By Vanessa

My update: March 12, 2013

[Vanessa wrote this post by speaking these thoughts aloud and I (Jessica) just typed. :)]

Hello friends and family! :)

It’s been quite a while since you’ve heard from me, so I think it’s a good time to tell you! ;)

In general, it’s going great. All of you are helping me a lot, and I really enjoy it.

I still have the motto of living sincerely, and living each day to its fullest, which actually is rather easy. So I hope you all are willing to do this. It’s my main goal for you to have a good life!

What do you think would make your life better? I’d be willing to help you with it, if you need it. :)

Right now, I don’t have any new medical difficulties. But I still have the ones I had before. So I tend to usually ignore the bad parts (like the medicines and the pain and the details and the stages).

So far I’ve had lots of help from all of you, with meals and gift cards and visits. Jess is working on setting up an online schedule for times more people can visit, so it’ll be coming soon!

Right now, I’m still stage 4 and in hospice, who visit me every week to make sure I have my medicine and to flush my port when it needs it.

Right now I think about death sometimes. I know it will happen and it’s really hard because I fear my family will bear the worst of it. So when it does happen, please help them.

I don’t really understand where I will go when I die. I guess where you go you stay there forever, but I don’t get what it’ll look like. Are we humans in a different place? Do we still talk? What is heaven and what do we do there? Do we dance around and sing? I have these questions, but I also don’t feel very religious. I hope I will be able to communicate with you all still living. That would be exciting because I could participate and know what is happening still. I know it’ll happen so I’ll just have to deal with it the best way I can.

The little boys I am thinking about, Jess’ kids, might not understand what happened and where I will be, so I asked Jess to try to explain it to them. Being so young and not real mature they will need a different explanation.

So in general, everyone is in my thoughts. Especially Billy. I can’t even imagine how he is dealing with it and being ok. So far he’s been my biggest supporter. So please remember him when I am gone, and help him out. I hope he can continue life and maybe even find another relationship when the time is right. I’m glad we’ve been together so far and really love each other. Billy likes to talk about me to his friends (Bosom Buddies shout out!), so I hope he’ll be ok.

Mom and Dad have been great too. But for them it might be even harder to accept and move on. I want Mom to simply talk to others and get through it and learn how to handle it. Dad doesn’t like to talk about it, but just gives me great hugs (he’s the best hugger in the world). I hope he can connect with Mom about this and talk to his buddies.

I can tell you what happened 10 years ago, but not yesterday because my memory is pretty much gone. So I might need some reminders. This will make it all real, and when I remember, it makes me feel better. :)

I’m not having much pain. Sometimes I get headaches, but most days I am great. I can go up the steps just fine.

Lately I have thought about wanting to help some babies, kids or animals. I always wave at kids everywhere I go. Me and Billy and Reuben went to the pet store for our dog, and they watched me pet the little kittens. They were really cute! :) Since we can’t have children, I would like to help ones that need it.

I know I am important to you, but lots of people need help. So just remember if you can do that, it will be good for them.

[~Here I (Jess) prompted her to end each sentence I started:]

~I am sad about: not being able to have my own children.

~I am happy about: your support so far. And I know it will continue, so thank you very much.

~I am worried about: I don’t want my family to get in a twist and feel real sad.

~I am excited about: Living sincerely, helping people, spreading the word.

Thanks for reading and learning about me.

V :)

Live Sincerely! (Jun 6, 2012)

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Jun 6, 2012 9:11pm

OK, friends and family, I think you all know that my long term motto has been “Live Sincerely” (in fact, I have it tattooed on my ankle), so I really mean it! I have been getting through my brain radiation a few weeks ago, and am feeling pretty good right about now. I had some hard times with headaches and vomiting but am feeling much better now… had to take steroids due to my brain radiation making my brain swell, the steroids ended up causing me to get a bad skin rash :(

And my MRI I just took was inconclusive and didn’t verify what is going on, so I need to take another one in a few weeks. Which sucks because the MRI was so loud! I had headphones that played the radio, but it was not near loud enough to block out the MRI pounding sounds!

I am so excited my Live Sincerely Get-Together was so awesome over the past weekend! Thanks for everyone who stopped by to enjoy it with me! It was officially my Live Sincerely Get Together party down on the Purple People bridge between Newport and Cincinnati!

Even though the event is over, we have a more generic site that will show more of the photobooth pics: “www.thelivesincerelyproject.com” I’m glad you all got pics taken…its like a photo guest book for me. :)

You wanna make sure you get there because there will be a photographer taking free photo booth pics of you all! Also, Christina’s band: Yearbook Committee (www.yearbookcommittee.org) was be there performing from the bridge! They are awesome to listen to as a live performance! I know you loved them! Didn’t you?

