Finding Peace in Impossible Circumstances

by Christie Perkins

My medical records now have a new permanent line: liver metastases. We wondered if we could just cut out the new tumors in the liver but the doctor says that it won’t do any good because with stage 4 cancer there are just cancer cells everywhere. We don’t ever really get rid of it we just try and keep it from spreading.

Oh yeah. That’s right.

Little factoid here: Breast cancer that has metastasized (stage 4 cancer) loves to travel to the bones, the ovaries, the brain, and the liver. I’ve eliminated the ovaries (neener-neener can’t catch me), checked the brain, and am already hosting a party in the bones, and now it’s in the liver.

But, don’t you stress now.

(We are trying to keep the cancer tourists from hearing about this new premium prime location- so shhhh! Don’t mention it.) It’s true, it’s not exactly the best news but the way I see it- they are just a few wimpy spots anyway. But the thing I can’t quite shake is the peace. Yeah, the peace. No matter what, it won’t leave me.

I like it. Continue reading

How I Landed My Brain MRI; New Findings

by Christie PErkiNS

This all started with my “trip” to  in Home Depot. I was just checking out lights. Luckily it was just my husband, me, and my random eyewitness that was on the aisle.

The floor was incredibly flat and smooth, not slick even a niche. Then poof! I dropped from eyesight. It’s like a magic trick. You know how tricks like this work: you see it, but you don’t.

How in the world can you fall on that? “That,” meaning nothing. I question my trick.

But, since my eyewitness was mentally documenting my fall and my husband had that quizzical look on his face I decided to fool them again. I pretended nothing happened. But the cock-eyed looks from the gents on the aisle made me splash out a smile, a chuckle, and a shrug.

Lets just forget that… moving along.

A couple of days later I’m in the granite store and we do a repeat trick. Wow. Fabulous moments going on here. Always getting the same quizzical look and silent words reverberate loud and clear in my ear…

What in the world?

My finale is always the same though: a smile, oops eyes, and a shrug. And the next several days I continue to fall when I walk. I trip on a thin cardboard box, the end of the broom- the straw fluffy-puff end, not the handle.

People begin booking my stunts. Continue reading

The Mysterious Masked Ma’am

by Christie Perkins

It’s not Halloween. Yet, she sports a mysterious mask. And, quite frankly, it doesn’t match her outfit. So what’s the deal?

the-mysterious-masked-maamYeah. Well. Thank you white blood cells. It’s official: my white blood cells have turned into couch potatoes.

The doc expected the cells to perform in a week and in two weeks they were still on vacation being lazy and making me a little stir crazy. So I decided to venture out. But of course I take my baby blue mask to filter out germs.

I miss human life forms.

I put it on and only my eyes lop over the top. Holy cow this is not what I was imagining. Couldn’t they make it slip just over the lips? I feel… noticeable (to say the least) as it covers my entire face. My makeup job this morning was a waste. Yay. But I wear lipstick anyway. It makes me feel better. This mask is fabulous for a back row kind of gal. Wow. Well. At least if I get lost I’ll have my SOS gear intact. Continue reading

Neutropenia Plunk (And A Sweet Story of Love)

by Christie Perkins

First off I must tell you that feel fine. I lack energy, but I always lack energy so it’s fine. I went to the doctor last week and got my results back from my cat scan. I’ve been feeling really good about it and rightfully so. I have found that for the most part it looks good. Nothing additional-tumorous to worry about. Yay!

I love emotional paydays.

neutropenia-kerplunkYet, my neutrophils are misbehaving. They’ve taken a plunk. So a little factoid here: normal range of neutrophils are between 2.5 and 6.0. Mine are a whopping 0.3 (yeah that’s zero point three). They call that neutropenia. (Puts your doctor in shock.)

It’s a bit lame as you get to evaluate your 4 walls while you wait for the neutrophils to get in order. Instead of me running amuck I’m stuck. I go lazy so they can go crazy. Meh. I avoid crowds, and germ infested guests, anyone with vaccinations (and carrying a live virus), and broccoli, cauliflower, and raspberries (because it’s difficult to wash thouroughly). So random right? And of course, I’ve been craving broccoli lately.

La-ti-dah. It’s a low key life when you are neutropenic. Continue reading

How To Cross the Bridges of Tomorrow With Confidence

by Christie Perkins

she-turned-to-the-sunlight-and-shook-her-yellow-headand-whispered-to-her-neighbor_-_winter-is-dead-4So let’s be honest here.

