C h e c k l i s t

Check to the end...

          ☑ Chemotherapy
          ☑ Surgery
          ☑ Radiation
          Maintenance Therapy
                     ☑  Herceptin
                     ☐  Anti-Hormonal Treatment

December 27, 2011

Feeling Festive!



I am spending the holidays with wonderful friends and family and feeling lucky to be happy and NED (no evidence of disease)! I wish for good health and good times for all my loves!
Two years ago I got my lump checked for the first time around the holidays and I feel that I have come such a long way from that dreadful winter. 
It will be two years on January 13th since I was diagnosed and all I can say today is "what does not kill you, makes you stronger"! I am amazed by my inner strength and I feel it comes from all of you who care about me so much!
I worried many of you by my last two posts and that was not my intention. It is easy to go to a dark place but it is more important to come out of it. I use exercise to help me come out. I have started running and I am loving it. It helps me trim my mind and body. I must confess by running I mean I run a quarter mile and walk half a mile and then run a quarter and walk another half. It is no big feat but it is definitely a start!
2011 has been a good year even with a long 10 hour surgery and excruciating expansion process. It has also been a year to come to terms with all that is new in our lives and our 'normal'.  Survivorship co-survivorship is hard but we are making strides every day.
Peace Love and Joy
Bela

December 15, 2011

Top 10 Depressors in my life

1. There is a possibility that I might not live long
2. I may never get to travel the world
3. I may never achieve anything, ANYTHING
4. I make very little money today compared to the year 2009. Just got my bonus check and it is nothing like what I used to get.
5. I am fat. There is no sugar coating it. There are rolls of fat on my body.
6. I will never have the energy, the spirit, the enthusisam that I had.
7. I may never get my hair back. My real hair not the chemo curls. I hate em.
8. I will die before I get a mid-life crisis car. Mine is a blue convertible mini cooper.
9. I am going to turn 35 in 2012. Just 5 years away from 40. I know many of you feel I should be happy to be alive, period.
10. I may not have another child.

I need something to lift me up today. For sure.

I should probably go for a run and then plan my next big vacay.

Just sayin...

B

December 9, 2011

Insure my rack for me please?

I was flipping through October's People magazine in the gym yesterday and saw that there was this little snippet about celebritties insuring their bodily assets and there were two ditsy titsy women who have insured their breasts for a hefty amount. Seriously? You can insure those? And what does that mean? If they change physically (naturally) or get sucked down by gravity, you will be paid for it? I do not wish ill on these two ditsy titsies, but what if you had to surgically remove them to save your life? What then?

Stupid celebrities feeding their stupid egos.

My foobs are not being nice to me right now. I am in no mood to insure them. I cannot wait to get these hard  rocks like expanders out and have some soft silicone squishes in. This will happen after 3 months of stretching, clock starting now as I am finally done with filling those with saline! My PS said "we have to make sure that the skin forgets that it can act like a rubber band and snap back". He also says things like "you are expanding well, and the skin looks stretched and shiny". Stuff you will hear only in my shoes.

Everyday I sit uncomfortably and lay on the bed in the most awkward way at night and there is zero comfort in sleeping these days, but it is worse when incidents like the one I am about to tell you happen:
 I went to the store to buy a dress for the holiday party and got badly stuck in a dress in the fitting room. My arm, yes the one that has been hurting more than the surgical site(s) since the surgery, was stretched up pointing at the bright light bulb and the other arm trying to get the damn dress to move away from the hard rocks on my chest! I spent close to 20 minutes contemplating whether to call the store assistant and let her witness my freak show with my freaky scarred chest bumps or to tear the dress off me. Finally after minutes of deep breathing and calming myself down, I just gave it one last push amidst tears and got it out without ripping it! I thought to myself  that the dress deserves someone with nice soft natural breasts, not a freak like me!

Now you know why the stupid tabloid article got under my skin. Do you really have any insurance in life? Then why insure breasts?? And please tell me what it entails? Didnt J Lo's backside grow when she carried her twins? Did her insurance cover the trauma caused to society for looking at her fat ass during that time?