Mar 13, 2012

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Mar 13, 2012 5:23pm

Hello again friends and family! So Thursday, March 15 will be my 5-year cancer anniversary, but unfortunately I will never be able to celebrate the coveted “5-year cancer free celebration” (the typical time period where if you make it 5 yrs you are in the clear). My original breast cancer has spread to pretty much everywhere over the years; mainly almost every bone in my body, my lungs, my lymph nodes, and my brain lining. AND as of my MRI last week, I now have it in my actual brain. I was having unusual and unbearable headaches, I went to my oncologist yesterday who confirmed that the MRI showed that it has spread to my brain too. And weirdly enough, because of the blood/brain barrier, the brain tumor simply did not transfer from my brain lining right into my brain, so therefore my head port will not be helpful in administering chemo, so my best option is more radiation to my head. I visited the radiologist this afternoon to get a better idea of what needs to happen. Basically I needful brain radiation at this point.

I am super bummed and not thrilled about any of this. My hair is finally starting to grow in from my last radiation so I have to look forward to it all falling out again. And actual brain cancer scares the crap out of me. Just seems like the brain controls everything so if it is compromised, who knows what will ultimately happen in the future… But I have decided to spend my time with the people I love and create some “big” moments to look forward to:

– First of all, i will go to Austin, TX at the end of the week and support Christina and Yearbook Committee at the South by Southwest music festival (so proud of her!)
– My entire family is scheduled to go camping over memorial day weekend
– I will soon be a Godmother again
– Me & Billy plan to travel to The SCAR Project in Washington, DC in October
– I want to plan a “Live Sincerely” party (stay tuned!)

Keep in touch for more info and details about all my junk going on right now. I hate being the bearer of bad news, but I know most of you want to be updated with everything. And I appreciate all the love and support!

Dec 6, 2011

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Dec 6, 2011 8:09pm

Hello friends! My last post was 2 months ago, so I apologize for not posting more often. Truth is, the last 2 months had been pretty crappy. I started my treatment of Methotrexate using my Ommaya Reservoir (port in my brain) and it really took a toll on me. Major fatigue, major nausea, major vomiting, major depression….just all around not good.

And I had to do this treatment every week, so needless to say, I DID NOT feel good. At the same time, I also started an anti-hormone treatment (Faslodex), which entailed 2 (very large and painful) shots in my butt. The medicine is really thick like glue, so the shot can’t be quick and it just kinda stays where they put it. You literally can feel a knot afterwards, but luckily a heating pad helps.

Anyway, I’m down to just getting everything once a month. So when I go in I get poked in my head, poked in my butt twice, and poked in my port (for my bone strengthener which I have been getting for a long time). It’s not fun, but at least it’s all done at once!

My hair has yet to grow back which isn’t good news for winter. But my nausea and vomiting have seemed to have gotten better. I still get really fatigued most days though.

Billy & I had the chance to go to Toronto in November, where they were screening “Baring It All” at a film festival called Breast Fest. They showed other films about breast cancer and had some speaker panels, so it was neat to have been a part of it. They even pulled me & Billy up on stage with the photographer and producer after our film showed to answer questions. I think we blabbed our way through it good enough!

While we were in Toronto, I got my picture taken by David Jay again for the SCAR Project. Actually me AND Billy did together. David’s vision was to not just show me as a breast cancer survivor by myself, but to also show the very important person in my journey. I am pleased with the final picture and see nothing but love, support and devotion. . You can see the pic in the SCAR Project image gallery on the website: http://www.thescarproject.org/gallery/

Speaking of Billy, he puts up with so much he shouldn’t have to and does it without question. There are days where I’m sure things are more difficult and stressful for him than for me. He wears a lot of hats around here. So, I know everyone is always asking how they can help me out, but I think Billy would benefit the most. And he is much less stubborn than me and would probably accept and gladly welcome any offered help…just sayin’. :)

Oct 9, 2011

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Oct 9, 2011 12:07pm

Hello friends! So Jess had baby #3 two weeks ago on Sat Sep 24. His name is Leo V (and yes, the V is named after me!) He is super cute and has lots of really dark hair. He came very fast (Jason called mom to come watch the other 2 boys at 7:40 Sat night, then raced to the hospital with Jess, and Leo was born by 8:20!) I am so excited to have another nephew to play with and spoil! :)

And thank you to everyone who made it out to The SCAR Project last weekend! Both to see the exhibit or to volunteer! It was so nice to see such a good turnout! Did you all see the article about me that Lauren Bishop did for the Enquirer? USA Today picked it up and had it online!: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/medical/breastcancer/story/2011-09-30/SCAR-Project-shows-raw-reality-of-breast-cancer/50616200/1

So on to me… as you know I did 10 whole brain radiation treatments that finished up last week, so I am finished with all those. They made me very sick at first and needed to go in for fluids because of all the nausea and vomiting. But it got better towards the end.

Then last week Thurs I went in for surgery to have a port put in my head called an Ommaya Reservoir. They basically drill a hole in my skull, then implant a device under my skin that sits on top of my skull with a tube that goes down into my brain, so that when they use it to administer chemo, it goes directly to the spot that needs it. I learned that with regular chemo, the blood/brain barrier prevents the chemo from ever reaching your brain, so with this special port, they can make sure it gets to the right spot. So I think I will start this chemo next week , and I believe it is just a once-a-month treatment.

