Checking in as Rocky progresses through a harder life chapter: Stage 4 Fallopian Cancer

Cancer Sucks Update #9

Last Chemo Treatment!

For now…Cross your fingers for a long remission!


Since March I’ve had three more chemo treatments, including what we’re hoping will be my LAST CHEMO TREATMENT this past Tuesday! (April 23) Oh, I rang the heck out of that chemo bell, baby, and it felt great. This little cootie adventure started out with some pretty ugly survival chances, hovering around the 14% range, so this might be the last chemo for now, but either way, it’s the last one for some time! I had some of my best chemo supporters there with me to make it even more special, including my chemo battle buddy, Lorraine, who had her last treatment on April 2nd and is so far receiving incredible results.

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Soon I’ll have a scan and the results to go with it. Until then, we’re trying to get my genetic testing completed, which is apparently hard to do when your white blood cell counts are as strikingly low as mine. We are hoping the third time is a charm, because without these results I can’t get the treatment that would be best for someone like me who has the BRCA gene mutation.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) gene mutations. Everyone has BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Some people have an inherited mutation in one or both of these genes that increases the risk of breast cancer.BRCA1/2 mutations can be passed to you from either parent and can affect the risk of cancers in both women and men.

Until the genetic testing proves I have the mutation, I have continued infusion treatments every three weeks for chemo maintenance. But once they definitively prove the BRCA mutation in my genetics, I’ll be moved over to a parp inhibitor, which is a x2 a day pill treatment that my medical team described as “a treatment plan with significantly higher survival rates”. So, you can see my urgency to get moved to this other treatment…

FDA Approves a New PARP Inhibitor for BRCA-mutant Breast Cancer

In the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided good news for the breast cancer community this week when it approved a new breast cancer therapeutic called talazoparib (Talzenna), which targets ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) proteins. They also approved a test to identify those patients eligible to receive talazoparib: patients with metastatic or locally advanced, HER2-negative breast cancer who have an inherited, cancer-associated BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutation.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Image courtesy of the National Cancer Institute/Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

As discussed in a previous post on this blog, inherited BRCA1/2 mutations account for between 5 percent and 10 percent of breast cancer cases diagnosed in U.S. women. They also account for a similar proportion of ovarian cancer cases.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes produce proteins that act as tumor suppressor proteins. One function of these proteins is to repair damaged DNA through a process called homologous recombination. The BRCA1/2 mutations that are associated with cancer cause the production of altered BRCA1/2 proteins or prevent any BRCA1/2 proteins being made by the mutated gene. As a result, the cells are deficient in homologous recombination, which leads to the accumulation of genetic mutations and, sometimes, cancer.

Research has shown that cells with a cancer-associated BRCA1/2 mutation often repair DNA using a cellular pathway called the base excision repair pathway. It has also shown that PARP proteins are important components of this DNA repair pathway and that blocking PARP protein function can cause cells with cancer-associated BRCA1/2 mutations to die.

This research has led to the clinical development and FDA approval of several PARP inhibitors as a treatment for patients with cancers harboring inherited BRCA1/2 mutations. Before the approval of talazoparib, three PARP inhibitors had been approved for treating certain women with an inherited BRCA1/2 mutation who have ovarian cancer—olaparib (Lynparza), rucaparib (Rubraca), and niraparib (Zejula). Olaparib had also been approved for treating certain patients with an inherited BRCA1/2 mutation who have metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer.  -READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

So, that’s the latest for now- Just waiting on the genetic testing to see which treatment plan we’ll move forward with, so cross your fingers for those parp inhibitors for me! My chemo battle buddy had her last treatment but still came back to see me through my last round. Just love her so much. And everyone who has been there for me through all of this, I can’t even tell you. 

Cancer Sucks Update #8

 

 

Rocky Fights Fundraiser has Incredible Turnout!

I’m a little late with the summary, but a lot has been happening, man!