On that note, Happy Holidays!

XO,

Got knotted in a dress and got out of it without tearing it Bela.



November 17, 2011

Run Bela Run

I am so desperate to run, to exercise. I was told that I can exercise as long as I dont move my arms and upper body. So I ran funny with my arms folded close to my chest. But I so want to get back in shape and fast!
Next summer I will have more options to wear cute stuff and I want to take full advantage of it. So I am going to work towards that :)
I am taking a break from expansions as I am getting to the point where I can tolerate very little fill and the muscle spasms are more intense. I will go back in 2 weeks and then most probably be done after a couple of expansions.
I have had this persistent cold for 4 weeks now and I am wondering where is the cure for the common cold as well? Me and my poor baby have been stuffed up forever!
I wanted to write a short n sweet post. Y'all have a Happy Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year. But most of all thanks to all my friends and family for all that they continue to do for me. 
XOXO
Bela

November 2, 2011

Oh Wow Oh Wow Oh Wow : Economics and Looking Forward

I have often wondered what the bottomline cost of my breast cancer diagnosis is? I could easily back calculate the cost to the third party payer, my insurance companies, but like in our work, it is hard to estimate the total cost, especially the indirect costs. And these days I am thinking of the burden of breast cancer on a household. For me personally it is loss of earnings, loss of opportunity from being out of work, as well as the loss of ability to go back  to work 100%. In addition to that, if I add all the copays, premiums, drug costs, and my husband's loss of productivity then I would say that breast cancer is one nasty greedy expensive bitch!!!
I still consider myself lucky to be able to afford a lot of this treatment and to have an "okay" insurance. It really makes me think of my less fortunate sisters who dont have means to cover these bills. We all have dipped into our savings but there are women who didnt have that little bit of padding to begin with. I have decided that going forward all my charity will be towards these women. Now that the big hoopla and show of Pinktober is over, we can focus on really making a difference in this world and helping some of these women. I urge you all to consider the The Pink Daisy Project as one of your charities this year.
We lost a genius to cancer last month as well as many young women (yes I said many and it is one loss too many) that I knew through my support group. I have been thinking a lot about Steve Jobs' life and what all he accomplished in his 56 years on earth and I wondered what I would have accomplished at the end of my life? If I had to die now, nothing. Only a true genius can say "Oh Wow" Oh Wow" "Oh Wow" as his last words. May be he saw something or experienced something that we will never know.
On my health update side, I am back at work as of November 1, part-time. I still have to go for weekly expansions and they are shaping well, pun intended. I still struggle getting back into the real world after being out for a while. It is like learning to walk all over again. But I know in my heart that it will all work out one day. My heart is full of hope. Hope there is.
I want to start dreaming again and have these crazy aspirations of a 20 year old. I want to do so much. I want my sibling to write an amazing eulogy for me just like Mona Simpson did for Steve Jobs. For that, I need to do so much more in my life. So much more.

October 17, 2011

Can we truly live beyond breast cancer?

I went for the "Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC)" conference in Philadelphia a couple of weeks back. It was so good to connect with other young BC surviviors. In the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, was a girl in her 30s sitting next to me sporting a lymphedema sleeve. I introduced myself and it turned out that she was one of the girls from my online support group. It feels good when you meet people who can relate to you, give you hope, and inspire you. It was a mix of attending sessions related to the disease, walking past BC merchandise like stick on nipples (LOL!), cool lymphdema sleeves with tattooed patterns, and doing stuff like what people our age do when not battling breast cancer like shots with a bunch of girls, who will later on flash their foobs to us. One thing that goes out of the door since your BC diagnosis is your sense of modesty : you basically wear a gown that is just a pretend piece of clothing and sit in the exam room and have at least 20 different people over the next several years touch your breasts and lump(s), then just a breast, then flat scarred chest, then developing chest mounds(again), and pretend to carry on a 'this doesnt bother me' conversation with the medical professionals. After this when a bunch of crazy young BC survivors meet all they want to do this exchange notes about their experiences, amazing or bad reconstructive outcomes, see the difference between saline and silicone implants, look in awe at the grafted fipple, or the tattooed ones, look at the people with  abdominal or  back tissue transferred to their chest, etc. etc. Where else will I get to see so many live examples of what my surgical outcomes could look like, so many first hand experiences shared? I am truly blessed to have my sisters because they make me feel that I belong in this world and that I am not an outcast. I stopped wearing my stupid prostheses as soon as I got there and sported my newly scarred flat chest that weekend and later! I also came home inspired at times and saddened at times. I met a few girls who are at an advanced stage and I worry if I will see them again at the next conference.