All in all I am feeling pretty good, just really tired and worn out from the crazy busy SCAR Project weekend and from surgery. The radiation made me lose my hair, but the chemo isn’t supposed to have many side effects, so hopefully it will start growing back soon.

So, last update I challenged you all to Live Sincerely. What are YOU doing to make this happen? I’d love to hear what changes or adjustments you have made in your life to truly Live Sincerely. :)

Insane in the Membrane (Sep 11, 2011)

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Sep 11, 2011 11:17pm

There is so much going on, I don’t even know where to begin!

Lots of info to share… good news and bad news… so please be sure to read through to the end.

I gotta start with the good stuff first:

Jessica’s due date is fast approaching (Sep 20), so super-cute nephew #3 will be here any day!

Also, all of The SCAR Project festivities will be here before I know it! There really is something for everyone: fancier events where you can meet the photographer and see the exhibit, gallery walk-through tours, general admission times, and even a newly added afterparty. Some people are confused as to what everything is, so here is the inside scoop to hopefully clarify a few things:

Thurs Opening Night Gala – 9/29: ($200/ticket) we mostly invited doctors and sponsors, but it is open to anyone. Fancy (suits / cocktail dress) with wine, and light food. There is talk that with every Gala ticket purchased, you will get a bonus walk-through ticket + 10 general admission tickets too, to have sales pick up a little. Buy tix: http://thescarprojectcincy.eventbrite.com

Fri Friends and Family Cocktail Celebration 9/30: ($50/ticket) similar to Thurs night but invited friends & family, cheaper price, a little more of a relaxed atmosphere, and what I would probably push for people attending over the Thurs Gala. Fancy (suits / cocktail dress) but probably not as fancy as Thurs, with wine, and light food. If price is a problem, please let me know. I don’t want to have people not come simply b/c of price… Also, the link to buy tix is different: http://thescarprojectcincyfriendsandfamily.eventbrite.com/

Sat Official Afterparty 10/1: ($3 suggested donation) we are doing a fun party at a different venue, with live music by Yearbook Committee (my sisters band who is super awesome!). At The Avenue Lounge in Covington (www.theavenuelounge.com), 10 min from the gallery. Can come after you go to the gallery, or just stop in for the show. Doors open at 7:00, music starts at 9:00. Half price wine specials. Proceeds to benefit The SCAR Project. Event info: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=158974420855622

Walk-Through tours with Photographer: ($35/ ticket) there are 5 different ones scheduled throughout the weekend if you want to listen to the photographer talk about his experience taking the pics, etc. More intimate than General Admission and more of a group setting. Buy tix: http://thescarprojectcincy.eventbrite.com

General Admission Tickets: ($15/ ticket) many open times all weekend for general public. Cheapest option and not group led, so more of a do-it-at-your-own-pace type of atmosphere. Nothing fancy, just the exhibit. Buy tix: http://thescarprojectcincy.eventbrite.com

All other Cincy specific SCAR Project info is on the blog: http://thescarprojectcincy.blogspot.com/

Ok, on to the not-so-good stuff:

This is always difficult for me to share, because I don’t want to spring things on people, but…I had a head MRI last week b/c I was having severe headaches. Turns out there was a cluster of cancer cells that showed up on the scan. My doc explained that they are present in the protective lining of my brain, called the meninges. There are enough cells in the same place that have created a mass of sorts, large enough to make my skull buldge and push my brain out of the way. The doc also made sure to remind me that the caner isn’t actually in my brain, just pressing on it, which is good news I guess.

My mom made a good analogy that makes things easier to understand. So here goes: I always have cancer cells floating around in my body. Always. They like to party. They like to all go to the same place and “hang out”. When there is a party, I usually get a mass or area where the cancer cells are conglomerating, and only then is there a chance for them to show up on scans. So for me, it’s like I have to stay vigilant and see where the party will go to next. Then I get to start planning a party shut-down. This time the party is in my head. As I like to say now, I am officially insane in the membrane! :)

Anyway, I know that I will need to start radiation to my whole head. It is supposed to be everyday for 10 days, starting Tuesday. I followed up my head MRI last week with a spine MRI. The doc said that the meninges area surrounding the skull also goes down the spine, so if the cancer cells are partying anywhere else, it would probably be there. Tomorrow (Monday) I find out these results. Also I will learn if I need chemo again as well. I should have a better gameplan after my appt and will send an update when I can.

Also, it seems like so much has happened recently, even outside of my situation, that I have come to realize how precious life is and how lucky we are to share it with the ones who mean something to us. I’ve said it before, but I really mean it… live with passion. Live with intention. Live healthy. Live with no regrets. Live Sincerely.

