Monday, May 16, 2016

The Best Bone Mets Ever

This is the hardest kind of blog post to type. I'm going to make you sad and I don't want to.

For a few months, I've known about signs that the breast cancer is back. In fact, for almost a year*, my body hasn't been quite right. I've lain awake in bed thinking about the what ifs. Paul and I have talked about being on the wrong side of the odds and we've met others who are parents with cancer. So we're prepared. You're not.

Last Wednesday, my oncologist told us with relative certainty that the four lesions we're seeing on a pelvic MRI are metastatic breast cancer. My first response was, "Thank you." Why? Because it's been months of uncertainty and questions. Finally, we had a truthful answer. "Thank you for your honesty," I repeated.

So, while you're reading this and maybe tearing up or feeling sad for us, know that you are worse off than we are right now. The girls know and they're outside playing with their friends. I'll be going on a field trip with the first graders tomorrow and driving to lacrosse and gymnastics later this week. We're okay.

This picture of me was taken two days after finding out about my bone mets. I'm okay.
The facts: What I now have is stage 4, metastatic breast cancer in my pelvis. The cool way to say it is "bone mets". I am aware that as of 2016, this is incurable and I'll most likely die from it. But I'm also aware that oncologists have a wealth of knowledge that they didn't have even a few years ago. If you try to google, you'll get bad news about life expectancy, but keep in mind that those statistics include people who already died before new treatments were available. So actually, I do not recommend that you google at all.

Here's what we're doing about my bone mets right now. We're assuming that these are the same type of cancer cells that I had back in 2012, meaning they grow on estrogen. So we will continue to suppress my ovaries with injections of a drug called Lupron. Then I will continue to take a drug called Femara which bonds to any leftover estrogen before it can find the cancer cells. The new treatment I will get is an infusion called Zometa. This doesn't actually fight the cancer in my bones, but it strengthens my bones so that as cancer cells try to grow, the bone cells are stronger and don't let them take over.

My first Zometa infusion is on Wednesday. This is not a lose-my-hair-and-puke kind of drug. I guess I might feel like I have the flu for a few days afterwards. Then back to normal life.  A one-degree-of-separation friend had been on Zometa for 7 years and just recently had the cancer spread to her lungs, so hopefully taking Zometa will give Joe Biden time to cure cancer before I get any more mets.

I'll also be visiting Dana Farber in Boston for a second opinion, so we're covering all bases. Then I'll continue to be Mommy and go on family trips and be Mott Road's HSA (PTA) president. So don't be sad for us. Maybe just go outside and play.

*Long story of what's been going on for the past year to come soon.


  1. You are right about the tears. My prayers for you and your family. Who is your oncologist? They have to be really special, to listen to you.

  2. Shari stay strong and positive your strong spirit will carry you through this challenging journey.

  3. Such a courageous woman, Shari. I'm so proud that you have always chosen to LIVE through this challenge. Here's to making it count! Hugs!

  4. What Michele, said! Thinking of you and your family, Shari.

  5. We'll be pulling for you. Please let us know if you need anything.

  6. Good luck on this journey! I am a de novo metster, just past 2 years since dx. I have slowed down a bit, as my only met so far is to my lung/pleura, but I enjoy every day! Treatments have come so far and the dx isn't necessarily an immediate death sentence! My advice to you (and I think you already get this) - don't rent too much space to this in your head. Yes, be aware of your body and do what you need to do to keep going, but don't let it define you!
    Again, best of luck!

    1. Thanks for reaching out! I like to be in touch with other lifers who are continuing to be themselves and understand that life must go on. Best of luck to you, too!