At the Reading Terminal Market in Philly. Who can tell that all these young women having breakfast together are BC survivors?

Some retail therapy with two beautiful sisters--- Claudia and Soniya

Yes that is a shot! Alls good!

With 2 beautiful sisters---Jeanette and Soniya
Just needed to pose in the middle of a busy street


Can we put a value to a life? Since my last blogpost, we have lost quite a few young women to this disease. I lost a girl with whom I did the impact of a promise campaign by Susan Komen. I will never forget her smile, her face, her pain, and she holding her lil 8 year old daughter's hand throughout the event. Who will hold this little girl's hand now? Thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach. It is such a senseless loss. Where is the cure? We are being pinkwashed this month but how many dollars are going towards research? I truly believe we have to go beyond awareness and dive into finding a cure. There was a buzz amongst girls at the conference that some big pharmas are sitting on the cure, that they have it, but the BC treatment makes them richer with every diagnosis. Well I want to believe this to be just plain gossip and nothing else, I want to believe that no matter what at the end of the day the people sitting on those chairs in the corner offices in these big corporations have a conscience, that they believe in the greater good, that they know that 1 in every 8 women is going to face this deadly incurable disease at some point in her life and are striving hard to save lives and not only treat the disease but  striving for a cure.


Impact of a Promise Campaign Participants

On my health side, I had one expansion, by that they basically inject saline in the expanders to stretch the skin. I look like a 12 year old girl now, but I can tell this time around I am very excited about growing foobies than when I was a 12 year old tomboy! I also had my 3 month Onc appointment and I must say I am really liking my new doctor and her team. I feel active cancer treatment is like climbing a tall mountain, and I felt my previous oncologist helped me get to the top with a lot of help and guidance but just left me at the cliff looking down at the valley. This doctor is helping me get down with ease and enjoy the stroll down.

I want to say just one more thing just because its Pinktober and I know a lot of my girl friends read this blog. Do self  breast exams every month and if there is anything unusal go to your PCP right away. Anything out of the ordinary needs to be checked. Listen to your bodies. If only now I can convince my 63 year old mom to get a mammogram. Well I will pester her so much that she will get it to just shut me up! Lets see if that works!

Our Pinktober Model



I love you Christine! You are finally healed, now rest up. We will miss you a lot, but your two beautiful kids will miss you the most.

Impact of a Promise Participants and their children




Bela

September 21, 2011

Two steps forward and one step back...

We went to see my plastic surgeon today. It was going to be my first expansion. But since last week I have had a small area which grew from pea size to the size of a quarter that was pink and exposed on the latissmus flap (muscle implant) side. Yesterday the nurse told me to send her a pic and she said it didnt look that bad. Today I was told to give it 2 weeks to heal and then to go back. It is necrosis which means some of that tissue that was transplanted didnt make it, it died, due lack of primary blood supply. They couldnt find a primary blood vessel because radiation had damaged the area a lot and there was a lot of scar tissue there.

I am a little bummed as this has thrown me off my planned schedule. I was hoping to look like I hit puberty once again this week...OH WELL! This is how my life goes. Setback after setback. I wonder if I will ever move forward in life...


September 15, 2011

When it rains it pours...

