Relay for Life May 2015

Hi!  It’s me!  It’s that time of year again.  I just “celebrated” my 4 year cancerversary in March.  March 15th to be exact.  In some ways it seems like yesterday, in others it was years ago!  In some ways I want to celebrate, in other ways I don’t.  Cancer just sucks!

Most of you know I have chosen to support the American Cancer Society (ACS) in my fundraising efforts.  We all have our opinions on organizations, but I truly believe the money we contribute to ACS is used directly towards cancer research.  While I personally have been affected by breast cancer, many that I love have been affected by so many other types of cancer.  I am sure all of you in some way can relate, unfortunately.

In 2011 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, for the first time in my life, I was directly affected by not having enough research.  Completely amazing in this day and age, in my opinion.  More importantly, I don’t want my daughter to face an oncologist and hear the same thing.  So, for that reason, I annually raise money and tell my story.  1 out of 8 women today are diagnosed with breast cancer.  Not acceptable!

Ed, Gracie and I will be walking in the Relay for Life at Westminster (in Buckhead/Vinings) this year on Friday, May 29th – the Friday after Memorial Day.  We have walked at Adams Stadium for years, but they have chosen to move further out in Dekalb County.  So, for that reason, we have decided to change venues this year.  I am hoping this is closer to home for many of you and you will be able to join us.  And, this year the entire event is held from 5:00 p.m. until midnight, Friday night.  Short and sweet!  Fun for individuals and families!  Bring your kids!  P.S.  Porknado will be there providing “BBQ for a Cause.”

I hope you will plan to join my team “Gaile Force” and be out there with us on the 29th.  If that is not possible, please plan to donate to our team which will directly go to the American Cancer Society.  Any amount helps in the fight against cancer!

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/mgaile

I thank all of you for your support of me, Ed and Gracie.  We would have never made it through that experience without the support of our friends and family.  Love you all!  MKG

Join Me In October

Hi to all.  It’s been so long since I have written on my blog.  I miss it really!  What an outlet it  is (or was)!  I am happy to report I have been  busy with everyday life and fortunately don’t have much to report medically!  But as we approach October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, I have some thoughts to pass along.  It’s a month many breast cancer survivors have a tough time with.  Every day there is something pink, an advertisement, just something that reminds you that you had breast cancer.  And other breast cancer survivors get frustrated with the way marketers use the disease to sell products – where it doesn’t make sense.  Look around and you will see what I mean.  Non-cancer survivors may say, shouldn’t you be happy that you are a survivor?  Valid.  But live it.  Live the surprise of the diagnosis, the chemotherapy, the hair loss, the surgery, the removal of the boobs (that tried to kill you), rounds of radiation, and then you may understand.  Me – I have to admit – I am still somewhere in between.  This month doesn’t make me upset, personally.  I think people generally mean well.  However, it does make me reflect on my diagnosis, my treatment, my journey, the fabulous support of my family and friends, the fact that I am a 3 1/2 year survivor, and on the down side, what could (HOPEFULLY NOT) be next.  It also makes me think about way too many friends or acquaintances that I know that have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s ridiculous really…so for that reason….I want to fight and raise money to cure this awful, way too common disease.

I have once again signed up a team to walk the American Cancer Society’s Marking Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Saturday, October 25th at 9:00 a.m. at Centennial Park.  Team Gaile Force will be there in full “force” and I hope you will consider joining us or donating to our team.   I know there are so many organizations out there that raise money for cancer and for breast cancer specifically.  Everyone has their own opinion or favorite organization, and rightfully so.  I personally support the American Cancer Society (ACS) and know the money we raise is used for cancer research.  Most of you know Ed, Gracie and I have a great friend that is in research at ACS.  She has been such a good friend and resource for us throughout this process.  She is so smart and one day I know she will be a part of the team that will figure out the cure for this terrible disease that affects way too many people!  (AP – No pressure!)

I hope you will consider coming out and joining Ed, Gracie and I for this walk.  It’s an easy, fun 3 mile walk around downtown Atlanta.  It’s fun for the the whole family and a great, healthy way to start a Saturday morning.

