Walking Together- One Foot in Front of the Other

One of the things that keeps me up at night and brings tears to my eyes every time i think about it (even now as I type this) is the thought of how Trevor and the kids will cope and handle things when this disease and my life takes a turn for the worst.  Well i have to say looking at the wonderful people that surround us, support us and show us unconditional love gives me some peace in this situation.

A couple of weeks ago we took to the streets of Boston and participated in the 30th Annual Jimmy Fund Walk. We had the largest team to date and one of my personal highlights are the Mini- Crusaders. I feel like we have the most kids on our team and to see my own children surrounded by their cousins and friends brings peace to my heart. We are so blessed to have so much love and support in all of you. I can never thank you enough.

I look at the photos in the slideshow and my Jimmy Fund sign along the course route and i see a smiling woman, who from the looks of it seems fine. Well, I have found that I am one hell of an actress!!! For two and a half years i have gotten up every day and put one foot in front of the other, most times with a smile on my face. And to be quite honest it is exhausting. I truly believe in the power of positivity and that what you give out you receive back so putting on a brave face and moving on is something i believe will help this battle be a little easier but it is really hard. It is hard to be in pain or feel awful most days and still go on. It is hard to wake up in the middle of the night in tears b/c you just need to let them out. It is hard to watch your husband struggle with what is going on with you. It is hard to live a life-month to month- based on a doctors appointment and what news they may give you.

For the past couple of months i have not been feeling my best. My side effects have been heightened and some new minor issues have come up. The past few weeks though i have been in a lot of pain. It could be nothing, it could be something. When you have Cancer you just never know. Pain in your body could mean progression in your cancer, it could mean you need a new bed! I had just had my most recent doctors appointment a couple of days ago and will get my next set of scans at the end of the month. This will be where we see what happens next. Best case, my pain is not cancer related and we continue on the same regimen I am on. Worst case, my cancer is progressing and we switch up my treatment to the next one.

Thankfully, through all of the research, which we raise funds for there are many treatment options for me if we have to move on. I am a creature of habit though and changing things up is very, very scary to me. But until we know, we move forward and hope for the best.

I hope you enjoy this years slideshow. We always enjoy being with everyone on walk day and everyday!! So much love to everyone who supported, donated and especially those that walked with us!!

 

 

 

 

2018 Jimmy Fund Walk

I haven’t posted for a while and there are many  reasons for that. The most important bring that I really focused this summer on spending quality time with Trevor and the kids and really tried to not focus on Cancer and all things that come along with it (the Walk etc.)

With that said, the 2018 Jimmy Fund Walk is only two weeks away and we are SO behind with all of our planning. We have decided on this years shirts and they can be purchased via the following link:

https://www.customink.com/g/xqy0-00bj-9pgy

Please note that the order will closed on September 12th so that we get them in time for the walk.

Thank you to everyone that has signed up for the walk and contributed thus far. To my family, it is more than a walk and your involvement means the world to us.

If you would like to join us on walk day or make a contribution, please visit:

http://jimmyfundwalk.org/goto/cabralscrusaders

With love,

April

Battle Wounds

Often times people refer to the scars on their bodies as their “battle wounds”.  I have a small scar on the back of my ankle from falling off of my bike as a teenager. This scar I laugh about because it is the reminder of my first attempt to run away as a kid. I fell off of my bike two houses down from mine and had to turn around! HAHA. I have a lovely C-Section scar that I am proud of because my two beautiful kids came from there! Now I have a two inch scar on my chest. A result of my recent lumpectomy. This scar, while I know it is small, bothers me. I hate to look at it, feel it. This is my first true “battle wound” from this fight with cancer. It is my first visual reminder of this really shitty battle.

I had my lumpectomy on May 22nd. I found it to be an easy procedure and recovery. Aside from some soreness at the incision site, I felt fine. I received a call a couple of days later letting me know that the tissue surrounding my tumor tested positive for cancer cells as well. It was suggested that we go back in and take out more tissue in an effort to achieve clean margins. I had several more appointments and it was decided, as my oncologist says “let’s finish what we started”. So that is what we are going to do! In a few days I will go back in and have more tissue removed and hope that this will get us the clear margins we are hoping for!! Again, we hope that this surgery and recovery are just as easy.

The past few weeks and this whole ordeal has been…..annoying to me. I say annoying b/c there really isn’t a better way to describe it. I have had a bunch of appointments, all in Boston, lately and so much talk surrounding this whole thing. For the past two years I have felt like I was living my life with Cancer as a small part of it. For the past couple of months, for the first time, I feel like I have CANCER in the forefront and just a little bit of my normal life. Throw in all of the end of the school year business, our efforts to keep home life as normal as possible, and work and I have found all of this, this Cancer to be disruptive and I am annoyed this crappy disease gets to disrupt my life.