This week has been rough. Sahil has been home sick with high fever, sore throat, cold--the works. Dinar has been sick too. My mom thankfully recovered from the bug by the weekend. Yes this has been going around for 2 weeks now.
I have cough and general mild symptoms similar to my boys. All the antibiotics I was taking didnt guard me completely from my 2 year old petri dish! The worst part of it is that my incisions bother me when I cough so I try avoiding coughing which makes it worse!!! Oh well that is my rant for this week.
The past three weeks have been very comforting for me emotionally. I saw my support system step up and care for me and my babushka. I was in the hospital for 3 nights and Sahil was fed, bathed, dropped off at school, picked up from school, snuggled with, and put down for his naps by his Vikram mama, Z mami while my mom and hubby could take care of me. That was very comforting for me on so many levels. I thought to myself that if this beast ever takes me away too soon from my babushka, he will be loved and cared for. As a mother there is no better feeling than to know that. I am lucky to have Dinar, mom, Vikram, and Zarina. And my niece and son too as they give me a purpose to live.
That being said, this week when Sahil is sick all he wants is his "mamma". That comforts me too! I am still very much needed and my absence will be missed. So I have to be there for him.
I am hoping the family gets over this nasty bug soon.

September 11, 2011

In Lance's words...

"What are my chances? It was a question I would repeat over and over. But it was irrelevant, wasnt it? It didnt matter, because the medical odds dont take into account the unfathomable. There is no proper way to estimate somebody's chances, and we shouldnt try, because we can never be entirely right, and it deprives people of hope. Hope that is the only antidote to fear"

Excerpt from "It's Not About the Bike. My Journey Back to Life" by Lance Armstrong.

September 7, 2011

Drains are out!

Bela had a really good follow up appointment with the doctor today. All the drains are out, which is a big relief... In a couple of weeks the doctors will see if they are ready to start the expansion.

September 2, 2011

Sometimes Sore Sometimes Snore Sometimes Bore

Mornings are rough. Days get better. My surgical oncologist called and said there is no evidence of cancer in the breast tissue that was taken out. So yay for that!
Did I tell you both my surgeons are rockstars? I am glad I have such a good medical team, again.
Back to sleep.
Bela

August 29, 2011

Hello World!

Hey Guys,
I am feeling much better today. I am a star patient at the UNC 5 West Ward :)
Everything is looking good, but because I have had organ (muscle) transplant they want to keep me for one more day and push some IV antibiotics through me.
Pain is manageable and under control and I also had an off sorts bath today. They stick a heaprin shot in my belly 4 times a day and for every 12 shots I get, Dinar will be getting 1 shot in his belly :) Just for sympathy sake.
So basically wanted to let you know alls well and thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.
XO,
Bela

August 27, 2011

Surgery II - Update

Bela had her surgery on Friday. They started at around 7.30am and got finished around 4.30pm. The surgery went well, all the outcomes were as expected. Both the doctors were happy with the results, and said that she did very well in the OR.
She was still under the influence of the anesthesia yesterday, but is doing much better today. She is resting and recovering in the hospital room, and all the nurses are taking good care of her.

August 25, 2011

Off to the chopping block...

Surgery is tomorrow. I am not edgy, I am not nervous. I will be in the OR for 6+ hours. We have to report at 6 AM so it will be the first surgery of the day.
I want to squeeze in one last swim. I swim 14 laps now and that is what I want to do next summer too. So here is to a speedy recovery so that I can wear a cute pink polka dot swimsuit and swim next year.
Bye bye yucky mastectomy gear! And Victoria's Secret watch out for this girl! Dinar watch out for your wallet :)
XOXO
love live laugh. inhale exhale. live strong. meditate.
Bela

August 17, 2011

Yep...Its time for that birthday post. For being a bit snarky and a bit nice....

