Honourary Bat Girl

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/honourary-bat-girl/


I was in remission for four years after my stage 2 diagnosis and then, nine days before our wedding, I found out the cancer was back and it was metastatic.

I was lucky enough to get signed up for a clinical trial that has kept me stable for the last 21 months. The clinical trial starves my cancer of estrogen of which my particular breast cancer ‘feeds’ off. The active drug has just been approved by the FDA in the States as a first line of defense for advanced breast cancer. As my husband says ‘you helped make that happen.’ It’s a pretty great feeling.

Less than six months after my stage 4 diagnosis, my brother and his girlfriend nominated me to be the Toronto Blue Jays Honourary Bat Girl. To qualify, you had to have ‘gone to bat against breast cancer’ and be a Toronto Blue Jays fan; I qualified. I didnt win but the woman who did, a fellow Rethink Breast Cancer advocate, Michelle Riccio, also had stage 4 breast cancer and so I was thrilled that young women were getting exposure regardless of if I won or not. The crowd was seeing a face that didn’t resemble our grandmothers’.

This year, my husband Keith nominated me. Thanks to the people who surround me and love and support me – I like to refer to them as ‘Team Katie’ – I won. I was this year’s Toronto Blue Jays Honourary Bat Girl.

When MLB called from New York City to tell me that I won, I couldn’t contain my emotions. I cried for most of the conversation. So many of my days are spent at the hospital, attending appointments, having procedures, or on the phone with doctors. Knowing that I got to be part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization, if even in an honourary role, wa…

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Honourary Bat Girl

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/honourary-bat-girl/

I was in remission for four years after my stage 2 diagnosis and then, nine days before our wedding, I found out the cancer was back and it was metastatic.

I was lucky enough to get signed up for a clinical trial that has kept me stable for the last 21 months. The clinical trial starves my cancer of estrogen of which my particular breast cancer ‘feeds’ off. The active drug has just been approved by the FDA in the States as a first line of defense for advanced breast cancer. As my husband says ‘you helped make that happen.’ It’s a pretty great feeling.

Less than six months after my stage 4 diagnosis, my brother and his girlfriend nominated me to be the Toronto Blue Jays Honourary Bat Girl. To qualify, you had to have ‘gone to bat against breast cancer’ and be a Toronto Blue Jays fan; I qualified. I didnt win but the woman who did, a fellow Rethink Breast Cancer advocate, Michelle Riccio, also had stage 4 breast cancer and so I was thrilled that young women were getting exposure regardless of if I won or not. The crowd was seeing a face that didn’t resemble our grandmothers’.

This year, my husband Keith nominated me. Thanks to the people who surround me and love and support me – I like to refer to them as ‘Team Katie’ – I won. I was this year’s Toronto Blue Jays Honourary Bat Girl.

When MLB called from New York City to tell me that I won, I couldn’t contain my emotions. I cried for most of the conversation. So many of my days are spent at the hospital, attending appointments, having procedures, or on the phone with doctors. Knowing that I got to be part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization, if even in an honourary role, was pretty astounding.

We all know what the pink ribbon represents… Read More

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Cancer is Crap: Under Siege

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/cancer-is-crap-under-siege/

November 5 2009, 1:23 PM

I have a high tolerance for pain.  Anyone who knows me well – family members, doctors, estheticians – will confirm this.  My husband and I agree: I am tough. Not French Foreign Legion tough, but maybe Canadian Special Forces tough.

However, for the last 12 hours and, to a lesser extent, for 48 hours before that, I’ve been enduring wave after wave of intense abdominal pain. I emit weird primal noises and make fists and kick one foot around like a dog dreaming of chasing rabbits… And then the pain passes and, like a crazy person, I type some more.

It’s the drugs – my hitherto mild-mannered capecitabine and lapatinib are now mercilessly kicking my butt.  Causing stomach cramps, intestinal cramps, nasty, painful, crampity-cramps and no small measure of the trotskys…

If it were possible to be punched in the solar plexus and kneed in the nuts while in labour, that’s how I feel.

I have a hot water bottle pressed against my stomach at all times. My husband makes them so hot they have to be wrapped in gigantic towels for the first couple of hours. I may have poached my innards. Don’t care – the relief is glorious.

My mom is now here, taking over where my husband left off when he went to work this morning.  She has fed me mashed bananas and electrolytes and soda crackers. She is busy in the kitchen now – I can hear her over my own weird primal noises; the comforting sound of her clattering around down there.

Another wave is coming.  I really need to stop with the typing. Viva Imodium! Charge!

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Chemotherapy-Linked Neuropathy Can Affect Balance, Gait Even Years After Treatment Ends

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/neuropathy-effects-last-years-after-tx

Neuropathy is the general term for pain caused by damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. Your peripheral nervous system is made up of the many nerves that bring signals from the brain and spinal cord to other (peripheral) parts of the body, such as the hands and feet. Damage to those nerves can affect the way the body sends signals to muscles, joints, skin, and internal organs. This can cause pain, numbness, loss of sensation, and other symptoms.

