Love and Mercy

I must confess that I had to re-read my last post since it feels so long ago and I feel like I have been through a lot in the time that has passed with a myriad of medical appointments, holidays and a trip.

I guess you’d like to hear the medical update first, maybe. I did have surgery under my eye for skin cancer, so much fun. I left bruised and battered with a dozen stitches. How do people opt for plastic surgery voluntarily I wondered repeatedly as the days passed without make up to camouflage the mess on my face. Meanwhile, the lovely incision for melanoma on my leg has healed nicely with lots of thick cream slathered on it. This stuff involved multiple appointments but luckily they gave me a suture kit at my eye appointment and my son-in-law’s brother, Austin, took out the sutures on Christmas Eve.






Next up was a visit with my endocrinologist who ordered all those thyroid biopsies and a bone density test. All well there except—-he asked me to both fast and not take my medication the next day for my Pet Scan. When the time came I was not a happy camper without my medication and some coffee! Good news, everything checked out for his needs. Dr. Rachel, on the other hand, while telling me my preliminary scan results were good and my tumor markers had gone back down (after a slight up turn), e-mailed me the next day that the radiologists keep reporting on a nodule in my lung that has been there for some time without change or growth but is suspicious. She wanted to show my stuff to a thoracic doc.  Okay….Next thing I know, he actually wants me to come in and meet with him! I google him and find out he is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery and my anxiety pedals up to over drive. Rachel says not to worry but it is hard to read in print “likely adenocarcinoma spectrum lesion” in my lung and she reminds me it’s been there a while and to go see what Dr. Lung Guy has to say about it. I can hardly wait. Tomorrow I go for the first of my “every 3 months” skin check at the melanoma clinic. I say enough already!

In other news, Blanket and I got to go to San Antonio for the Breast Cancer Symposium. As usual it is amazing for the precision and organization they have in moving so many people through so much information sharing. My friend Terlisa and I gave a talk sponsored by Esai that went well although a lot of questions about our daughters health. Yes, they will start with mammograms and ultrasounds at 34, 10 years before I developed breast cancer. I also decided to update my genetic testing (and had to pay out of pocket) for them and my nieces.

Terlisa and I spent time manning the Metavivor Booth and chatting with people (and laughing a lot) and Tim and I did two podcasts. I also got to see my friend Marina’s poster presentation although sadly she has died since then, less than a month later.







MBC is cruel that way. It sneaks up out of the dark and robs us when we hope so hard that it won’t. The scan stuff is a roller coaster but the day to day stuff is hard and relentless like that. It’s January now and the winter listing has set in, waiting for the cold and the dark to pass so we might focus on happier things. The holidays were of course wonderful and full of family and love and dogs everywhere. But now it feels that the earth has gone back to sleep and the quiet has settled in.

Blanket’s sister and husband came to visit which was lovely. Brunnie finally made it. I have been asked to speak at a conference in Miami at the beginning of March so we will get to spend time with our friends, Carol and Stephen, and I am so looking forward to sunshine. Little coconut’s puppy has brought nothing but joy to her life and ours. The kids are motoring along.

Metavivor has been pretty busy. We awarded 5 million dollars to 34 research grant recipients in December and another one million in January. It is fascinating to read what they are working on to help us in distant corners around the country and so exciting to have the money to fund them. A big paper was published in the Annuls of Oncology with my medical data. Apparently I am a hypermutator (which turns out to be a very good thing). We also elected a new President of Metavivor and invited a new board member to join us. We divided up some of the work assignments with me taking on the volunteers, the blog and the development of a newsletter. Busy days ahead.  Tim is considering joining the board in our local community and my good EMT friend and his co-workers  raised money for Metavivor through tee shirt sales and awarded us a nice check last week. The work never really ends.

Outside the impeachment rolls on, Kobe Bryant suddenly died and more soldiers were injured in the attack on the military base than we were originally told. Blanket and I have been watching lots of movies. Parasite, 1917 and Marriage Story top our lists. 

I wish you a happy new year with many blessings. As Brian Wilson says, in times like these we can all use some love and mercy. Be kind to yourself and others.



  1. Hi Barbara,
    As always your words are spot on as well as an inspiration to cancer survivors. My anxiety re my upcoming bi annual visit to Dana Farber is creeping forward . Your words are a comfort
    Thank you & best to you and Tim

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You are truly an inspiration. And, when life can change in an instant or at a tortoise’s pace, a reminder to savor all that is good in any given moment. With love and every best wish, May Kernan

    Liked by 2 people

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