Its that time of the year when I officially change the digits on my age. This year only a single digit. Gone are the days when I was super excited about my birthday or about turning a year older. Gone are the days when I obsessed about cake and presents. I am happy to be a year older, I am appreciative that I am alive. Dont get me wrong, I am not going to sulk and brood about getting old after surviving a ship wreck last year.  Now I want to live my life. Pick up all the broken pieces and make a beautiful mosaic. Look at the cracks that run deep in the mosaic and yet be grateful that I could glue the pieces together to make something beautiful out of it.
I feel I have been hard on Dinar this past year. I always wanted him to just be there like a rock and my strength and I never realized how stressful that can be. I was going through a storm but I didnt realize that I had dragged several people in the storm with me. Dinar was the most affected, right in the eye of the storm. So today on my birthday all I want to say to Dinar is that I could have not gotten out of this storm, this twister, this ship wreck if he had not pulled me out. When we started dating 14 years ago we had never imagined to be in this situation ever. We had our dreams, our hopes, and our lives ahead of us. Today some of those dreams, hopes, and aspirations have changed. We need to figure out what we want, but I can tell you we still want a lot from life and from each other.
So dream on, live it up, and love each other! And while going through life dont forget to breathe every once in a while.
XO,
Bela

August 8, 2011

Surgery II

Bela is back under the surgeon's knife in a few weeks, for a prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction. We met with the surgeons at UNC last week, and were able to schedule the surgery fairly quickly - Aug 26th.
Bela's mom will be coming over the week before, and will be there to receive her back from the third different hospital in her past three visits. Please call us for recommendations on hospital food in the Triangle area. But seriously - I think Bela and I (to a large extent) are feeling positive about this surgery. I can sense that Bela feels a lot more in control of her body, has a choice about the surgery options (in the context of things), and is generally looking forward to getting the surgery and recovery done with.
In the meantime we are planning to squeeze one last beach trip for this year before the surgery; hopefully get some time to rest, relax and re-energize. Watch this space for more news on the surgery (and the beach trip :-))...

July 26, 2011

Nip Tuck

I am eagerly sitting in the waiting room with much older women wearing a 3 arm hole wrap gown, freezing. The technician comes to get me saying she needs more views and shots. I nervously follow her in the cold room where the cold machine plates press hard on my chest with me standing in the most awkward position. The technician shows me some clouds of tissue and says it is all young dense tissue. I say to myself that I have heard this line before. I ask her if there are any calcifications and she says she is not allowed to interprete the screens to me. She asks me to go back in the cold waiting room. I go back to reading about Will and Kate's US visit. "How I wish I were a princess?". I am so jealous of Kate at that moment. The radiologist comes to get me. Hands me a green slip and says that my mammogram is inconclusive. There is a lot of dense tissue and they cant say that it is all clear until they see my baseline shots from Duke! I am again getting that "somebody just beat the crap out of me" feeling. I go to the changing room and slowly change back into my clothes. My clothes that involve a prostheses. My clothes that cover my not so normal body. My clothes that protect me from the harsh world and people with their judgements. I look at myself in the mirror and decide to wear a smile for rest of the afternoon, to pick up sushi for lunch from Fresh Market and go back to work. To indulge in small talk at work and pretend that I didnt hear the technician or the radiologist.

A few days later, I know that my decision of a prophylactic contra-lateral mastectomy (removal of the healthy breast) is the right decision. I remember what Erin (my nurse practitioner at Duke) once told me. Yes, I will do every possible thing so that I can live one more day for my family, my son.

Next week I am meeting with a plastic surgeon at UNC. I have already met with the surgical oncologist. I will be scheduling my surgery sooner than later. This is something I want to get done in this calendar year and start 2012 freshly. Hopefully I can get back to normal life and work soon. I really am done with all the setbacks now.

The type of reconstruction varies. I will be discussing with my PS what kind would work the best for me.