I woke up the day I was to take my chemo pill with dread. I felt my chemo creepy crawlies coming on the few days before. The anticipation of the unknown was blown up in my mind. The list of possible side effects haunted and taunted me. And I knew that my life was crossing onto new and permanent territory.

I had to cross this bridge.

You see, up until this point the perks of my current life were highlighted and blaring in neon signs in my mind. They were good signs. Which of those signs would burn out when I crossed the bridge? Continue reading

Chemo Pill and Death of a Grapefruit

by Christie Perkins

First they tell me I can’t have blue cheese dressing. It would have been fine if they would Chemo Pill and Death of a Grapfruithave told me that the year before. I wouldn’t have even tried the mouth watering crave. Yes. I was like all of y’all scrunching my nose at the thought of moldy cheese. But, at first lick it pleased me and I fell in love with it. Thanks Dad. I should have trusted you the first time you tried to get me to try it. I should have known because I’ve inherited my dad’s taste buds on many other things.

(Seriously if you haven’t tried it you’re missing out.)

So with my initial cancer diagnosis and the start up of chemo I’m a little bummed about ditching my newfound infatuation, I had to break up with blue cheese. Those of you on weird food diets get my pain. I had to settle for ranch to avoid an elevated health crash. Continue reading

Ride the Wave of Goodness

by christie Perkins

Life is not a constant tumultuous wave of trials, as it sometimes appears to be. Even in a life with stage 4 cancer. Every once in a while there’s a splash wave of goodness that comes your way.

You have to be watching for it.

Ride the Wave of GoodnessLast month was tough for us. We currently babysit this cancer by periodically popping our head in on what is going on. We expect good behavior. But sometimes we find a mess we have to clean up. And sometimes, with some assistance, these messes resolve themselves.

I head into my cat scan a little concerned. My hip has been hurting much more within the last month and my legs are going numb. It’s all a strange sensation- these playdough legs. I wasn’t quiet ready to eyeball my current situation but here I was facing the day. Slight tightness constricted my chest as I waited for the CAT scan to pop it’s head in on me. My breath quickens. My mind tosses around the “what ifs” in my head.

So I pull out my handy back-up plan: I pray. Continue reading

Guaranteed Picture Perfect Moments

by Christie Perkins

Sometimes we think we know what is best for us.

Yeah, we think we have it all figured all out. You know, it’s the perfect, flawless, plan. In our heads the picture is complete. We actually think we know all of the details of what is best for us. And then (because we claim the teenage syndrome of “all knowing”) sometimes question why prayers aren’t being answered. We wonder if we are being heard at all.

Guaranteed Picture Perfect MomentsBut if we step back we will realize that our picture’s not quite perfect: we are just a kindergartners attempting to draw the perfect picture. As an adult it is easy to see that a person has shoulders, not just arms protruding from a neck that’s the same size as our thighs and hips. And there’s more to a simple line for our lips. A scraggly lined lip isn’t really fire engine red but a soft muted mauve.

Experience and prior mistakes in our own drawings tell us so. (Well that and my high school art teacher… who knew the eyeballs are not actually positioned on our hairline?) Continue reading

Yawn. My Stage 4 Cancer Update

by Christie Perkins

YAWN!My Stage 4 Cancer UpdateSo a lot of people are wondering what is going on with my treatments. This will be a highly unexciting post about the details of my life right now. If you want to skip out… I’ll catch you next week.

Wink. (And we can still be friends. I won’t even know that you dropped out.)

First, I need to clarify what stage 4 cancer is. Most people just nod and give me that far off look in their eye. It’s like trying to explain burns to me. Is 1st degree worst or 3rd? All these numbers cause me brain blunders. Continue reading

How Dealing with Cancer is Like Building a House

by Christie Perkins

If you have ever built a house you know the deep ditch neuro pathways you carve from overthinking details.

You even sometimes dream about the process… or have nightmares.

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head,And whispered to her neighbor_ _Winter is dead.”(1)You have lived in other places and you quickly categorize what you like and don’t like. You adopt and adapt from previous experience the things you should do for the next house. But some things you take for granted, like the placement of plugs. You don’t really think about those details because someone else does the thinking for that.

Unless you’ve had a bad experience with that.

In my last house I had one light switch in a bedroom that was vacationing halfway down the wall. Ok. Maybe not that far. But, you would practically jab your armpit with the door frame before you found the switch… and I always prayed that a spider wasn’t playing boogie man as I felt the wall.

That’s crawly (not to mention creepy). Continue reading