Dec 8, 2010

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{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:

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,

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