I have to say that my recent news didn’t surprise me, but it of course is never easy to hear. I have really tried to think what would be helpful at this time. Some people have asked how they can help. The short answer is I don’t know yet. I do know that I don’t want to dwell on this really if I can help it. I want to keep a sense of normalcy whenever possible. So in the spirit of Living Sincerely, I would most appreciate for you all to look inward and maybe take some time improving your own situation, so you can be present in your own life. I realize this might be unconventional and unappealing, but it is what I want most right now.

There are so many people living lives with diseases or challenges that they did not choose, that they have no control over, but are trying to just make the best of it. So please look inside yourself and see if there are things you CAN do to make your OWN life better. :) Life’s not easy, but I am challenging everyone out there to live, really live. If for no one else, do it for me.

Much love to you all!!
V

The SCAR Project Friends & Family Night (Sep 2, 2011)

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Sep 2, 2011 2:51pm

Hello friends! Many of you might have gotten an email from me regarding The SCAR Project Friends & Family Night. If you did not, I will post the info here too. Will be a great event and I do hope you can come. Tickets are limited! See below..

Also, since the exhibit is getting close, it is getting press. And much of it is about me, since I am the Cincinnati girl. :)

Anyway, here are the links to 2 stories:

NKY.com article online (and should be in print version Thursday, Sep 8): http://cincinnati.com/blogs/campbellcountyconnects/2011/09/02/ncc-graduate-bares-it-all-for-breast-cancer-awareness/

Express Cincinnati article online (and maybe in print version?): http://expresscincinnati.p2ionline.com/flip/sitebase/index.aspx?adgroupid=134545&view=single&webstoryid=15497680&webstoryid2=15497680&FH=535#.Tl793MqIdEt.facebook

Ok, and on to the Friends and Family Night info:

It’s almost here folks! 30 more days until The SCAR Project exhibit is in Cincy.

I would like to invite you all to a very special private Friends & Family Night of Fri Sep 30. That gallery closes at 5:00 that night so that we can have a cocktail celebration with YOU – our friends & family! I am beyond excited about this, and really hope you can join me. You are the people who have been with me through everything, so I wouldn’t want to share this night with anyone but you all.

The space is limited and will definitely sell out, so PLEASE reserve/purchase your tix as soon as possible. You are the first to know about this event, so get your ticket before we spread the word…

(My suggestion is to purchase your tix even if you are not sure if you can make it. We can always refund your money, but when the tix are gone, you are outta luck!)

There will be lots of other stuff going on all that weekend, like an opening night gala on Thurs, gallery walk-through tours with the photographer, and regular general admission times, so if Fri doesn’t work out for you, not to worry — there will surely be something for you! Info about the weekend festivities is here:

http://thescarprojectcincy.blogspot.com/p/exhibition.html

_________________________

You are Invited
to a
private event featuring the
Pulitzer Nominated
The SCAR Project: Surviving Cancer. Absolute Reality.

Friday, September 30, 2011
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Art Design Consultants Gallery (in The Edge building)
310 Culvert Street, 5th Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Please join us for a Cocktail Party Celebration along with special guests:
• The SCAR Project photographer, David Jay, who will give a special gallery tour
• Filmmaker Patricia Zagarella, who produced “Baring It All,” the SCAR Project documentary
• Many SCAR Project participants who will be on hand to meet you

The event will be catered by Anne Lisbin’s Elegant Fare and wine will be provided by Party Source.

Music will be provided by Christina Blust and also The Kicked in Fence.

>>TICKETS<<
This is a private, by-invite-only event. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the following link:
http://thescarprojectcincyfriendsandfamily.eventbrite.com/

For more information regarding the the entire exhibition weekend, visit:
http://thescarprojectcincy.blogspot.com/p/exhibition.html

(No strollers, or children please due to adult subject matter and nudity. For questions please call Joules Evans at {deleted}… or me! :)

Jul 14, 2011

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Jul 14, 2011 2:26pm

Hi friends! Come watch the SCAR Project documentary at the gallery where the exhibit will show in the fall. (Blog post with details: http://thescarprojectcincy.blogspot.com/2011/07/scar-project-documentary-viewing-and.html)

Thursday, August 4th • 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Film will begin at 7:00 pm)
Art Design Consultants Gallery
310 Culvert Street, 5th Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Get Directions)

Please join the SCAR Project Cincinnati Planning Committee for cocktails, a
viewing of the SCAR Project documentary: “Baring It All,” and to meet
our beneficiary: Pink Ribbon Girls, as well as some of our sponsors and other
friends of the SCAR Project Cincinnati exhibit. Several
SCAR Project subjects will be attending, including Vanessa Tiemeier,
who was one of the 4 young women featured in the documentary. Also, we
will have a few door prizes to give away.

The SCAR Project Documentary Showing and Cocktail Party is gratis,
however we will be collecting donations for Jolene, a SCAR Project
subject who is currently at home in Hospice. (Her story)
We hope to have a limited supply of SCAR Project books and Baring It All
DVDs available for purchase that evening.