I am really looking forward to putting this all behind me and moving forward with a really great summer.

As always, thank you all for the continued support. All of the flowers, edible arrangements, text messages and phone calls mean the world to me!

In the recovery room after my lumpectomy. Only smiling b/c they gave me some really great meds!

 

XO

 

 

Fun, Sun and a Tumor Removal

A lot can happen in a week! One week ago today, Trevor and I jetted off to the Bahamas for a few days to celebrate our anniversary. We booked this trip a while ago, long before we knew that I would need to have a lumpectomy. We thought about cancelling the trip but after confirmation from my oncologist and surgeon decided to go. Thank god we did!! We have been on many vacations since the kids were born but never any without the kids with the sole purpose of relaxing. Relaxing is just what we did!! We were the quintessential beach bums and loved every minute of it. This trip could not have come at a better time and to have the ability to clear our heads, relax and reconnect made the trip perfect!!

We returned home Sunday evening and bright and early Tuesday morning I reported for my lumpectomy. Alarmingly calm the morning of the surgery-even opting not to take the anxiety meds that I had been given. Getting to the hospital was easy and I even had the energy to confront a woman who cut the registration line!! HAHA- old habits die hard- even on surgery day!! All was fine until two nurses had a hard time getting my IV in. After three attempts, many bruises and an emotional breakdown from me, my IV was in and I was ready to go to the operating room. It was all a blur after that! I woke up a few hours later in the recovery room- very groggy and sore. Trevor and Sarah were brought in to meet me and they confirmed that the surgeon said all had gone well. Soon after we were on our way home! All before noon!

I am surprised at how good I feel. Aside from being very sore at the incision site, I feel good and am even starting to get bored being at home all day!! I will have to wait a week to see what comes back with the pathology reports and have to take it easy for the next couple of weeks- which honestly may be the hardest part for me. Thank you for all of the well wishes!

 

XO

 

 

Peace, Love and Gratitude

When Trevor and I got married 10 years ago (more on that in a minute), someone told me to take a step back at our wedding and take a moment to look around at all of the people who came out to share our day and love with us.  I have spread this advice to several of my friends over the years as they themselves got married. The other night at our 2nd Annual Fundraiser, I took a moment to do just that; step back for a minute, look around the room at the wonderful people who surround and support us and reflect on everyone who donated – their time, raffle items and money. Thinking of the support that surrounds my family and I, gives me peace. Peace in knowing that when times get tough or tougher, we will have many to lean on and the memories that we share will carry on with all of you.

This years fundraiser was a little tough for me. My heart really wasn’t into it. To be quite honest, I am sick of having, talking about and raising money for cancer. It is all consuming. It takes up my everyday. Sometimes I think that if I stop talking about it, it will go away. Then all of you come in to play. So many people reached out, early on in the year, to see what the date of the event would be so you could mark it in your calendars. So many people came to me with ideas and raffle items. So many people reached out to see how they could help. Like I have said before you are all the force behind our strength in this battle and for that I can never express my gratitude. You remind me that all that WE are doing is worth it and is important. You all made this event what it was and it was AMAZING!

I want to say a special thank you to the following people:

Metacomet Country Club: for allowing us back this year, for taking amazing care of us and providing us with great service and food.

Laura Anderson: Laura organized and ran the beer and wine tasting. When I could not get any wine vendor to help us out or even return my calls, Laura stepped in and made it happen!!!

Zach Kahn: Zach thank you for being the best DJ and friend. You were amazing and kept us all dancing all night long. A big thanks also for putting up with your crazy requests!!

Lauren Brady: Lauren thank you for all of the brainstorming sessions and chats we have leading up the event and for all of your help the day of getting everything set up. You are the best friend, sister and therapist a girl could ask for.

Nicolle, Michelle, Carolina, Beth & Sarah: You ladies are the best friends a girl could ever have. You take care of business during the event and I am thankful that I have you all to lean on; with fundraising and in life.

There are so many more, but to name you all would be impossible. We raised close to $15,000 this year and after paying all of the expenses we are going to be able to donate over $10,000 to the Jimmy Fund. Again a huge thank you to everyone that donated!! We had some amazing raffle and auctions items this year and I truly appreciate everyone that contributed!!!