XO,
Bela

July 16, 2011

All things considered

All things considered, I am sometimes too hard on myself. I was totally in the last post. I have to remind myself to be gentler and kinder to myself.
I had my 3-month(ly) appointment with my oncologist y'day and she said I have some bone loss in my spine, but my femur bone density was within range. The bone loss is primarily due to the early chemically-induced menopause that I am going through. I have a LOOONG survivorship so this needs to be combatted and I cant afford to let my bones crumble. And so I got an infusion to do just that. The drug is called Zometa and it is a bisphosphanate, a compound that takes the calcium from my blood and puts it in my bones. This makes my calcium levels to drop, so I have to take calcium supplements, which has some intense GI related side effects. So I will take some meds to take care of the side effect's side effect's side effect. The infusion has made me achy today and I had some chills last night. I guess your body needs to react in some ways to all the manipulation that is going on chemically. They also need to monitor my kidneys as this drug can cause some damage to the kidneys. Such fun stuff!!!!
I have realized that not only is survivorship hard mentally and emotionally, it is also hard physically on your body that is not like your typical 30 something year old's body, but more like your mom's body (60 something year old). These long-term side effects from all the treatment is daunting. I try not to think about it a lot. A lot of "healthy" people tell me " Who has any gaurantee over life. You could be run over by a car tomorrow". I  have a quote unquote book in my head of all the stuff people say to you to make you feel better (in their minds). Wanna hear some? I know the intentions are good but there is always some "catch". Here are a few:
"It is only hair, it will grow back"
"Wow short hair looks great on you"
"You have a good looking bald head"
Some people who have known me for years will ask me " Did you always have curly hair?"
"You have got a new leash on life", Yes and that is what the local dog-adoption center is called.
"You should follow your dream, do what you love" --- Oh yeah, will you pay my bills? Get me my health insurance?
"At least you caught it early"--- Yes and please explain me how that helps? Breast cancer is pre-disposed to metastasize. That is my reality and I accept it and not get burdened with it on a daily basis.
This is classic: " I didnt call because I couldnt see you suffer". Thanks bud!
"Be grateful, you have Sahil"
"Count your blessings" Yes counting all the chemos, radiaitions, surgeries, side effects, and more.
"Cancer doesnt kill people. Negative attitude does." Really? Wow that is a low blow.
"Negative thoughts cause cancer. You reap what you sow". Really? Then why does a new born have cancer too???
"Stay positive". And that is....
"Live a stress-free life". Looks like you have mastered the concept. Please give me some tips.
"Surround yourself with positive people". Okay then good-bye! See you in next life.
"Some people have zero support system. Dinar stuck around with you." Hmmm. Have no words for this one.
"My "so and so" died of breast cancer". Thanks. I am perfectly aware of my mortality.
"At least you are alive" Yes this has been said to me. Yes I am. Thanks for the reminder. If I were dead, we wouldnt be having this conversation in this world. Unless we both are dead?

Just sitting on my sofa a bit achy from the calcium from the bloodstream being deposited to the bones and having a dry-humor day. So enjoy it with a pinch of salt!

Count your blessings. Be Positive. Shave your head today too.

XO

Bela

July 7, 2011

Ten Fatherless Years

I have been taking stock of my life lately. I think I feel the need to do so for a variety of reasons. On July 13th, it will be 10 years since I moved to the US. On July 29th it will be 10 years since my father passed away. These were two events in my life that have shaped my young adult independent life (well it is questionable whether you are ever independent).

I feel I did a lot of things for myself, Dinar, and our families that could be viewed as my accomplishments, but I feel I failed miserably at some other things.

Also, sometimes I feel that my career never really took off, and I wonder why. Was it because I was just not into it or was it because I was the wrong person at the wrong place time and time over? I have had way too many setbacks at my newest job that I liked the most out of the 3 distinct jobs I have had in the past 10 years. I had a baby and I had cancer. I wonder if I would ever be able to shine in this job ever again. Would I ever overcome this big setback? Will I have the drive to do well? Do I have it in me?

I also wonder how self-worth should be measured. I have a husband, child, dog, house, car, and some spare change at the end of the day. Am I successful? Does it make me “accomplished” in life?

I seriously used to think that papa dying young at the age of 55 years was the worst set back in my life. That was something that defined who I was as a daughter to my mother, sister to my brother, sister-in-law to my sister-in-law, wife to my husband. That one incident had redefined me into this person that I became over the past 10 years. I liked some of her and I wish in some ways she were different.