Jul 8, 2011

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Jul 8, 2011 11:20pm

Hi team! Don’t forget about The SCAR Project documentary airing tomorrow (Sat, July 9th) on the Style Network at 9pm. Here is a link about a review from the New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2011/07/04/2011-07-04_baring_it_all_documentary_reveals_intimate_portrayal_of_women_affected_by_breast.html

The Style Network channel has a few clips from the documentary already up online here: http://www.mystyle.com/mystyle/videos/v166944_style-exposed-baring-it-all.html

And yes! That IS in fact Christina’s song playing on the clip! I am so proud her music is part of everything. 2 of her songs are also in the documentary!

Here’s another clip of Marcy’s story…she is a fabulous girl: http://www.mystyle.com/mystyle/videos/v166943_style-exposed-marcys-cancer-scare.html

For those who can’t watch it or want it later, there will be a dvd available on Amazon here (right now it says “unavailable” but in a week or two, they will be available from the producer): book

Also, the SCAR Project website has been updated, so check it out: http://www.thescarproject.org/

And a good update from my PET scan a few weeks ago: no new spots! So right now everything is remaining stable and the plan is to continue on with current treatment.

Have a good weekend!
V

Jun 19, 2011

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Jun 19, 2011 12:15pm

Success! The Fox19 interview aired Friday and was great! Me & Jess are pleased with how it turned out, and think that Katy Morgan, the reporter really captured what we were hoping to convey. For those who missed it, here’s a link to watch it online:

{NOTE: Jessica editing this on 9/26/14 to link to an upload of the media clip, as the link to the Fox19 site no longer worked:}

Also, we learned that the SCAR Project documentary that I participated in will air on July 9th on the Style Network channel. There will probably be more info when it closer, but here is a link about the press release:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/style-network-announces-documentary-series-202529

I had a chance to watch a sneak peak of the documentary and I am really happy with it. It shows a completely different side of breast cancer and explores some of the unknown and often un-talked about challenges of living as a young breast cancer survivor. Also, Billy is in it and did great! And, Jess, Christina, Jason, Max & Myes made appearances, so it is a family affair. And to top it off, 2 of Christina’s original songs from her CD are in the documentary too! It is truly awesome that they could all be involved. :)

I am proud to be in the company of the other 3 girls featured in the documentary and am excited to have taken part in The SCAR Project photo exhibit that will be coming to Cincy in the fall. For everything related to the Cincy SCAR Project, here are some links:

http://thescarprojectcincy.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/#!/scarprojecttour
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-SCAR-Project/255064983743

Exciting times! Thanks for all the support! :)

V

Jun 14, 2011

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Jun 14, 2011 3:41pm

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to send a quick update… I go for my 3 month PET scan on Thursday, so wish me luck! Also, for my local friends, watch Fox19 this Friday, June 17th. I was interviewed for their Think Pink segment! They wanted to feature a young breast cancer survivor so they talked to me & Jess about my diagnosis, about my involvement in The SCAR Project, and our cancer cards as part of our design business. No idea what time it airs; they just said it would run in the morning, and probably again on the evening news. We will be sure to DVR it, and they usually post the interviews on their website, so I’ll share the link once it becomes available! Here is the link to the past Think Pink interviews:

http://www.fox19.com/category/207881/thinkpink?redirected=true

V :)

May 11, 2011

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted May 11, 2011 12:09am

Hi team! I am seriously failing in posting updates. :) My last post was 5 months ago. Really? Oh well, here’s the latest:

Keeping very busy with all sorts of stuff! Christina and her band, Yearbook Committee, played at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, TX in March, so me & Billy went down to Austin for a few days. It was really fun, and we got to go to all sorts of music gigs (thanks to our all access pass as YbC’s “crew”!) Then a few weeks after that, we went to Riviera Maya, Mexico (near Cancun) with Jess, Jason, Christina & David. A week of sun, beach, relaxing, shopping, siteseeing, and sister & brother-in-law bonding…just what the doctor ordered! If you want to see lots of pics from Mexico (and I mean LOTS), go here: {deleted}

Oh, and somewhere in there, me & Billy went to Ohio State University Hospital to get a second opinion and take advantage of the knowledge/opportunities of a larger facility. It was a good trip (thanks to Karen & Andy for letting us stay at their place!) and was nice to hear confirmation that we are on track and doing what we should be. The OSU doctor had all my tissue samples and tumor slides sent there so they could all be examined at the same time and to verify that my more recent spots/flare-ups (well, not so recent anymore) were in fact breast cancer that had metastisized, and not more primary spots of new cancer. So she confirmed that everything on my lip and scalp (from December) was the same as my original breast cancer. This means we stay the course and I continue to take my anti-hormone pills daily and get my monthly bone strengthener treatment. The OSU doctor also suggested we speak with the genetic counselor again, because there may be some advancements of the tests we did 4 years ago. She thought it might be a good idea to check in with them again, so we will do that soon.

