2016 GWAPR Annual Fundraiser

I can’t believe that a week has already passed since our Gift With A Pink Ribbon Annual Fundraising event in Naples, FL on October 27th, 2016.¬†Where does the time go?

It was such an exciting night! ūüėÄ

I had the opportunity to reunite with people that have been such a big part of my life growing up in Naples, and was also able to meet so many new faces. I can honestly say that I am still blown away by the turn out.

Gift With A Pink Ribbon was able to¬†raise almost $2000 that evening, with the help of all of our Sponsors and Supporters. Wow! ūüėÄ

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I definitely had big dreams for GWAPR when I first started the organization, but I am truly humbled to see how many people have come together to support my mission.

The reality is that, GWAPR would not be what it is today without all of the help and support of family, friends, colleagues, our wonderful volunteers and generous sponsors.

I am eternally grateful to the time and dedication everyone has put into making this dream a reality, and I look forward to touching more lives as GWAPR continues to grow.

Stay tuned,

Elizabeth ūüėÄ ‚̧

 

Are you interested in making a donation or learning more about our cause? Click Here! ūüôā

 

 

Decisions, Decisions…

Before I talk about what is currently happening, it’s important that I bring you¬† up to speed with what has¬†occurred¬†over the last month. I’ve provided a brief summary below for your reading pleasure. ūüėČ

  • I was informed in¬†February that my¬†AST and ALT¬†exam¬†(commonly referred to as liver function test) returned with abnormally high readings. I was then asked to stop my medications temporarily,¬†to give¬†my liver time to recover from the side effects of the injections and oral medication I was taking.
  • I also had¬† a CT scan of the abdomen, full body¬†PET scan and pelvic ultrasound. The recommended MRI I was scheduled for, had to be canceled because of the type of expanders¬†I have had in place since the start of my breast reconstruction. Unfortunately,¬†the¬†MRI will have to wait until after my expanders have been removed.
  • In March, I received news that my AST and ALT¬†bloodwork exam had returned within normal limits. Yay! ūüôā
  • During this past month, I had also scheduled my surgery to have the expanders removed, and replaced with my final implants. I’m nervous, but at the same time excited to finally be changing out my expanders, for something I am told is far more comfortable.

As you can see, a lot has happened since my last post, which brings me to present day.

This past week I received a call from my doctors office and essentially, the recommendations¬†based on all that has occurred, are as follows…

  1. Resume my Zoladex* injections, and begin taking the Tamoxifen* I had taken once before prior to my second journey with breast cancer.
  2. Have a hysterectomy*, and as a result, not have to have the injections administered every month.
  3. Not take anything at all, and assume the chance of recurrence.

…

So what are my thoughts on these options?

Let’s take a closer look…

…

Option 1

My doctor¬†suggested this option because she felt as though I may have had a recurrence of cancer, as a result of my not¬†having had the Zoladex¬†injections, while being treated with¬†the Tamoxifen. This may be true, which in turn makes it something to consider. The medication has worked for so many of the women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and it could be a way for it to work for me too.

Option 2

This is one I have strongly considered however, my plastic surgeon is not willing to do two surgeries at once since I¬†have had¬†radiation treatment in the past.¬†My risk of infection after the surgery would be much to high for him to even consider the option. Once again, I’m thankful for physicians that tend to play it safe, because I personally didn’t even consider this consequence, when suggesting a 2 in 1 surgery.

With this being the case,¬†I will unfortunately have to wait a year or so for the hysterectomy, because it’s something I would have to¬†plan around my work schedule. After some additional consideration, I think I’d also prefer¬†to close one chapter in¬†my journey, before opening another. Having a complete hysterectomy at this age, with no children, will have it’s own emotional challenges to cope with.

Option3

After realizing that the choice to not take any medications, does not resemble my white flag of surrendering, I began to reflect on my current way of life. The side effects of the injection, as well as what I have experienced with the Tamoxifen in the past,¬†is more than I am currently willing to tolerate. This may be a bit selfish, but it’s been very difficult to deal with daily pain and inflammation, memory loss, severe hot flashes, emotional ups and downs, and to top it all off, a decreased libido at the age of 33!

I did after all experience a recurrence, even though my chances then were said to be slim to none, so why make myself miserable now for something that might not happen, or could still happen even with years of treatment?

And just for the record, I don’t blame my doctors for this recurrence. There truly is¬†no way¬†a physician¬†can ever guarantee that cancer will not return when undergoing treatment, and it would be unfair for me to put that kind of pressure on such an individual. I ultimately consider myself blessed to have such wonderful doctors¬†taking care of me. ūüôā

So after what I hoped to be the shorter version of all that’s occurred, this is where I stand today; Confused and very uncertain of the “right” decision to make.

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The only thing I do know in this moement, is that my gut is telling me to live for today, and to for once stop thinking about the “what if”.

In other words, perhaps no meds for now,  followed by a hysterectomy in the future. At least this way, I can enjoy a better way of life for the time being and than later, decrease the chances of recurrence with the recommended hysterectomy.

That’s all for now, but until then…

Stay tuned,

Elizabeth ūüėČ

 

 

 

What are your thoughts?

I’d love to¬†hear from you! Click Here to provide your feedback. ūüôā

 

 

Helpful links

 

Information on Zoladex- http://www.drugs.com/zoladex.html

Information on Tamoxifen- http://www.drugs.com/tamoxifen.html

What is a hysterectomy?- http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments_and_procedures/hic_What_You_Need_to_Know_About_Hysterectomy