To join our team or donate, please go here:  http://main.acsevents.org/goto/mgaile

Post race, for those that can join, we will meet at Meehan’s in Vinings. More details to follow for those that come out!

Please, please, please join me in raising money for the American Cancer Society and Breast Cancer Research!

Love you all.  Meredith (and Ed and Gracie)

 

 

 

 

 

Relay for Life 2014

It’s been a full year since I have written a post.  Well, the good news is I don’t have much to report!  I recently “celebrated” my 3 year “cancerversary” and can officially call myself a 3 year cancer survivor; I have been promoted to annual visits with my oncologist; and life goes on!  While cancer doesn’t define who I am, it is still something I think about regularly and will “fight” forever.

It’s that time of year again and Ed, Gracie and I will be out at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Adam’s Stadium off of North Druid Hills on Friday, May 16thThe survivors lap starts at 7:00 p.m.  For those of you that joined us last year, it’s the same location.  This is an event that raises money for all types of cancer – not just breast cancer.  Unfortunately, we all know someone that has battled some type of cancer.  A few of us will sleep there overnight, others will join us for a few hours.  Whatever works with your schedule! Come join us!

Check out the pictures from last year – 2013 Relay for Life.  It’s a fun, family friendly event!

http://meredithgaile.com/photo-gallery/

To raise more money, this year, Ed and Todd (Team Porknado) will be selling BBQ sandwiches and we also plan for the kids to have a bake sale. All money raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Please consider joining us!  Click on the link below to join the Gaile Force team at the Relay.  If you cannot join us in person, I hope you will please consider a donation.

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/mgaile

Thanks in advance for your support!  Love, MKG

 

Relay for Life: May 17, 2013

I hope you will sign up now to join the “Gaile Force” team at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Adams Stadium on Friday, May 17th.  The event begins at 7:00 p.m. with a survivors lap.  It is a fun, family friendly event you won’t want to miss!

Please join me in raising money to fight (and hopefully one day end) cancer!

For more details about the event, to join our team, and/or to donate, see link below:

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/gaileforce

Thanks in advance for your support!  Love, MKG

 

 

It’s Been a While

It’s been three months since I have written.  I miss it (and miss all of you)!  I had to go back and re-read the last post to figure out where I left off.  Pitiful!  In mid-September I wrote about getting my nipples tattooed.  Oh, what a joy.  You will be happy to know the ink is still in place.  Phew!

As a quick update, in October I had a CT scan to take a look at that small nodule on my lung they have been watching since the very beginning.  The results showed nothing has changed and it has remained the same.  The radiologist recommends I move to an annual screening vs. the every 6 months.  I am good with that.  See you next October!

In November, I had an echo cardiogram and an appointment with my Oncologist.  The echo results were perfect.  My heart is strong.  My Oncologist still recommends another echo cardiogram in 6 months.  This is all because of the Herceptin I was on (or injected with) for one full year.  It has a small chance of effecting the heart.  I’m up for it and all about checking in so I will do it again in 6 months.  The visit with the Oncologist was completely routine i.e. we talk, she asks me if I feel O.K. or have any concerns, I say I am fine, I ask her a couple of questions, she does a breast exam (not sure what she is looking for since I have 2 stiff implants!?) and then I am done.  Oh, I did have blood work done which came back completely normal.  So after a positive review, I have now been promoted to every 6 months with my Oncologist.  So I will see her again in May 2013.  Yeah for me!

So, what’s next?  I have an echo cardiogram and Oncologist visit in 6 months and a CT scan in a year.  I continue to take Tamoxifen (a pill) every day for 5 (or possibly 10) years!  Almost one year down.

