Living with MBC
Last updated: May 2023
Hello, my name is Bonnie! I have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren - they really keep me going! They are 11, 6, 5, 4, and 3 years old.
Supporting me through treatment
I was diagnosed with MBC in August 2018 and started treatment in September 2018 after my port was implanted. I underwent 14 weeks of Taxol, Herceptin, and Perjeta while working full-time. My employer was very understanding, and my team was super. They cheered me on when I lost all my hair and kept me going with kindness. I had bad days and was really tired, so I cut back my hours to 28 instead of 40; again my team was so great! My Pet scan showed that the tumor in my left breast was almost gone, and same with the tumors in my liver - what great news.
My medical team kept me on Herceptin and Perjeta on a three-week cycle. I slowly regained my strength and stamina and returned to work full-time in the spring. In the summer of 2019, I had a bilateral mastectomy. Because I'm older, I chose not to have reconstructive surgery. My hair grew back completely gray and curly which was different from my dirty blonde color, but I was so happy to have hair again. It has since changed colors again and is straight and brown! I tolerated the chemo drugs but developed chemo-induced neuropathy in my toes and fingers. I tried all kinds of things, Tai Chi, essential oils, different exercises, and walking, but nothing seemed to work. Then I tried acupuncture, which did bring me some relief!
An unexpected blow, not cancer
I was set to retire in December 2021 after 35 years at my current employer, and looking forward to wintering in Texas with my husband. I found out in November that he had been having an affair with an old high school girlfriend for 3 months - a low blow I didn't need. I filed for divorce and left for Texas alone since the condo was already paid for. My oldest daughter helped drive me down during her Christmas break. It was a difficult time, but being out of the Iowa winter helped. When I returned in March, the divorce was final, and he was out of the condo, which was now all mine. I was fortunate enough to be able to return to South Padre Island again this past winter and have made more friends in my condo complex. They ocean is very therapeutic for me! And the fresh seafood is the best!
I'm going to keep going
Living with MBC and divorce is not easy, some days are better than others. My most recent Pet Scan was clear, No Evidence of Disease! My Bone Density scan and Echocardiogram were also both normal. I continue to have infusions of Herceptin and Perjeta every three weeks - my medical team is super and are like a second family to me. I recently started having joint pain in my hips and muscle aches in my legs which makes exercising hard - I do my best to stay active because I know sitting for long periods of time only makes it worse.
My advice to others with MBC is to try and stay positive. Get out and do things, go places cause we don't know how much time we have left. I love traveling! Last summer I went on a 13-day road trip with my daughter to Colorado and Utah, The Arches in Moab was my favorite. This summer we are going to do it again, visiting Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. We love exploring the national parks. A few weeks ago I spent 7 days in the US Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John. I'm going to keep going until I can't.
This is my story.
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