Cowgirl Up!!! ... Does Horse Poop Cause Cancer??

Monday, December 30, 2013

4 years and counting... still counting... will continue to count... never stop counting!

December 30, 2009
Is a day I will never, ever forget...
I have forgotten most of what was actually said that day...
That day I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma cancer
December 30, 2009, the day my life changed forever.

Lot's of important words were spoken, but I heard very few of them
Jim heard very few of them
Mostly we heard: "I am so sorry... YOU HAVE CANCER"
Your bone marrow biopsy results were not good
The samples showed you have 67% Cancer

You have cancer... a blood cancer
Multiple (? what ?) Myeloma (? who ?)
In the bone marrow
In the blood plasma
High risk cancer
So sorry...

You need treatment immediately (seriously?)
Platelets, blood, dangerously low white count
Immune compromised (like bubble girl status?)
Prescriptions are ordered for you (like now? ... like today?)
Tests, scans, bone marrow, blood samples, anemia, platelets, CBC's, Immunoglobulins, M-protein
Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah
Multiple Myeloma (my new vocabulary word!)
Blood Cancer (no way... not me... I'm healthy, I've lived healthy, I did all the right things!)
Multiple Myeloma
Immune Compromised (huh?)
You are not well (I'll just eat better... I promise!)
You need to be treated now (as in now? as in it's almost New Year's Eve !)
Immune system cancer (you cannot risk getting sick from others)

So sorry, my kind oncologist apologized
So sorry to spoil your holiday
So sorry your cancer is so serious
You have High Risk Multiple Myeloma Cancer (I'm too young... I have too much left to do!)
We are here if you need anything
Call us if you are not feeling well... go directly to Emergency... don't wait...
Let's get your medications ordered
Multiple Myeloma
Blood Cancer
Sick... need treatment now
Stem Cell Transplant
Multiple Myeloma
Blood Cancer

My head is spinning
This must be a mistake, my results surely were confused with someone else's
I cry
I laugh
I say NO WAY, Not Me!
It's all so surreal
Jim is very emotional, his eyes are teary
He is speechless, just nodding
I'm stunned, numb, having a true "out of body experience"
OMG I have to tell my family... I have to tell people, a lot of people... I, Julie the Invincible, has CANCER!
I cry
I laugh
I am numb
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 Here we are back in 2009
when I had NO idea 
of the monster multiplying within me!
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

December 30, 2013
Yep, cancer is real
Sadly, I now know what all those medical-cancer words mean
I get it... I Have Cancer
Incurable Cancer

But I am still here Myeloma!
4 years since that shocking, life altering conversation...
I made it 4 years since diagnosis!!

And you know what Myeloma??
I plan to be here for a long time!!
I plan to outlive you Myeloma!!!
My 2014 New Year's Resolution is to outlive you Myeloma!

One sleepless night (which is really every night) I had a sudden thought...
I'll go back to my pre-cancer, pre-Myeloma self-visual of being that little old carefree lady walking her little old pony down the road... thinking it's a goat, or a chicken, or a dog, or a giraffe! 
I'm planning to be really, really old... again!
Yes! I am planning to live a long, long, long time!
Take that Myeloma!!!
That's my 2014 New Year's Resolution!

Happy, healthy, successful, playful, living life to the fullest, New Year to all of you!!

Live happy, live well, and make a difference somewhere, somehow, with someone or something as often as you can!


  1. Julie,
    We are also praying that the cancer will go away. All things are posssible with God.................... Stay Strong and remember all of us who are standing beside you. You Dear One will overcome this day at a foot in front of the other......You are our HERO !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Loved by many !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Evelyn and Neel

  2. I want to just start singing, "It's the Eye of the Tiger" "Rising up back on the street, did my time, took my chances
    went the distance now I'm back on my feet
    just a man and his will to survive..." Your attitude is kick ass and i also appreciate your honesty and truth. The raw feelings you share on here and the humor you use in everything.
    I can't tell you how many times I check this for an update. I have been looking everyday. Yes, time for a ranch visit!! I love you and I will be fighting by your side anytime you need. That is unless I get a cold......Love you, Madonna

  3. Julie,
    We are behind you 100 %!!!!!

    1. Julie,You are a winner.Glad all your determination is still there!

  4. Can we ever relate! Love your New Year's Resolution and am certain you will succeed!! Happy New Year!

  5. Sara SheehanJanuary 05, 2014

    You show this Myeloma who's the boss Julie! Your always in my prayers.
    See you hopefully soon. =)


My Story... How my MM was diagnosed

October/November/December 2009...