Recently I became part of the planning committee working to bring The SCAR Project exhibit to Cincinnati, so it looks like it will be here September 29 – October 2. This is very exciting and can’t wait for you all to check it out. (I’m the only Cincy girl in the exhibit, so am one of the poster girls…yikes! Hello World!) Right now we are working on raising money and figuring out all the details, so stay tuned! Main hub of SCAR Project Cincy info: http://thescarprojectcincy.blogspot.com/

Also, lots more has happened with the documentary I was filmed for. The producer has finally secured some financial support from the Style Network, so she has had to adapt it for a TV episode instead of a film. It will highlight the stories of 4 of the girls photographed for The SCAR Project and dive a little deeper into their stories, and I was one of the 4 picked by Style. The producer was actually in town last weekend filming me, Billy, the boys, and mom & dad! She is thinking it probably won’t air til the fall, so I will let you know when I hear more!

Right now I am feeling pretty good and just trying to stay busy. I am still babysitting Max & Myles (and soon to be new Baby Yaeger!) so that keeps me on my toes. :)

Happy belated Mothers Day to all the moms out there, to those who would be moms if they could, and to all the women sharing maternal instincts with the kiddies in their lives (even if they aren’t theirs)! As a friend just told me: Cancer may take the eggs, but it can’t take the nest. Love can find a way. :)

I hope everyone is doing well!

V

Dec 8, 2010

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Dec 8, 2010 11:43pm

Hello everyone! So much has happened since my last post! Also, I just posted a few pics on here of the following things, so check those out too!

The SCAR Project opening in NYC was fantastic, and I got to meet a lot of the other girls who had been photographed, which was really neat. And filming for the documentary about the SCAR Project continued while we were there, so we had cameras around us quite often, and they also sat down me & Billy for an interview. We were both nervous, but I think we did OK. The producer for the film is trying to secure funding, as well as a network to air it, so I hope this can happen soon. Many networks are interested in it but are worried about it being a little off-beat or risky, however I feel this is real life, so how can it be something they don’t want to portray? Anyway, hopefully someday soon you all can watch what I keep taking about! (No I am not making it all up!) And I am still waiting for my SCAR Project exhibit book, which has all the photos and bios from the show in it. Plan to share that with everyone as soon as I get it!

Also, while I was in NYC, I got a tattoo! Got it done by the artist who did Angelina Jolie’s “Billy Bob” tattoo (if you don’t know what I am talking about, don’t worry about it). I got a pink peony and the words Live Sincerely on my left ankle. It’s my take on a pink ribbon I guess. We had pink peonies at our wedding and I love their fullness. Also, I found this ancient Japanese symbolism about them: “The peony is a potent symbol of beauty, of the fragility and fleeting nature of existence and the knowledge that acquiring great rewards comes only by taking great risks.” I think it fits!

Other big news: Christina (and David!) got married! It was a wonderful time and very “them”, which was great. Tons of fun! Glad to be surrounded by all those family and friends. If you want to see more pics from the photographer of all the wedding stuff go here: {deleted} The other fun thing they did was have a photo booth with props. Those pics are here: http://theroxybooth.com/

OK, so I always like to lead with the good news. Now the bad: As many of you know, I had a bump on my lip a little while ago that I had removed. The pathology came back as cancer. They are saying it is considered metastatic from my breast cancer, which means it is just another spot to add to the list where my breast cancer cells has traveled to and taken hold. And there are other places on my skin that we are now a lot more suspicious of, namely the scar tissue on my breast reconstruction that has some bumps on it and a few other places. Supposedly all my scans I recently had only detect things larger than a centimeter, so that is why they went undetected. The plan right now is to continue my (anti) hormone treatment by adding another drug to the mix. You’d think after a hysterctomy & removing ovaries that I wouldn’t have any more estrogen floating around, but I do! Apparently your fat cells produce estrogen too, so my new pill (arimidex) is an aromatose inhibitor, which is a fancy way of saying it will block my fat cells from producing this extra estrogen. In a way it is good, because it is only a daily pill instead of more chemo or radiation. Hopefully this pill will do the trick for now.

I was caught off guard this time with the findings, but came to the realization that these sorts of flare ups are just part of the game. My oncologist said to expect this kind of thing to happen a lot. By the very nature of stage 4 metastatic cancer, I ALWAYS have cancer cells floating around. The key is to keep them under control. Not thrilled about this reality, but it is in fact my reality. I can’t help but think about all the things cancer has taken from me or not allowed me to do. It just really hits me hard sometimes. But I have no choice but to live each day to the fullest. So I plan to “Live Sincerely” everyday. It is my hope that all of you do the same…take a look at things you CAN improve in our daily life and do it!

So with that, I wish everyone happy holidays! Please spend them with the ones you love and don’t take anything in your life for granted!