For people with breast cancer, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy medications travel throughout the body, where they can damage the nerves.

An Ohio State University study on people diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer found that just one cycle of chemotherapy can affect walking gait and balance, putting people at a higher risk for falls.

The research was published in the July 2017 issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. Read the abstract of “Gait, balance, and patient-reported outcomes during taxane-based chemotherapy in early-stage breast cancer patients.”

Another study done by researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University found that nearly half of women treated with chemotherapy for a variety of cancers had peripheral neuropathy symptoms many years after treatment ended, which increased their risk of falling.

This study was published online on June 6, 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read the abstract of “Falls, Functioning, and Disability Among Women With Persistent Symptoms of Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy.”

In the Ohio State study, the researchers looked at 32 women and one man diagnosed with stage I to stage III breast cancer. All the people in the study were treated with taxane chem…

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Herceptin Plus Perjeta Slightly Better for High-Risk, HER2-Positive Disease Than Herceptin Alone

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/herceptin-w-perjeta-better-than-alone-for-some

The targeted therapy Perjeta (chemical name: pertuzumab), when used in combination with the targeted therapy Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab) and the chemotherapy Taxotere (chemical name: docetaxel) before breast cancer surgery, has been shown to improve survival in women diagnosed with high-risk, early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer.

Perjeta, also in combination with Herceptin and Taxotere, also has been shown to improve survival in women diagnosed with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread away from the breast to another part of the body, such as the bones or liver.

So doctors wondered if adding Perjeta to the standard treatment of Herceptin and chemotherapy after surgery could offer more benefits to women diagnosed with early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer. Doctors call treatments given after surgery “adjuvant” treatments.

Early results from a study suggest that adding Perjeta to Herceptin and chemotherapy after surgery to treat early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer slightly improves survival; women diagnosed with high-risk, HER2-positive, early-stage disease got more benefits.

The research was presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting on June 5, 2017 and published online on June 5, 2017 by The New England Journal of Medicine:

Cancer is Crap: Under Siege

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/cancer-is-crap-under-siege/

November 5 2009, 1:23 PM

I have a high tolerance for pain.  Anyone who knows me well – family members, doctors, estheticians – will confirm this.  My husband and I agree: I am tough. Not French Foreign Legion tough, but maybe Canadian Special Forces tough.

However, for the last 12 hours and, to a lesser extent, for 48 hours before that, I’ve been enduring wave after wave of intense abdominal pain. I emit weird primal noises and make fists and kick one foot around like a dog dreaming of chasing rabbits… And then the pain passes and, like a crazy person, I type some more.

It’s the drugs – my hitherto mild-mannered capecitabine and lapatinib are now mercilessly kicking my butt.  Causing stomach cramps, intestinal cramps, nasty, painful, crampity-cramps and no small measure of the trotskys…

If it were possible to be punched in the solar plexus and kneed in the nuts while in labour, that’s how I feel.

I have a hot water bottle pressed against my stomach at all times. My husband makes them so hot they have to be wrapped in gigantic towels for the first couple of hours. I may have poached my innards. Don’t care – the relief is glorious.

My mom is now here, taking over where my husband left off when he went to work this morning.  She has fed me mashed bananas and electrolytes and soda crackers. She is busy in the kitchen now – I can hear her over my own weird primal noises; the comforting sound of her clattering around down there.

Another wave is coming.  I really need to stop with the typing. Viva Imodium! Charge!

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When Cancer Joins You For Father’s Day

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/when-cancer-joins-you-for-fathers-day/

This post is an excerpt from Don Kerr’s awesome book Riding Shotgun.


Special occasions, whether genuine or Hallmark holidays, can be challenging when cancer finds a place at the table.  I wrote the following piece on Father’s Day about 2 years after my wife Kate’s diagnosis with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.

One of the key messages I adamantly stress to male caregivers is this – you have a choice to make at the outset of your partner’s diagnosis and one which will be revisited often as you progress through treatment. That choice is this – will you show up?

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

It’s not and there are many marriages that fail when cancer comes calling. Apart from exposing your partners to the rigours of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and whatever else she may require, cancer will expose every frailty that may exist in your relationship.

When you decide to show up you make a commitment to hang in there regardless and when it comes to your one special day of the year – Father’s Day – you may have to adopt a much different outlook.


 Mr. Mom’s Father’s Day

Samuel & Gabriel Kerr, 2013

This is turning out to be a really great day. Enhanced by the pure joy of my boys. Marred only by the absence of my wife. But then again, made joyful as she is in England spending some well-deserved away time with her best friend in the world…

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