Did you make it for the fun? Oh, I hope so because there was much to be had. So much fun and love going around, smiles and laughter everywhere I looked on the faces of the people I love most. It was truly a day I’ll never forget. Four amazing hours of hanging out with some of the most important and amazing people in my life, who were simultaneously raising over $20K to help me and my family through this cancer cootie fight.

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The event was held at Route 47 in Fridley, a venue that has a lot of history for me. I used to run a karaoke show there, including a few bigger events, and spent many nights filling what used to be called “Picklepark” with friends and singers and drinks in the air. I became great friends with many of the employees, who, incidentally, ended up being major players in the setup of the amazing Silent Auction and the entire fundraiser. It was nostalgia for us to all be back at that gorgeous venue, especially when the karaoke was going on stage!

THE ENTERTAINMENT

Then, of course we had the amazing Hot Pink Hangover band play, and let me tell you, these are amazingly sweet and talented people. Everyone loved their music, both original and covers, and when I tried to tip them for playing, not only did they refuse, but they DONATED to my cause, too! How incredible are they for making the event a blast by being the main entertainment, donating their time, and then donating to my fundraiser.

If you are in the market for a hot, skilled band to play at your venue, I cannot express enough how much you should check these guys out! Follow them on Facebook and check out their website  https://www.hotpinkhangover.com

 

THE BIG MONEY MAKER

OF COURSE, there was the Silent Auction… and oh how amazing that turned out! It was incredible to see how many amazing baskets, services, and other valuable goods were donated and then the bidding battles that ensued after them. I participated as best I could by painting an “Acceptance” series of small paintings depicting this cancer adventure, and every single painting sold. I included a few of my other original paintings that were larger to draw attention to the table but didn’t expect to sell them, and every one of those sold as well! Funny enough, my largest one, the large lion called “Headdress” went to exactly who I’d hoped- www.ProtegeFitness.com  Check out their site and you’ll see why! Then there was a bidding war that continued behind the scenes when my dear friend finally caved and sold the painting again to someone who lost the bid– Check out how she displayed it! CLICK HERE #glassceiling  -Placed perfectly because she’s an interior designer and purple was her color, and they already have a motivational saying about tossing on their high heels… I’m so glad this one went to Candy, the owner of House 2 Home Flooring in Ham Lake. She was an incredible help at the Kissing Booth for the event, too!

 

BONUS SURPRISES

Even some of my soccer girls from the years of coaching my daughter’s soccer teams came out to visit! One player in particular, Tatum, even got in a bidding war over one of my paintings and donating a whopping $90 of her own money to my cause! I can’t even type that out without tears coming to my eyes. I’m so lucky to have had these amazing young ladies in my life, and I hope they always stay in touch with me as they grow. Love them to pieces!

 

 

Oh gosh, what else? 

How about KARE 11 stopping in to share about the fundraiser!

 

 

AND, one of the most memorable moments for ME on this day, was the amazing surprise I received to have one of my favorite people fly in from New Jersey to see me! 

 

My dear friend, Jess, came just for my fundraiser, plus I was lucky enough to take the following Monday off to spend with her. I miss her like crazy all the time and had no idea she was trying to come to my event. It filled my heart with happiness and eyes with tears to turn around and see her in person.

 

Honestly, the day was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I think everyone should have a day like this, where they are celebrated by everyone they know and love all in once place for just a little while. But hopefully without the cooties to fight.

To everyone who came out for this magical day, thank you so very much for coming- you being there meant so much to me and I hope I hugged nearly everyone. To those who couldn’t make it but wanted to, I completely understand and will take long distance hugs and smiles in place of attendance without a problem. 🙂

“You are the company you keep.” It’s something I’ve said and believed in since I was a teen, and after this day, it’s no doubt I practice what I preach. Because I’m keeping in step with some really amazing people!

Cancer Sucks Update #7

Cancer Sucks Update: So it’s been a while since my last post, mostly because there were some pretty tough days in there to get over. But there were some good and great ones too, fun with visitors, a trip to the Mayo, and my dad came home again for a couple of days.

