Dreaming about my dreams coming trueRead More
Someone asked me the other day about my type of cancer… they have never heard of Triple Negative before… I guess, neither had I until my diagnosis! And stage 4 nonetheless, so I got to know it pretty well!
Anyway, it got me thinking that I should share what I was told about it! And how Zero Negative was formed from that triple negative diagnosis…
Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of the disease. The difference is that all three types or receptors are NOT a factor with triple negative, making it a little harder to treat because there is only one option really, which is chemotherapy.
For example, some breast cancers have receptor cells that respond to hormones. There are three main types of receptors:
Doctors diagnose breast cancer by identifying which receptor is present. They run a series of tests for each of the three receptors, and these will return either positive or negative results.
When a person has breast cancer, but all of these results come back negative, doctors diagnose the person with triple-negative breast cancer. Also, in my case, I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene, which means I had increased risk of breast cancer, increasing my risk of triple negative breast cancer.
(I remember when I was given the name, triple negative, I was like, this sounds horrible! Negative, negative, AND some more negative, how much worse can it get?! But it turned out that my type of cancer became a ‘gift’ in a way, because it gave me the name Zero Negative, and the story behind it all… it was such blessing in the end!)
TREATMENT: Many treatments aim to block one or more of the three receptors. When results for all three are negative, hormone-based medications are not an effective option. Instead, a doctor will recommend other treatments, such as chemotherapy.
(I was told that chemo was the ONLY medicine to treat triple negative…and even though it was the only choice, it was known to have a very reliable rate of success in diminishing tumors… )
As with other breast cancers, the success of treatment for triple-negative breast cancer depends on the size of the tumor and how pervasive it is.
(My tumor was really big, 7.4 cm, and it was so confusing and frustrating for me because I had HAD my mammogram 6 months ago, AND a check up with my gynecologist, and NO ONE had felt or seen this huge tumor growing inside of me. Soon after I learned that because I had dense breast tissue, I should have been having ultra-sounds WITH my mammograms…but no one told me this… crazy right? BUT at least I’m okay now, and hopefully I can make others more aware of this now!)
There are fewer treatment options for triple-negative breast cancer, and it is more likely to spread and recur than other types of the disease. More information can be found here:
When I heard all of the characteristics of triple negative, I was scared. Very scared. And to make matters even scarier, my doctor at UCLA who I was meeting for the first time, Dr. Slamon, said that one of the positives about triple negative was if it doesn’t come back in 5 years, then it has a very low chance of ever coming back, but if it DOES come back within that time, then it will be more aggressive and very hard to treat. Basically, he was saying I would most likely die from it, IF it comes back. And, the statistics were very scary… 50% of patients end up cancer free forever, and 50% of the patients won’t, and there is no rhyme or reason of why, but THAT, in a nutshell, is the nature of triple negative.
‘UGH’ and ‘SHIT’, I remember feeling as I was sitting in his office. However, it was really strange and I remember this so well… as I was hearing the stats, basically hearing I had a 50/50 chance to live, I was weirdly starting to feel optimistic for the first time… I felt like I was stepping into my diagnosis, owning it in a way, AND, I was realizing how safe I felt with Dr. Slamon… I think I was finally accepting my prognosis, and then felt like, ‘Okay, if Dr. Slamon thinks he can do this, then I KNOW I can do this, and I WILL do this…I will be part of the 50% group that makes it past 5 years, and I’ll live a cancer free life once I get through all of this. And I’ll have perky boobs for the rest of my life, that’s cool no? And I’ll surrender to the whole experience, like a student, and see what happens… AND, in the meantime, I’m going to figure out how to raise money for his research at UCLA, because god forbid, if this DOES come back (or doesn’t go away), then I better be part of the team looking for a cure!’
And, so it was, in Dr. Slamon’s office, when I decided to turn stage 4 triple negative breast cancer into something positive, which makes me want to advise others of how important it is when picking your team of doctors…you have to believe in them so deeply, you need to be willing to put your life in their hands and trust their advice and treatment, so they can believe in you…it’s a gut thing, but, you know when you know, ya know? What I didn’t know then, was how relevant my type of cancer was in developing my company… and obviously, triple negative gave the idea for the name, Zero Negative, and became symbolic in it’s meaning, going from stage 4 cancer to cancer free (which, by the way, was only 4 months… I must had done something right?!).
(I didn’t know then, BUT I see it so clearly now, that I was planting the seed of ‘surviving’ in my head, in my body, in my being, telling myself what I was going to do, before doing it...hoping others can take this message and use it to their advantage!)
Of course, that day on Tuesday, December 20th 2016, I had no idea HOW I was going to accomplish any of this… BUT, I had a goal, a dream planted in my head, and I truly believe that paved way for my happy ending …to be continued…
#lessonslearned #havinggoalsDOhelp #manifesting
I wanted to see what I was feeling almost a year ago, exactly how I was feeling… I was journaling at that time. So as I dive into this blog ‘thing’, "Weekend Reflections" are going to be about going back in time, not remembering per say, but in actuality, how I was feeling… a blip from the past, EXACTLY how I saw it. Let's go back a little bit...
----> Dec 16, 2016 <----
So, today I found out from the pet scan that I have a weird thing going on in my sternum bone. Once again, nothing is cleared. The pet scan was supposed to be an easy test showing nothing else. But something else is there, and the anxiety is horrible. I can’t control anything. I am OUT of control. I’m wanting the doctors to be IN control, but they too are OUT of control. And you want to trust that every doctor cares about you, but it’s a business, and they’re so many people. Maybe I’m just a number to them and not someone they can actually care about because they don’t really know me, so they pretend to care, but I hope more than anything that they care about the cancer and curing it more than they cure about me. I hope they’re vigilant about fighting the cancer. I will be vigilant about fighting it.