Much Love,
V

Aug 20, 2010

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Aug 20, 2010 1:28pm

Hi gang! Most of you already know, but a few weeks ago I finalized my plans to stop working full time at Sterling Cut Glass. After careful consideration I decided that resigning is the best decision for me to pursue right now, which will allow me to realign my priorities: family, friends, health & happiness. My current prognosis is good, however, there is always the “until it comes back reality” looming overhead. I want to live each day to the fullest and enjoy my life completely with no regrets! It’s been about 2 weeks for me being home and I LOVE it! I am helping to babysit my 2 nephews, Max & Myles, and actually able to do the simple things around the house that I haven’t been able to do for so long. So I guess you could say that right now I am a stay-at-home wife, sister and daughter. (Is there such a thing? There is now!)

Another thing keeping me busy is planning our trip to go back to NYC. I’ve talked about me participating in the SCAR Project before, but it is actually happening now, and will finally be able to show it off! You may remember me talking about the photography project by David Jay, and the related exhibit and book. His website explains the project very well: http://www.thescarproject.org. If you visit the site and click the “Exhibition” link, it has more details about the event. Since getting to NYC is no easy feat these days for all of you, me and Billy are exited about it and plan to go to the opening, and will definitely bring home a book which we can share with everybody. I will keep you all posted!

Also, my sister Christina’s wedding is in October, the weekend after the SCAR Project opening! So October will be a busy month, but I couldn’t be happier for Christina & David! Very much looking forward to it.

That’s all I got for now! :)
V

Jun 28, 2010

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Jun 28, 2010 9:39pm

Just realized I didn’t post my update from last week. Short version is I had my full body PET scan and it came back “normal”. This means all the tumors that showed up on my March scan were no longer evident! Because of this progress, I am all finished with my chemo treatments, but I will still get my monthly bone booster injection. Since I am Stage 4, I will always have microscopic cancer cells floating around, so the hope is that they don’t join forces and create new tumors. Game on! :)

May 25, 2010

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted May 25, 2010 3:31pm

Good news! My CT scan I had on Friday shows the tumors I had in my lungs and lymph nodes are no longer showing up. And my bone mets show healing around the tumor spots, which is progress. I continue to get my weekly chemo, and in 4 weeks will get a PET scan of my entire body. This will be a good indication if we can stop the chemo at that point. Right now just dealing with my hair thinning, and hoping that all it amounts to. The type of chemo I get now isn’t supposed to cause complete hair loss, so I am keeping my fingers crossed…

A big thank you to those who came out this past Saturday to the Golf Outing and to the Dinner! It was a great time and a good reminder of all the friends and family I have around me. Thank you for all the support and for all the love you continuously show me!

May 17, 2010

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted May 17, 2010 1:09pm

Happy Monday to you all! Lots of news since my last post…My sister Jessica had her baby on May 6th! Myles Andrew was 7 lbs 14 oz and super cute! Jessica and Jason were gracious enough to let me be in the room for the delivery, which was simply awesome. So Max is now a big brother and loving every minute of it. The other family news is that my younger sister Christina got engaged! Her and David plan to get married this Fall. Christina appointed me her wedding researcher/planner so that should keep me busy for a while!

I am still getting my chemo every Monday and continuing with the Neupogen shots 3 times a week. I will be getting scans on Friday to see where things stand.

That’s all for now!

Apr 30, 2010

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Apr 30, 2010 4:29pm

Hello everyone! Just a quick reminder to those who want to attend the golf outing or the dinner on May 22, that registration is due next Friday the 7th. Deanna said the golf outing only has a few slots left, so get your team in before it’s too late. Still plenty of room for the dinner!

My chemo has been going well. I have had some issues with low blood counts, so I need to supplement my treatments with neupogen shots for 3 days after each chemo. Billy is the lucky one to give me these shots and is surprisingly good at it! It stimulates the white blood cells in my bone marrow and gives my blood counts a boost. I will have another series of scans done in about 4 weeks to get a progress report on how well everything is working. Fingers crossed that things look better.

That’s all for now! Jess STILL has yet to have her baby, so stay tuned…should be any day now! :)

Apr 11, 2010

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Apr 11, 2010 9:43pm

Hi Gang! I try again tomorrow for chemo, since last week my counts were too low, so wish me luck! Also, some of you may have heard, but my good friends at work are throwing a fundraiser for me in May. There will be a Golf Outing, as well as a Dinner. Here are some of the details:

TEE IT UP FORE “V”: GOLF OUTING FUNDRAISER
Date: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Time: 7:45am – 12:00pm
Location: Meadowood Golf Course, 1911 Golf Club Drive, Burlington, KY
~ $50 per person, 18 Holes & Cart
~ Four Person Best Ball Scramble
~ Field will be limited to 44 Players
~ Registration begins at 7:45 am
~ Lunch following golf
~ Shotgun start at 8:30 am
~ putting green available
~ prizes for top team and other contests
~ Mulligan’s, $5 each, limit 2
~ for registration, email Deanna at {deleted}
~ registration due 5/7/10

DUGOUT BAR & GRILL FUNDRAISER DINNER
Date: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Time: 5:30pm – 8:300pm
Location: DugOut Bar & Grill at the Meadowood Golf Course, 1911 Golf Club Drive, Burlington, KY
~ ticket price: $15
~ includes hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, coleslaw and soda
~ 16 oz $1 drafts, cash bar
~ Raffle, Split the Pot and other Prizes
~ contact Deanna for registration at {deleted}
~ registration due 5/7/10

Please note that both events have registration forms, and are due by May 7th. I posted the registration forms here in the picture gallery, but you can email me or Deanna (see above) and we can send you them as well. Hope to see you there!

