Rock Solid


I spent most of the day Saturday in the grips of a panic attack/depression. I could not seem to get off the couch. Not my usual face this head on self. I was just trying to breath without crying. When 9 pm rolled around I was forcing myself out the door. Anxious and tired I headed into the North Star bar. The benefit for my children was organized by some very old friends Joey Throttle and Keith Souder. As I entered the room, I immediately saw a few familiar faces. Seeing several good friends  put me more at ease. It felt very nice to be surrounded by such lovely long time friends. Some I have seen a lot of. Others who I had not seen in a long time. Joey Throttle called it a family reunion, which I think was very accurate. My friend Tom said he had no other family other than his mom. That is my story too. My friends really are my family.

The show itself was quite good. All the bands sounded amazing. I was surprised at how awesome the bands were. The music did not seem dated at all. Throttle, Trained Attack Dogs, and Deadspot rocked. The sweetest thing was just watching all these old guys jump around and sweat. For me. Several people said, “I wouldn’t do this for anyone else Andrea.” The singer from Deadspot flew in from California for the show. That is so touching. I think Kelly wanted to review the show from a punk rock standpoint. I just wanted to talk about how I felt being there. Truth is I felt ALIVE. Not sick.Not dying. Not in pain. Not depressed. Just alive and happy. I danced. I rocked out. I drank diet coke and hugged my friends. I was overjoyed at the opportunity to just be normal for a minute.

I wore my “I’m not dead yet” t-shirt. Naomi cut the back out of it. Very sexy to rock the back cleavage. For flat chested girls only! Many people asked how I was. I smiled and said great. I did not want to get into the ‘hey my cancer is spreading all over the place” thing. I let them tell me how good I looked and suppressed my inner response( which is something like,” yeah I look great for someone who is dying.”) I just allowed myself to have a good time. I felt loved. And that is a very nice thing. Whether or not I see these people everyday when I am with them I know they care about me.

The feeling of anxiety, stress, and doom returned this morning. I had the MRI of my brain last week and because my doctor was on vacation I was not able to get the results until Monday. I have spent every day fearing that I have brain mets. It is all I have been thinking about. I am telling you this so you will understand why this week has been so difficult. I have researched some options for the lymph node and liver cancer. I think it may be in my best interest to do some short time radiation to both. There is a radiation therapy known as brachytherapy which is very effective. These are my thoughts. My ideas. I do not know if my oncologist will agree. She may want me to start the new chemo. I am thinking that I do not have 8 weeks to see if a new drug will work. And all this is just speculation because if I have brain mets, it is all up in the air.

I do not have any idea what tomorrow holds. None of us really does. We like to think we have a rock solid idea about our present, our future. But this is just not so. As my life is an example of how quickly our lives change. I have envisioned my doctor relaying both positive and negative information to me at our meeting tomorrow. I imagine what that might look like. I am prepared for either. Or at least as much as I can be. I pray for peace.I wish my future did not hang in the balance so often. I wish there was more stability. A solid place to stand in cancer land is quite hard to find. There is a lot of turmoil. Earth shaking stuff. You just never really know how stable things are until somebody tells you your tests came back okay. And mine have never been okay. Like I said before I have never gotten good news after a scan. I expect to hear that I have brain mets tomorrow. But I pray that is not so. I know you are all here for me. I know you are praying too. My friends I thank you for being rocks in my land of cancer.

Thank you all so much for your support.

12 Responses to “Rock Solid”

  1. Dina says:

    Praying and praying and praying over here. Whenever I click on your blog and Owen is on my lap he says, “How IS my Andrea, Mommy?” He recognizes the picture right away. Anyway, I am so glad you had a ball at the concert. Perhaps if we could just get a punk rock concert going 7 days a week you would never be in pain? Maybe the key here is finding all of the things that make you feel good and happy and just surrounding you with them 24/7? My mind has been racing as far as what I can do personally. I hope you know that all you have to do is ask.
    Love, Dina

  2. lyns says:

    I pray that you find peace that passes all understanding!!! Thanks for the history of Punk Rock Mommy… and I am really glad that you had so much fun at the “reunion!!” XO Lyns

  3. Andrea – I’m wishing for you some sleep tonight – hoping that you can turn your thoughts “off” enough to get some energy for tomorrow without your mind racing all night long. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow. – Amy

  4. Renee Khan says:

    It is so hard Andrea. Cancer is just so hard.

    Please God, give Andrea and her family a break.

    Love Renee

  5. Art Bucher says:

    Rock on, Andrea. I am praying for you and your family. -Art

  6. Heather says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time, but haven’t commented. I just wanted to tell you that I am thinking about you every day and praying for you. I have learned so much from you, I can’t even begin to tell you. I’ll be thinking about you today and sending you thoughts of peace.

  7. Toni G says:

    good report good report good report
    PLEASE a good report

  8. Stacy S. says:

    sending good vibes your way! i am praying for good reports today. keep your chin up. hugs- Stacy

  9. Julie says:

    My love, thoughts and prayers are with you today my friend.

  10. Tina says:

    I hope this is a Good News Monday!! Keep positive thoughts!!

  11. Aimee says:

    Today is the day. I’ve been thinking about today everyday since last week too. It’s 9:06am California time, which means that it’s already noon in Philly. And I am fervently praying- that the scans reveal everything clearly and confidantly, that your heart is able to accept the results, that those around you can weep with you or jump for joy with you, and that your oncology team is guided by the Mighty Hand of God to fulfill his purposes.

    I appreciate your honesty, Andrea. You’re doing this whole cancer thing very well. It’s a tight rope, hard to juggle and move forward at the same time. But you are doing it. And I’m sure those around you marvel at the strength they see in you- the strength and grace of Christ.

    I had to get on anti-depressants and I had bad anxiety attacks too. I felt guilty about that at first- like I just wasn’t coping or something. But, the chemotherapy can knock your brain chemistry off-kilter, just like it can put you in menopause. So it’s not a failure, or a weakness, to consider some type of psychotropic medication to help ease the depression and anxiety.

    And I hear what you’re saying about the scans and never having a good result. But that doesn’t make it any harder. I think all of us with IBC have anxiety and expect the worst. We all feel a tinge of pain and secretly wonder if the cancer’s moved to a new place. That feeling of dread doesn’t really start to ease for a long time. Even after several clear scans I still had a lump in my throat. And while it did get a little smaller each time a scan came back clear, when a grapefruit-sized tumor just suddenly appeared through a scan, I surely wished I was better prepared for it- I had gotten too complacent, was trying to move forward in life on my own, as if it never happened to me. I know it’s hard, a struggle, but God’s keeping you on your toes (or on your knees), and that’s really where we all should be. So in some way, count it a blessing. He’s got you in a place very few get to be. 😉

    I get my scan results tomorrow.

  12. Brianna says:

    I am thinking of you and your family, praying for you all, for your strength and comfort.