But I can’t help but ask myself, WHY WHY WHY? Why am I having to do this? What did I do wrong? All of my choices in my life... Am I being punished? I smoked in my life. I knew it was wrong, but I chose to do it, so is that why I have breast cancer? I had mammograms EVERY year for 7 years, and NOTHING was alarming to the doctors, so why tell me I have stage 3 cancer?
And now if it’s in the sternum, it’s stage 4. And doesn't stage 4 mean that you're gonna die? I’m soooooooo not ready to die. I thought I was just starting to live, not EVEN starting to live. Has my depression caused all this? I was always diagnosed with a little bit of depression throughout my life. Did my last relationship break my heart, and is that why my sternum has cancer? Did I not take life seriously? Was I too rebellious? Is that why I have cancer? Why do I have cancer? Why, God, why?
I honestly thought that it would be hard to kill me. I was gonna live into my 100’s for sure. I was mostly worried about Larry (my husband) dying and leaving me with not a lot to keep going. That was my worry. Not dying. In fact, I remember the reason I bought my first pack of cigarettes was when I was about 23 and it was not because I wanted to die, I just wanted to help the death process because I thought I was gonna live too long. Nothing could kill me, so maybe this is the first test? Nothing can kill me. I’m invincible. But, I have to say when you’re hearing all of this news about cancer and the type and the stage it is, you don’t feel very invincible. And it’s like a week before Christmas, a week before everyone is supposed to be cheery and vacationing and going to parties and getting presents and I can’t think of anything other than I have cancer, I HAVE CANCER. Do you have cancer?
Ugh, this is going to be a tough year. What caused this? I NEED to know! I can’t believe how different life feels to be in this place. To NOT know if you’re gonna live. I guess I’m supposed to ignore this and just know I AM going to live. I will have to fight, but I WILL live. I thought some days I had a cloud over me just because I felt fat, or I felt insecure, or I was worried about money, or I was worried about fighting with Larry, or I was bored, or whatever the cloud was…. but now there really is a cloud, a big black cloud, and I know how it feels to be under it; it’s over you at every second, and you feel so alone. No one can really know how it feels to be diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer unless they’re diagnosed.
In the past, I’ve felt compassionate to so many cancer people. Ha, I call them ‘cancer people’, but I was also so secure that I was never gonna have it, and also so grateful that it wasn’t me that had it… I could give compassion at the same time that I could feel I wasn't connected to it. But now I’m connected, and oh boy, I wish I wasn’t connected. Am I still the same person? I THINK I’m still the same person. I HOPE I’m still the same person, but I feel there is now a stigma or something. Now people will look at me differently, feel sorry for me, treat me differently. My friends will stop feeling the same way about me. I’ll be someone they need to take care of, not someone they always go to for advice or to do things with.
Oh my hair, I love my hair and it’s all gonna go if I don’t use the cold pads on my head … what should I do? GOD, where are you? Please talk to me. I need you. I want to know you are watching me and on my side. What do you want me to do? I promise I will help every cancer victim after I survive this, I will love to help people get through this. I will donate money. I will write a book about my journey, my story of survival and being scared.
I’m so lucky to have found out that I have something curable, and so many people have this and not something that is deadly and incurable. But I start to feel like my life has not been worth anything so far, like my life has been a waste, and that’s why I am getting this. I was given a certain amount of years, and since nothing really happened so far, then I’m going to be killed off. I didn't have any kids, don’t have a big job, not really doing anything good for the world, so get rid of me. Maybe?
I hate that I’m causing pain to my family, especially my mom who has been through so much. I guess part of me is happy I’m the one who has it and not the one who is witnessing it because that would be harder than having it. I can beat it. I am strong enough to go through it all, so I’m glad I have all the support of my friends and family. I feel like I am extra young to be going through this, but it is my journey and this is what I got… I've a great life so far, maybe too good, so I need to pay up right now. But I could also be looked at like the girl who never got what she wanted. I had the broken heart. I had a career that was not ever fulfilling. I wanted a child that I never had. Poor Jenn. Wow, there are really so many ways of looking at this, so many perspectives, but what do they matter anyway? I have cancer. That’s all I know.
Everyone I talk to who has had cancer, are all so supportive and positive - like they know since they were cured, I will be cured. Even the doctors aren’t saying I’ll be cured, so it’s hard to know that as a fact. Part of me is so okay to die, and that part scares me. I don’t have kids who need me. I have a dog who needs me, basically. I have people I don’t want to leave, but no one really NEEDS me, so maybe that fact alone will make the cancer worse. I don’t want to think bad thoughts; I really want to stay positive. Sometimes I feel so positive, but that also could be denial. Sometimes I feel so scared, so out of control, and I don’t like feeling that way. It’s the worst feeling in the world, actually, for a control freak. Maybe once I feel the chemo, the chemo will be worse. I’m better with psychological pain over physiological pain, I think? I guess we’ll find out soon… ugh… I’m scared.
I’ll end this by saying, I WILL get through this, I really do believe that, because medicine is so great now, but I still don’t like hearing that stage 4 is more serious, that we don’t know for sure if the cancer will react to the chemo, that we don’t know if it’s gonna come back or not… I guess it will have to be day by day, moment by moment, and hope that the strength I have inside will come out. I used to be called a mac truck because I was never sick and never felt anything wrong. It’ll be a strange thing do be looked at like the ‘sick person’. Maybe I’m the only one who looks at me that way? But then again, I AM sick, I AM the ‘sick person’. So weird. because I don't feel sick... Anyway, all I know right now is that I don’t want to die, and that I really don’t understand anything anymore…