Many of you know that I have a breast cancer survivor friend on-line – not someone I know personally – but someone I follow on Twitter that reached her 5 year cancerversary.  That’s a big milestone for breast cancer survivors.  Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.  She is roughly my age with 3 young children.  She is a fabulous mom, wife, and person.  She is a great writer.  Without going into too much detail, it is not curable, but it is treatable.  But for the rest of her life – for however long that is and unfortunately it is unknown – she will be on some form of chemo.  Really!?  That sucks and is just not fair!  I hate it for her, for her husband, and for her children.  I hate cancer!  I can relate to her stories about crying as she puts her kids to bed, or reading them a story, or talking about a trip next year – just not knowing how long she will be here.  I can’t even imagine.  I don’t want to imagine.  I would like to think that will NEVER happen to me.  But unfortunately, based on what I know now, you just never ever know.

Some days I feel like I am back to normal, back to my old self.  Gracie is in Kindergarten and loves it, Ed is working hard, I am back to work part-time and really enjoying it, the holidays are upon us and we are busy, and I am feeling good.  But, some days I am reminded that cancer will always be a part of my life.  Always.

Within the recent weeks, my mom’s cousin (and a faithful supporter and blog reader of mine) was diagnosed with breast cancer – the same type I had.  Unbelievable.  When will it ever stop!?  We have been in close contact and I am so happy I can help her by shedding some light on this crazy journey.  She is a wonderful, strong women and can and will make it through this.  (Thinking of you constantly!)

Ladies – Promise me in the new year you will schedule your annual OB/gyn exams and mammograms.  Trust me – it’s worth your time!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Healthy New Year!

 

 

Tattoos

Well, it’s official – I have tattoos.  Or “tatts” as Ed calls them.  Really!?  For those of you that know me, that’s crazy.  It’s something I would have never done!

So yesterday morning I drove myself to my plastic surgeon’s office.  What a great doctor.  If anyone following my blog needs a plastic surgeon in Atlanta, I’ve got your guy.  Love him.  He is great at what he does and has a fabulous personality.  I met with him briefly before I met the nurse that did the tattooing.  It was a quick meeting to see “his work.”  It had been a while.  Now let me say I am very, very happy with my results.  But, I did have a few questions for him.  There a couple of things that are not perfect in my eyes.  Primarily because I have one radiated breast and one that was not.  Radiation causes the skin to be tight.   Honestly, if you didn’t know any different, you would never notice.  But because I know and stare at them daily, I do.  I told him surgery was not an option and asked if there was any “in the office” type procedures that could make them perfect.  His response was no.  But he insinuated that we could do surgery down the road.  Huh?  Not for a long while for me!  Been there, done that and enough is enough!  But  I am learning that plastic surgeons – or at least mine – is a perfectionist.  I see him in 6 months as a follow-up.  While it is completely my decision, who knows what he will suggest.

So, from there I was introduced to the nurse that would do the tattooing.  She comes into this plastic surgeon’s office once a week.  The other days during the week she works as a nurse at Emory.  After some introductions, we looked at my pre-surgery pictures in my file.  That was from a year ago this summer.  Wow.  I had totally forgotten what my original breasts looked like – before the nasty tumor was removed.  So with those pictures we worked with the colors (or “ink”) she had to make my aureolas and nipples as close to what they used to look like before.   That was my goal.  “Just put me back together the way I was.”  After some “testing” of colors on my skin, we agreed to a plan.  And then she started.  Interesting, she was using the exact same equipment that would be used in a tattoo parlor (but I was in the comfort of a quiet plastic surgeon office).  I didn’t completely know what to expect, but the good news is I didn’t feel much.  Thank goodness!  Once she got started, it felt like a vibration on my skin and sounded like I was at the dentist office (i.e. hearing the drills).  Strangely – but not really – I felt no pain.  The appointment was an hour and a half.  We started at 9:30 a.m. and were done at 11:00 a.m. – and I was on my way.

I have some follow-up instructions I am following.  I won’t go into detail, but surprisingly I haven’t had to take a thing for pain.  I’m fine but just need them to heal!  Interestingly the nurse told me I would not see the true color for 6 weeks.  She also told me over a period of time they will fade and I will be back in again.  Really!?  Will this ever end?  I am constantly reminded this will never be over.  Uugghh.