Most of my life I was VERY presumptuous about being healthy, taking my (mostly) GOOD health for granted...
I was committed to annual check-ups for all of us, and so late October 2009, my daughter and I went for our annual and very routine physicals.

Surprise, surprise... my routine blood tests revealed extreme Anemia, significant White and Red Cell issues, low Platelets, and a variety of other CBC red flags! I was (stupidly) not worried when my GP doc left repeated phone messages to contact him, and when we did speak, I (stupidly) requested postponement of his referral appointment to the Hematology Dept until the end of the Fall academic term.

Arriving for my first appointment Dec 14, 2009, I was confronted with the check-in sign that read: "Hematology/Oncology"... What? Nooooo! not me... I must be in the WRONG place! And so my diagnosis journey began with vials and vials of blood drawn "stat", urgent Dr consultations, a surprise and painful Bone Marrow Biopsy, a full body Skeletal Scan, more blood tests stat, and then on 12.30.2009... THE revealing meeting... the "huh-what" moment ... the confirmation diagnosis that I, Julie, have CANCER!!!

Happy New Year to me, I just learned a new vocabulary word:
Multiple Myeloma!!! MM, Multiple Mye-what-loma!!!

January - June 2010

My medical metamorphosis began.
I read, and read, and read and researched and researched MM. I trusted my expert Oncology/Hematology team's plan and began my "New Normal" as a cancer patient.
My treatment plan was developed to include powerful Dexemthesone steroids paired with Revlimid chemotherapy, with the plan to be hospitalized for an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant July 2010.

I began living "one day at a time" like never before.
Jim was a wreck. Alissa and Scott were stunned; family and friends shocked.

Me... Cowgirl Up! I got back in the saddle and knew I was in for the ride of my life!
I did well on my initial pill-form Revlimid Chemo, "roid-rage" Dex Steroids and other supportive meds. I am forever deeply grateful and appreciative for all the love and support from everyone in my personal and professional life! I thank all of you for working along with me, and allowing me to continue to lead a semi "normal" life!
YOU have helped save my life!

My treatment trail ride forks to City of Hope hospital as I will saddle up beginning June 9, 2010 for a new rodeo called an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant!
Ye-Ha, let the adventure begin!

Chemical Warfare...

January 2010 - May 2010:
My initial chemo regimen:

Pill form Chemo= Revlimid (10mg capsules)
Pill form Dexamethasone Steroids (40 mg!) paired with Omeprazole
Mepron (looks like yellow finger paint) Anti-fungal, Anti-viral, etc for my very compromised immune system
B-12- to build those cells!
.81 Aspirin to prevent DVT, Revlimid complications
Allopurinol- keeping the kidneys healthy
Acyclovir- anti-Shingles, anti-viral

June 2010:
High dose IV Cytoxan
Neupogen to build up stem cells for Apheresis, stem cell harvest, which was very successful, as City of Hope was able to collect 9.5 million of my own stem cells

July 2010 Hospitalization:
Two days of high dose Melphalan
Then July 5, 2010 = my Autologous Stem Cell transplant infusion!

And you can read my whole story from that point forward in this blog!

What the Heck is Multiple Myeloma?!

Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of your plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in your bone marrow. Plasma cells normally make proteins called antibodies to help you fight infections.

In Multiple Myeloma, a group of abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) multiplies, raising the number of plasma cells to a higher than normal level. Since these cells normally make proteins, the level of abnormal proteins in your blood also may go up. Health problems caused by multiple myeloma can affect your bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count. Although the exact cause isn't known, doctors do know that multiple myeloma begins with one abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow — the soft, blood-producing tissue that fills in the center of most of your bones. This abnormal cell then starts to multiply. Because abnormal cells don't mature and then die as normal cells do, they accumulate, eventually overwhelming the production of healthy cells. In healthy bone marrow, less than 5 percent of the cells are plasma cells. But in people with multiple myeloma, more than 10 percent of the cells may be plasma cells. Because myeloma cells may circulate in low numbers in your blood, they can populate bone marrow in other parts of your body, even far from where they began. That's why the disease is called multiple myeloma. Uncontrolled plasma cell growth can damage bones and surrounding tissue. It can also interfere with your immune system's ability to fight infections by inhibiting your body's production of normal antibodies. Researchers are studying the DNA of plasma cells to try to understand what changes occur that cause these cells to become cancer cells. Though they haven't yet discovered the cause of these changes, they have found that almost all people with multiple myeloma have genetic abnormalities in their plasma cells that probably contributed to the cancer. For example, many myeloma cells are missing all or part of one chromosome — chromosome 13. Cells with a missing or defective chromosome 13 tend to be more aggressive and harder to treat than are cells with a normal chromosome 13. ~ From the Mayo Clinic