But cancer seems to have defined me even more distinctly. I am less confused about my choices. I have less tolerance for stuff that bothers me. I like myself a lot now. The only thing I wish to change about myself is my crying. I have always cried a lot. My folks always teased me for being over-sensitive and for crying for littlest of things. I see that in my son. He is sensitive like me. He cries a lot and then he says “mommy I am all done crying” “I am okay now”. I want to be all done crying for life. I just want to be okay at all times.

My son looks a lot like his father but every day I see so much of me in him. It makes me happy and a bit scared. I want him to have all the good things from me and my husband, and spare him of all the not so good things. I am constantly looking at him closely to see if he is gifted, talented, a prodigy of some sort. And then I stop myself and say to myself “leave him alone”. What is important is that he is one happy kid. I can confidently say that I am a good mother and I want to continue being so. Having him is my single biggest accomplishment in the past 10 years.

Papa, I am sure you look down at us and see your two beautiful grandchildren. I am sure it makes you very proud and happy. Well one day I will tell Sahil what an awesome human being his ajoba was. I miss you Papa!

Cherish and Cheer Life!

Bela

June 23, 2011

My Bucket List

1. Swim with dolphins.
2. Set foot on every continent in the world.
3. Go to Paris. My husband thinks I am stuck to the notion of going to Paris and doesn’t understand why. Well there are some things in life that you don’t have to understand.
4. Learn to eat with chopsticks! Anyone who has been to a Sushi restaurant with me knows that I am such an embarrassment when I ask for “trainer” chopsticks, or worse carry my own “trainer” chopsticks :).
5. Own a horse. Ride a horse. I learnt to ride horses in the summer of 1994. It was fun! That summer was a good one :).
6. Learn free-style swimming.
7. Run/ walk a half marathon.
8. Have a second child. And a third :).
9. Learn a musical instrument.
10. Dance at Sahil’s college graduation party.
11. Get a tattoo.

May 18, 2011

Recurring dream

So my recurring dream is that I am in a convertible (mini cooper, blue) with it's top down, I have long wavy hair flying in the air and I am wearing a bikini top on the way to the beach. This dream is very symbolic and is a good one.
Love. Live. Laugh plenty.
Bela

May 17, 2011

2011 Susan Komen Race for the Cure

Hello Everyone,
We have formed a team again this year to support Bela in her survivorship by participating in the Susan Komen Race for the Cure. We would like your support in joining our team and participating with Bela for the 15th Annual Komen NC Triangle Race for the Cure on June 11, 2011 at Meredith College, Raleigh, NC. Here are the details for registering:
Team Page
Race Information
Team Name: Kick Cancer's Puny Little Butt
Race Event: Recreational Adult (Ages 16+)
You can find information for the race itself, as well as fund raising details on the Komen website using the above link. Please feel free to forward this email to your friends so that we have an even greater participation this year.

April 14, 2011

Marched out in March

Wow I didnt write a single post in March! Well partly because a lot was going on that month. We went to India and the trip was simply fantastic. Sahil had so much fun and was such a happy camper! He loved his "rickshaw car" rides, watching traffic go by from the window, plucking tree leaves from the window, playing with Gopal in the courtyard, looking at ants, going after the cat in my mom's apartment building and so much more. We went to Goa (coastal place) and that was just what the three of us needed for a long time...R&R...

Then we got back and got to business. Literally. I started working and it has been wonderful and refreshing. I love my work peeps. They have been so great since all this started. I couldnt ask for a better team.
And now I am in the process of changing my medical oncologist. Well all I can say is sometimes we put people up on pedestals and then they fall off the pedestal and we realize that they really are not what you thought they were. Anyways Dr. Awesome was really awesome when I needed her the most and that is what is important. Now I need someone who will be just as competent but also compassionate for my survivorship! I am seeing the new doc tomorrow and have heard good things about her. Cant wait to start a brand new relationship. This is coming from a girl who hates change :)

Another important event in March was Sahy turning two. Oh my! I can tell you now that the terrible twos is not a myth :) He is bossy, tantrumy, but at the same time plain cute. So much personality! Terrific at times and Terror at times!Arent we all like that in real life, just a bit subdued???

