Good News!

I saw Dr. Robison this morning for my check up. She was pleased to see that my CA125 had stayed the same since last time. This is pretty telling considering that this is the longest stretch of time we have gone between blood tests. What we are doing is working! Since the outcome of this check up was so positive we have decided to space check-ups out to every three months. I will also have a CT scan in 6 months.

 

It feels great to be healthy 🙂

 

Advertisements

Making up for lost time

Here we are during the last week of summer. I went from having the worst year of my life to one of the best summers of my 25 years. Here is a recap almost entirely in photographs:

  • I visited my big brother Adam in California

photo-45

  • I reunited with my Torrington girls in NYChome
  • My hair grew long enough to go wigless for the last half of the summer!

20130717-122300.jpg

  • I went to Katie Brady Dalton’s lake house in Wisconsin for five days for a study abroad reunion with some of the Americans and Australians I lived with in Aus. during my time there. The Australians couldn’t get enough of the spectacle that is Walmart hence, our “People of Walmart” party seen below:

walmart

  • Two of my favorite couples from college got married one week apart

carlsonsolari

Which means that I had an awesome excuse to dress up and be surrounded by my tons of my  favorites two weekends in a row! (especially Major, my friend’s parent’s dog that happens to be the love of my life and the apple of my eye)

Carlson 2 major

Looking back on the summer I am just so grateful to be in good health and in good company!

My take home message is short and sweet:

There is life after cancer ❤ 

 

I LOVE love.

“The plan as of now is to do 6 cycles of chemo. I will go once every 3 weeks for about 5 hours each session. If I start when I plan to start I could possibly be finished by May and hopefully have hair starting to grow back for the summer. This is timed out well because I know two beautiful couples that expect me to be shaking my tail feather at their weddings in August. I intend to do that just that :)  (Katie/Bobby/Molly/Josh- when it’s time for the bouquet toss I make NO promises that I won’t throw my wig into the crowd of bachelorettes just to mix things up). That’s all I have for now. Thank you again for all of the love, positivity and prayer. Keep it coming.”

 

I wrote the portion above on December 11th of this past year. It was on the last day of my hospital stay at Yale for my first surgery. I was anxious and afraid of what was to come. Nonetheless, I had a glimmer of optimism. Four of my loveliest friends were getting married this summer and I would be damned if I wasn’t there to witness two beautiful days.

 

I am so proud to say that I did in fact “shake my tail feather” extensively last weekend at Molly and Josh’s wedding. CONGRATS MR. AND MRS. SOLARI!!!!!!!!!!

I am also pleased to share that tonight I will have the honor of attending Katie and Bobby’s rehearsal dinner and tomorrow their wedding.  I cannot wait for another beautiful day with two of the greatest friends a girl could have.

Pictures to come!!!!

 

(p.s. there was ultimately no wig tossing as my hair is coming in fierce)

Health Update: 9 Months Later

This past Friday I had an appointment with a genetic counselor at W&I Hospital at the recommendation of my oncologist and the insistence of my mother. A genetic counselor’s job is essentially to help identify genetic disorders and provide guidance to families based on the presence of a genetic disorder.

In my case, we are looking for the presence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. If I test positive the likelihood of developing other types of cancers are increased. My understanding is that if you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and carry a harmful gene mutation the chances of developing breast cancer is much higher, about 87%. Carrying the gene has implications for both myself and members of my family.

If I were to test positive, they would then encourage one of my parents to test. Let’s say for example that my mom then tested and tested negative. We would then know that the gene mutation came from my dad. We would then encourage my brother to test for the gene as it could potentially negatively impact him or his future children (particularly if he were to have a daughter). BRCA genes do not skip generations. Although you may carry the gene it does not mean that you will develop cancer. It just leaves you at a higher risk of developing cancer.

When speaking with the genetic counselor my parents and I went through our entire family history to the best of our knowledge. We focused on grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. We were able to identify two types of cancers on Dad’s side of the family. Only one of the two was a women’s cancer and neither was Ovarian. We are not very close with Dad’s family so I honestly had no idea about any of this history. My parents were kind enough to call a distant relative that they have been estranged from for information. Luckily, this relative was very warm and forthcoming with information.

Even with the small presence of cancer on Dad’s side of the family there were no established patterns. There is also no evidence of breast cancer on either side which is promising. Based on our family history, the genetic counselor is inclined to believe that I do not carry the gene and the cause is not genetic. I did a quick saliva test to be sure. We will know for sure once the test results come back in about five weeks.

I feel very indifferent about the test results. On one hand if I carry the gene that will help to explain the mystery of why I developed cancer. On the other hand it could potentially have implications for my family members. If I do not carry the gene there are other genetic tests that we can do but some of what they are testing for is relatively new in medical science and they do not have enough samples or background to draw conclusions about the “why”. I’m not necessarily anxious about the results. I am happy to test to ensure that we can take preventative measures for my family’s wellbeing.

Bottom line, at this point I have little interest in finding out why I got sick. I knew that I was such a medical enigma that I don’t think I ever really truly worried that much because it was made out to be so rare and complicated. If I test positive for BRCA we will take it form there. If I test negative I am going to keep moving along with my new happy healthy second chance at life.