There was one person I did not mention earlier: TREVOR. Sometimes in this whole ordeal whether it be me having Cancer or the fundraising aspect- Trevor does not get the recognition that he deserves. Trevor is the calm to my storm. He talks me down off of my crazy ledges when it is late at night and I am surrounded by fundraising tasks and raffle items have taken over our dining room!Trevor and I met at UMass Dartmouth (or more specifically the Complex!) when we were just 19 years old. We dated on and off throughout college and basically grew up together. When we got married 10 years ago (May 17, 2008!) we never realized that our wedding vows would be tested so much in such a short amount of time. For  better or worse, for richer or poorer and now in sickness and health. This whole thing is not easy on a couple and sometimes I believe that me having cancer is harder on Trevor than it may be on me. We are not perfect but we are perfect for each other. Happy Anniversary my friend and love and I hope that we are blessed with at least ten more together.

Our Wedding Day

 

 

 

 

 

What a B**ch

No not ME! Cancer. Cancer is the worst B**ch there is. It sucker punches you when you least expect it.

A couple of months ago I started having a strange pain in the side of my chest, near the original site of discomfort where I was originally diagnosed. I brought it up with my doctor at my appointment in March and she ordered scans for my next appointment.

I reported for these scans yesterday morning. Bright and early with my first appointment being at 6:50. I had my normal CT, Bone Scan etc.  and then waited for my doctor to deliver the news.  You sit waiting for the results knowing there is nothing that you can do. It is what it is, I guess. I find myself saying a lot lately- “you can do nothing about the situation just how you react”. Well when the doctor walks in the room to deliver your results,   You can instantly tell which way this news is going to go.

Well my cancer journey has hit its first road bump. While my bones remain stable the original tumor in my breast has started to grow. This sneaky cell in my body has now started to outsmart the medicine I am on in an effort to grow.

Since I am doing so well on this line of treatment and this is considered a small road bump in the world of cancer- I am going to have this sneaky cell cut out! I will have a lumpectomy in a few weeks. We are hoping that by cutting this tumor out of my body, the medicine will continue to keep me stable and buy me more time on my first line of treatment.

This whole thing is an unbelievable roller coaster. For the past two years I have come to grips that my own body is trying to kill me and I have to fight that everyday. I have adjusted my life to let this new disease takes its place. Now two years later THIS. It is a sucker punch in the stomach. A wake up call.  I had gotten a little complacent with my disease. Not watching what I am eating as much, not taking care of myself like I should have. Well I am awake again and realize that I am not invincible.

People always tell me “you are so strong”. News FLASH- I don’t have a choice. I am not strong. I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want to deal with this. This will never get easier and it sucks. No matter how routine it all gets it NEVER gets easier.

 

2018 Fundraiser

Hi Everyone,

The 2018 2nd Annual Cabral’s Crusaders fundraiser is 4 short weeks away!! EEK!!! If you haven’t already, please purchase your tickets via this blog under the Menu tab!

We have a great night planned complete with appetizers, a craft beer tasting, so many wonderful raffle and silent auction items, a great DJ and so many wonderful people coming together!!

I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life who truly care and have taken on this cause, my cause, as their own. I am thankful for each and every one of you every day but feel the love especially with all of the help that has rolled in putting this event together! I look forward to seeing and celebrating with all of you in a few weeks.

When I was first diagnosed, I was assigned a social worker from DFCI. I believe that this is normal course for anyone diagnosed with cancer, especially Stage 4! Through this social worker they provided me with information for various foundations that provide help to cancer patients. One of those foundations was the Joe Andruzzi foundation. A wonderful organization providing so much help to so many cancer patients. They had recently asked me if I would like to share my story at a fundraiser they were having and to be their guest speaker.  At the time I did not feel that I was ready. Believe it or not sharing my story and speaking in front of everyone is something that terrifies me. Funny b/c sitting behind my computer, typing on this blog has become second nature and I don’t really hold much back!! I am hoping that one day soon I will be ready to speak and share my story with many more. They then asked if I would like to be interviewed for a patient profile and story. I obliged and the rest is history. Please find the link to my story below:

https://joeandruzzifoundation.org/somerset-mom-fights-stage-4-breast-cancer-to-be-there-for-her-kids/

Happy Easter! May you all have a blessed day with the ones you love.

XO

 

 

Maintenance

Most women my age have their “monthly maintenance” routines. Hair, nails, facials, maybe some botox. Well while I try to do some of those things as well…..but also do not have the time and $$ for most of it; MY monthly maintenance also consists of my monthly trip to DFCI. My  labs, appointments, shots, infusions etc. All part of my “normal” routine!! Almost two years in and it is all still so crazy to me. This month my appointment fell on Valentine’s Day. So romantic, right! Well while I was sitting in the infusion chair, a volunteer at DFCI came over and asked me if I would like a hand massage, which I loved while another volunteer passed me a chocolate heart while wishing me a Happy Valentines Day!! Truly wonderful people that work and volunteer their time at the clinic.