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After getting a couple of second opinions, it sounds like I’m on the right plan for right now. The Mayo may have more options for me in the future, but not until after remission. So it’s good to know we have options in the future with these cooties.

As for my cancer numbers, pretty excited for the huge drop to the 300s, down from 1200s before, and the 2200s before that. Recovery from the last chemo was pretty brutal, so I am assuming the same for the next three rounds. Super duper! 🤢

But hey, my brother is in town for the weekend, my other brother is going to be a Husky at St Cloud State, my daughter has her DI Tournament tomorrow, I got to see my sister yesterday and lots of wonderful visitors over the past couple of weeks… Plus, Ive been able to get back to the office more and more with Eric and the VPoint Team, who have been doing an amazing job keeping things growing at work this whole time. Thank you thank you thank you! There’s a lot to be happy about right now!

AAAAAAAND a special thank you to my friend Stewart for my great new T-shirt!! #fuckcancer

Thank you, everyone, for your continued love and support!

www.RockyFights.com

Cancer Sucks Update #6

It’s WORLD CANCER DAY! What a sad day to need to have… But it’s here and it’s getting harder to ignore as this ugly foe attacks the world without yet an end in sight. Today seems like an appropriate day to give a Cancer Sucks Update:

Welp, the last of my hair bit the dust. **Farewell, dear mohawk, you were loved though you were short-lived.** But while the loss of my hair is a bummer, I’m excited to hear that my cancer numbers are back near where I was before it began spreading like wildfire! …how much of good news this is or not, I’m not quite sure yet. They haven’t explained all of the ‘schematics’ of those numbers to me yet. But as far as I’m concerned, Less Cancer Means More Life. So I’m game!

Chemo Round #2 went well last Tuesday, wearing down my energy a bit for the week but otherwise it hasn’t been too shabby. My visit with the U of M was very positive, even if it was a bit premature, so there is a lot to be excited about!

Thank you, everyone, for your continued love and support!

www.RockyFights.com

Cancer Sucks Update #5

Cancer Sucks Update: What a week, whew! A huge shout out to everyone who helped me get through it with a smile! (Including the largest balloon I’ve ever seen in my life) 🎈

My 103.1 fever brought me into the ER on Tuesday, followed by an unexpected super fun few days with some of my favorite nurses at Mercy. I had my second drain bag (yes, it is as attractive as it sounds) installed to keep yet another abscess at bay. After all that, and after being cleared of all infections, I was able to get my port installed in time- so chemo this Tuesday won’t have to be delayed. Yay!

 

After finally getting home and a couple of days of sleep, it was haircut time. It’s been falling out like crazy, but thankfully I’m lucky enough to be neighbors with Hair by Emily Coffin, who was so kind to come to my home to give me a sassy, albeit temporary, new cut. Thanks again, Emily!

Then, my other neighbor, Michael, came over with the most incredible surprise and presented me with this amazing American flag plaque from Michael Hrdlicka of Nida Marketing Group, Inc that simply brought me to tears!! 🇺🇸🤗🇺🇸

It’s been a crazy 6 days of tests and pokes and scans and unfavorable results, but we keep charging ahead, one day at a time, with the biggest smiles we can muster! #cancersucks

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www.RockyFights.com

Cancer Sucks Update #4



Cancer Sucks Update: So the scans came back with some not-so-fun results today, Grr. Sadly, the cooties have spread a fair amount since the surgery. These are fast, angry little effers… But at least now I know what I’m working against!

So, even though the specifics suck, there is a lot of power in knowledge. With it, I’ve already got things moving for second opinions and alternative options, and I’m very excited for those!

If you’re so inclined, please keep those vibes coming! 😬 Not wanting to leave on a bummer note, I leave you with a photo of a kid and her cat. Just the best kid in the world, in fact. ❤️❤️❤️