Apr 7, 2010

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Apr 7, 2010 11:42am

Hello! Happy belated Easter to all my family and friends. Things are going good around here…seem to be getting better everyday. Chemo has been going OK so far. Had to skip a week this past Monday due to my counts being too low, but this is quite normal with the type of chemo I am getting. I am still regulating my food intake, and even have “munchie medicine” to help with my appetite. Now off to enjoy the nice weather!…

back at home! (Mar 20, 2010)

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Mar 20, 2010 9:05pm

Hello everybody, I made it back home from the hospital yesterday and am feeling very rested. I am moving around good — even took advantage of this beautiful weather and went for a walk outside today! On Monday afternoon I start my first round of chemo. From what they tell me, it will be a weekly thing for a few months. Hopefully I will be able to tolerate it without much nausea or sickness, so after Monday I should know more about how things will go.

I have gotten many notes and messages and prayers and am thankful for every one of them! While you are at it, please keep my Grandma G in your prayers as well. She has also been in the hospital this whole week following a heart attack and some surgeries. Her spirits are up and things seem to be going better, but prayers are always welcome.

surgery is schedule (Mar 13, 2010)

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Mar 13, 2010 9:38pm

Hello All! Thanks for all the prayers! My port surgery went good. My surgeon was able to put it the same location as before. I am still sore and very tired, but glad I am finished with this step. The next surgery I have is scheduled for Tuesday, March 16. I will be undergoing a complete hysterectomy along with a bilateral oopherectomy (both ovaries come out). This will be the beginning of treatment, since it will eliminate all estrogen my body produces. The doctor said I will have to spend at least one night in the hospital, and maybe 2 depending on how things go.

the saga continues… (Mar 8, 2010)

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Mar 8, 2010 11:10pm

Hello again! It’s been quite a while since I last posted. A few notes too bring you up to speed: First off, the good news…my nephew Max will be 2 in April, and my sister Jessica and her husband Jason are about 8 weeks away from having another baby boy. We all can’t be more excited! Also, my younger sister Christina has released a CD! (Insert proud sister plug here: http://www.christinablust.com). Seriously, is there anything this girl can’t do?!

OK, so on to the not so good news…many of you may already know, but we found out that my breast cancer is back and is now in my lungs, my lymph nodes, and more extensively in my bones. The news came rather suddenly, following a full body bone scan that was ordered after I broke my finger and had a few other achey bone spots. So after a flurry of doctor visits and more scans, we learned that it was not just in my bones. The gameplan as we know it right now is to get my port put back in (just got that sucker removed in November!), have surgery to remove my ovaries (since my cancer is estrogen receptor positive, it is essential to remove any source of estrogen that my body produces naturally in order to stop fueling the tumors), start chemo, and start a specific hormone treatment, along with a monthly injection to help strengthen my bones. I am told the chemo I will get this time is supposed to be a little more tolerable and not supposed to make me lose my hair. From then, we monitor how all the drugs and treatments are working and make adjustments as needed. Radiation will only be considered to treat specific areas for pain. My doctors are hopeful we can continue with an effective treatment plan, however because my cancer has metastasized (spread outside the original location), I am considered Stage 4 and it is “treatable but not curable”.

I am lucky to have a great husband to lean on, as well as a supportive family who lets me talk, cry, dream, break down, and talk some more with. I thought I conquered my most difficult moments and that all this was behind me, but as we all know, the road ahead is always uncertain. But I am certain of one thing…my appreciation to all of you for your support, hugs and prayers!

Much love!
V

i’m famous!…part 2 (Dec 17, 2008)

{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Dec 17, 2008 11:20pm

so, i’ve talked it about before, but there have been some exciting developments with the documentary of the scar project. :) patty, the producer that filmed and interviewed me & christina when we were in new york, sent me a link to the video promo that they are shopping around to networks.

i’m proud and almost relieved that patty is doing this film. there are so many emotions and thoughts that i have experienced throughout my ordeal that I want to share but don’t really know how. but i think patty is portraying it perfectly. there is something very powerful about seeing the footage of the photograph sessions, as well as realizing that there are so many other young women living with breast cancer. it’s exciting to watch it and see some of the back stories of the other girls in the photographs. i hope that viewers can have an open mind about a topic that is otherwise taboo, and maybe gain some insight into the reality of breast cancer.

happy holidays!!