I also observed while in the waiting room two women. One who was starting her treatment, flanked on each side by her husband and a woman who I assume to be her sister or friend. A social worker and nurse explaining the treatment and what to expect. I also observed another woman with her husband and college aged daughter. They looked like it was their first appointment. The woman looking disheveled and in a state of shock while her daughter was taking notes and trying to hold it all together for her parents. I have been in both of those positions and sat reflecting on how scary those first few appointments are…..and while they get easier and more routine they always remain scary as you just never know where this cancer journey is going to lead you.

After what seemed like the longest winter and one that was tough for us, I was torn on whether or not to hold the Cabral’s Crusaders fundraiser this year. I am tired……and just wasn’t sure if I was up for it. I also don’t want to keep “pushing” MY cause in people’s faces and I hope and believe that I am in this for the long haul and I don’t want people to get sick of doing these fundraisers and walks. BUT, many people have reached out to me to check when the date is, how they can help, ideas for this year etc. This lit my fire up again and plans for this years event have quickly started to come together. This year’s fundraiser will be held on Friday, April 27th at Metacomet Country Club. A DJ has been lined up and I expect another fun night filled with friends, family, dancing, drinks and lots of money raised for a really great cause!!! I hope that you will all join us again this year and if you would like to help out in any way or would like to donate a raffle item, please let me know.

From the examination room

Infusion time.

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

We kicked off this new year with a 10 1/2 hour day at Dana Farber last week complete with scans, waiting  and good news. My cancer continues to remain stabilized and my first line of treatment continues to work! Let’s hope that I continue down this path for the remainder of the year.

I am personally in a really weird place with my cancer. The appointments at DFCI are becoming very routine. I am on a first name basis with certain nurses and techs at the center. I am starting to recognize some of the other patients that are on the same schedule as I am. Things are getting a little too “normal” for me. This past appointment, while waiting patiently for my appointment, I met a woman who had Metastatic Breast Cancer like me. She had been in remission for 11 years only to have her cancer come back this past May. We got to chatting and when she had found out that I was diagnosed almost TWO years ago, was on the same treatment as her and was feeling pretty good. She told me that I gave her hope …….so awesome but so weird. I remember turning to Sarah and Trevor and saying, “I cannot believe that this is my life”. I can’t. Some days I still think that this is some kind of weird test and someone eventually is going to say “JUST KIDDING” you were tested, you passed and now you can move on and live your life…..a long life. Unfortunately, I know that will not happen, but wouldn’t it be nice!

I also cannot believe that I am almost at the two year mark. It’s weird now b/c a lot of people know about my situation but I continue to meet new people….mainly through my kids and the activities that they are in. I struggle with- Do I tell these new friends right off the bat what is going on? Do I wait for a good time- but is there ever really a good time? It’s funny b/c having cancer is not something that generally comes up naturally in conversation.  I find myself very unnaturally blurting it out at the most inappropriate time. Kind of funny when I look back on the situations where this happened but also just plain sad and makes me feel very self conscience. I hope that I am given the time to get comfortable with this and how to share my story better.

After surviving the holidays, frozen pipes, a flooded finished basement, snow storms and cancer scans, the Cabral family is headed to warmer grounds (well we hope it is warmer by the time we get there) to make some Disney magic!!

We hope that 2018 is wonderful for all of our friends and family and that you are brought much happiness and good times.

 

XO

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you have a wonderful day surrounded by people that you love and who love you!

I am thankful this year for many of the obvious things: Trevor, Quinn and Colin being the #1 people that I am thankful for. Without them this fight would not be worth any of it. I am thankful for the wonderful people who surround us and show us true support, friendship, family and love. I am thankful that I continue to feel well and that my treatment is still working. Most of all I am thankful for TIME. Thankful that I got another year……another year to celebrate many things and make amazing memories. My kids are getting older and changing constantly and I am thankful that I am here to be a part of it all.

I try not to burden anyone with how I truly feel (mostly mentally, as physically I am pretty good) but as you can imagine the mental aspect of this disease is probably the hardest fight. I recently read through all of my doctors notes (something that I do not recommend to anyone!) and one doctors not stuck with me the most: “Patient struggles with the uncertainty of her diagnosis.” This is my biggest struggle. I am part of many online groups full of woman who are going through what I am. Sadly, they are the ones that really know what I am going through since they themselves are in the same situations. Every day I am riddled with news of who passed away that week, news of people near the end, updates from husbands letting everyone know how kids are doing since their mom passed. It is a scary world to be a part of but I am very thankful that I have these “friends” to vent to, ask questions to and who help me realize that there is come hope through all of this.

Happy Thanksgiving.

XO