason. The way I see it, the rise in tumor markers was an example of what can happen with I get stressed and off track. Nothing major. Just a little reminder…  A dose of reality.  Yes, you have advanced breast cancer. Yes, it can kill you. Yes, you need to take this seriously.  Yes, you need to get your ass back on track.

But underneath it all I still remain rooted in a sense of knowing that I can and will beat this. That it is possible. I can do this.  And I know our new life here in Connecticut is going to help make that happen.

This morning I explored the forest hiking trails that are within walking distance of our new house. A few minutes in I discovered a majestic babbling creek shaded by gorgeous oak trees and I was immediately crying tears of joy.  During my reiki session this week I had imagined a healing place just like this – a peaceful and serene place, with big leafy trees, and sunlight peaking through the branches above.  Now it was here in front of me.  I looked to the sky, tears streaming down my face, and said a big thank you to my mom and the universe for bringing this to me.  Just moments from my new home.

Today, despite all the unsettling aspects of my life I am still filled with gratitude.  Thankful for the beauty and healing energies of nature. Thankful for the gift of our new home. Our first home. Thankful for these gorgeous sea-side towns.  Thankful for the support and love that continues to surround us.  Thankful for this next chapter in our lives.  Thankful for the gift of another day.

Peace.  – T

PS – I know some of you are eagerly anticipating the next segment of our Be Your Truth Pact website (www.beyourtruthpact.com).  There should be a post up in the next few days from Auntie ‘Cole.  Then I think we may have to get Jeanne to finish part 2 of her story with the tax lady before I get to posting my thoughts.  Stay tuned…

Celebrating Nana's birthday in Provincetown!

Celebrating Nana’s birthday in Provincetown!

Enjoying the Mystic Aquarium

Enjoying the Mystic Aquarium

Miss M documenting our goofy moments at the hotel

Miss M documenting our goofy moments at the hotel

22 Responses

    • Hi Gale! Thanks for the offer. I’m looking for doctors anywhere between New Haven to Hartford to New London to Providence, RI. I have another appointment this week with potential doctor #2. Fingers crossed. Hope you’re doing well. Big hugs and warm wishes from the east coast… – T

  1. Luanna,
    You continue to inspire every spirit you encounter. This is one of the most powerful and impactful posts you have ever shared. I’m blessed to call you my best friend and Earth Angel.
    Aunty ‘Cole

  2. Whole lotta stress in recent past – but now you’re settled and making real progress again. And you look great! Not just physically, but your humor and energy too. Marisa looks splendid, too :-). The Universe has spoken its love for you with that refuge and heart-home by the creek, and I’m so glad it’s so near to your door! Yup, you need to get back on track, and you *are.* Best of luck and quickness in assembling your new team; I’m sure you’re on track there, too.

    • Thanks Elizabeth. Your words are so kind and thoughtful. All the support really keeps me going. I am so blessed to have such great support behind me – from this blog, the cancer community, and all my family and friends. It’s a big reason why I’m able to do what I do. Sending you big hugs! – T

  3. Wow… Your Auntie is once again blown away by your wisdom, determination, knowledge and intrinsic belief in your self and your journey. I feel so honored and deeply grateful to be accompanying you and your magical family for the ride…
    Love you to pieces, Auntie L
    PS- When you described your new haven in the woods, I felt your mother hovering next to me. it sounds EXACTLY like the waterfall/brook in Nova Scotia where she led me to figure out my own roadblocks…

  4. Tears of joy for you and your special place in the woods!! I know how helpful and healing that can be! I, too, and almost ready to commit to putting an offer on a house that abuts the waterworks in Rochester- tons of trails! The house isn’t perfect, but sometimes we just have to give a little to get somethin’….

  5. I think you’re so right about the markers not being the end-all but just a warning. Your body is amazing, and it always tells you when something is out of balance so you have the opportunity to fix it. Most people just don’t know how to listen. I know I’m biased, but I think you should draft a chiropractor for your team. It really helps not only with aches and pains but with immunity. Just sayin’. :)

  6. I need a little kick in the ass myself – thank you for the reminder and inspiration to pull my act together and stop messing around! It is so hard to lose focus and get bogged down in everything “cancer” related. I love my reiki practitioner but life has gotten in the way of me going lately, I haven’t meditated in ages and my stress is rising. Time to refocus and recharge! Be Well and Keep Fighting the Fight! Andrea O’Halloran

  7. You are such an inspiration. Your glass is always half-full and rather than let negative news get you down, you know how to see the message as a warning, and make the needed changes. Your new healing place sounds perfect :)

    • Thanks Val! I’ve been following Callie’s journey through Facebook and am so thrilled to see her doing so well! Enjoying life and smiling lots. Both your girls are adorable. Seeing the simple things she gets pleasure from remind me to do the same. I think about your family often and will keep sending good energy your way. Hugs, – T

  8. Terri, Iv’e been following your post for quite some time now and always do ask for you through family. As I have followed your ups and downs defeats and conquers, one simple thing always sticks within my being about you……You have achieved a place of being personally that I could only wish to reach. Yes Terri, you may have a disease that is telling you one thing…but you have a way of telling it no…not yet. I admire all you have to write and although I do not go through what you do as far as cancer, I believe you have taught me a lot….much love and faith xoxoxo Lisa

    • Wow! Thanks Lisa! It’s always interesting to hear other people’s perceptions of yourself. Of course, I personally feel like I’m tearing at the seams most of the time. Trying over & over again to learn the lessons. But I appreciate the vote of confidence. And I’m so happy that my blog seems to help and inspire other people. Wishing you much happiness… xoxo – T

  9. Terri, warm greetings from the Salish Sea. I keep thinking about your heading — a dose of reality. It is a dose of reality all right — but so is moving back east, your wonderful circle of friends and family, your loving and beautiful daughter, your loyal partner, your warrior mom and beautiful dreamer dad, and especially your own commitment to your life and health. Such an amazing and wonderful life, and a reality both bitter and sweet —
    with love,
    Mary (from your Mom’s sangha)

    • You are so right Mary… Life is truly bitter sweet, eh? Most days I’m pretty good at seeing the sweet side of things. And I credit a lot of that to my mom and her life long Buddhist practice which i’m not even sure she realized had such an influence on me. It’s so great to hear from mom’s sangha buddies too. And thanks for the reminder about all that’s sweet in life. xoxo

  10. Would you like to check out the Kushi Institute in western MA? Perhaps it’s not too far from you. They have good info. Love to you . M

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