On the health side, I am doing well, feeling great. I do get a lil more tired at the end of the day but I also feel I am doing more stuff in my days now than I used to. Tomorrow's appointment will set stage for the next few months and years and some important decisions regarding my maintenance therapy and reconstructive surgery be taken. I am hoping this doctor has time to discuss all this with me and would respect all my questions and inquiries regarding my health.

Lovin.. Livin.. Laughin..

Bela

February 16, 2011

Life is a feedback loop...

A year back visiting India seemed so distant. I would sit on my chemo chair or bed and pretend to be on the beach. Today I leave for India with my family to see the rest of my family. There are no friends in India, there is only family. All these people that I have shared my 24 years with. I want Sahil to see his beautiful heritage. I am going home today.
Life is beautiful and yet challenging. When you climb up the hill, you can stand on the top and look at the sky or the lush green valley and river or even better walk down to the other side.
Love.Live.Laugh.
Belu is coming home...

p.s. Dinar please check the "herceptin" box...He is the HTML code writer for this blog .

January 30, 2011

Passage to India

I am towards the end of my treatment and at the brink of normalcy. Honestly I have not felt better in a long time. I do not want to jinx it but my energy levels are up, I feel like working out, doing yoga, going back to work, reading books, and not talking, thinking and writing about cancer ad nauseam anymore. It is certainly a long journey and it is not all over for me but I am realizing that it is now just a part of me. Breast cancer will shape the rest of my life in many ways, mostly for good.I am more "zenish" in my approach. I am getting into Buddhism and am finding it very uplifting. I like the new age me :)

My last Herceptin infusion is on February 14th but I am also going to talk to my oncologist about participating in a clinical trial. If accepted I will get more. Don't worry, getting more is good for my kind of BC. And then I will have more surgery in the next 2 years. So it is long from "all done" as Sahy says but nothing that I have not experienced before.

I am going to India 2 days after my last Herceptin and I am so psyched! I am going back home. That is my passage to India. We have decided to travel some this year as both Dinar and I have hardly traveled India. We would love to discover this beautiful country of ours and see what all the hype was in the 15th and 16th centuries when explorers were looking for this beautiful rich land.

I feel great today and I am full of hope for tomorrow.

Love.Live.Laugh

Bela

January 13, 2011

Cancerversary...

It was this day last year that Bela and I received her cancer diagnosis. I remember the day quite vividly, but somewhere something makes me want to forget it. So today, I did not think about how to react to the 'cancerversary' but just let it be. And somewhere something makes me feel that Bela and I can do the same for the rest of the days to come.
For the past one year, we have received a lot of support from family and friends; and we would not be here without them. We have heard many a inspiring story of survivorship from other survivors. There are more chapters to be written in Bela's life... and I feel we are very close to finishing this one...

January 6, 2011

It is a brand new year...shiny and sparkly and full of promises and hope

Happy New Year Guys!

Isnt is amazing how a new year infuses us with enthusiasm to better our lives, our bodies, our minds and take on the world. I wonder why we don't feel the same way at the start of a new day or a new week or a new month. Carpe diem should be our mantra!

It is a year since all the cancer jazz started. My first ultrasound was on January 3rd followed by a slew of tests and it was confirmed on the doomed 13th day of last year that my body was not obeying the protocol and some cells were multiplying in an abnormal fashion! So here I am a year later, and as many people had told me I am seeing the light, I feel rested and renewed, but still a little shaken. This week are my screenings and follow-ups and we are hoping that the cells are following the rules set by the code made for homo sapiens.

I have two more Herceptin infusions left with the last one on February 14th. And guess where I will be two days after my last infusion?? Hint: breakfast at Vaishali at 8 AM on Feb 16th :)

Wishing you health and peace of mind in the new year and always. 

Love.Live.Laugh
Bela