Using conscious lifestyle choices to salvage the #goodlife from the #cancerlife

Recent Blog Posts

Transitioning Treatments

Transitioning Treatments

I saw my doctor yesterday for the first time since my last chemotherapy treatment 4 weeks ago. As I discussed in my last blog with health updates, the platinum-based chemotherapy drug that I’ve been on has killed enough cancer to try to transition me to […]

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Per a resolution of Congress, today is Metastatic Breast Cancer awareness day. While the entire month of October is Breast Cancer awareness month, much of the messaging focuses on prevention, survivors, and positive pink. The reality is prevention is not enough – we badly need […]

Vallejo City Unified School District Resolution

Vallejo City Unified School District Resolution

I was asked by my father if I would help him present Vallejo City Unified School District Resolution No. 2775 recognizing October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and say a few words about my own story at tonight’s school board meeting. I happily signed up […]

Health & Advocacy Updates Here! Read all about it!

Health & Advocacy Updates Here! Read all about it!

  Dealing with my health is thankfully not all that I’ve done in the last few weeks. I’ve also participated in several Breast Cancer-advocacy events. Specifically:   I’ve attended and spoken at the American Cancer Society Hope Gala in Sacramento. This is the “high-roller” gala […]

That’s What Moms Are For!

That’s What Moms Are For!

In my last blog post, I shared that I was feeling a bit bummed about having a chemo treatment on my birthday. Well, my mother was not going to let a little chemo get in the way of celebrating. Unbeknownst to me, she organized a […]

Happy Birthday to me! How about some Chemo?

Happy Birthday to me! How about some Chemo?

It’s been a rough week; for myself, my family, and our nation. For our nation: My heart goes out to all the victims of the floods in Houston and surrounding areas. Fear of flooding is still fresh in my mind from the unusually wet winter […]

Real Men Wear Pink!

Real Men Wear Pink!

Earlier this evening at the Golden One Center, I was afforded the opportunity to share my Cancer story with a room full of vivacious, philanthropic, and maybe slightly competitive male volunteers who have all raised their hands to be “Real Men Wear Pink” Ambassadors for […]

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” This advice was given to me as a principle for professional success at the Big 4 company I formerly worked for. In that context, it was referencing putting yourself our there for networking at events/conferences/trainings, accepting project roles that intimidate you, […]

Off the Grid in Alaska

Off the Grid in Alaska

I’ve intentionally been a bit MIA for the last week-and-a-half-ish. Thankfully it was not for nefarious health reasons. So where have I been? Well, in *Alaska* for my first time with my Mom, close friend Joelle, and her family. Social media and the internet can […]

Cancer: The Part-time Job I Never Wanted & Can’t Quit

Cancer: The Part-time Job I Never Wanted & Can’t Quit

Cancer is like a part-time job I never wanted in terms of time commitment. The perks are terrible too; it pays in death threats and I can’t just quit if I’m unhappy with management decisions. I’m sure anyone with chronic health issues can relate, but the time it takes […]


My Cancer Story

My Cancer Story

My Cancer Story

Once upon a time, there was a young, healthy professional who worked at one of “The Big 4” professional service firms. She was in a cohort of peers considered the rising stars of her practice with significant leadership potential. She traveled full-time and worked long hours, but generally enjoyed the corporate jet-setter lifestyle (including a corporate apartment in Hawaii) and found satisfaction in her work designing enterprise IT systems for State governments. Things were going really well for this professional and her future was looking bright. If you haven’t figured it out by now, that professional is me and this was my life the moment I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

In May 2014, I found a lump in my breast while getting dressed, went to the doctor out of an abundance of caution, and was surprisingly diagnosed with Breast Cancer after a whirlwind of diagnostic tests. I was only 29 at the time, lacked a significant family history of the disease, and was in otherwise fantastic health (like “not-to-brag-but-sometimes-worked-out-twice-a-day” good shape). Breast Cancer was not something I saw coming.

At the time of my initial diagnosis, I had been heavily traveling for work (to Hawaii, I know – poor me) and was often gone from Sacramento for extended periods of time. This allowed me to fly (literally and figuratively) under the radar from most of my social network while receiving all of my initial treatments. I worked full time for the most part (at my own preference), with some days off dictated by the side effects of my treatment schedule. By February of 2015, I was done with the series of recommended treatments and the scans that most accurately allow the doctors to look for cancer in my body showed no evidence of the disease. Yay!

From there I followed a “maintenance treatment schedule” designed to minimize my risk of Breast Cancer coming back. This included regular pokes and prods to monitor my health and a daily pill, but for the most part my life began to return to normal. I focused on regaining my previous levels of physical fitness and re-growing my hair (Yes, I wore a wig until my hair was grown out to a pixie-style cut and wigs actually weren’t that bad, but it’s still *super nice* to have my own hair back).

In September 2016, I got the news I had been hoping never to hear: my Breast Cancer was back and it had spread beyond my breast region, which is more specifically called Stage IV or Metastatic Breast Cancer. There are treatments available that should keep the disease under control for years, if not decades, but there is no cure and I’ll always be under some form of treatment. Many of the treatments have very minimal side effects, but they are not effective for everyone whereas the treatments that are more effective across the board tend to have worse side effects (primarily nausea/fatigue). Basically, I work with my doctor to manage my Breast Cancer as a chronic disease.

This sets the context for my current health situation: Using the doctors terms, my cancer is currently not “well-controlled”, meaning my cancer has not stabilized on a treatment option. I’ve fairly recently (March 2016) had to switch to a more aggressive treatment – in this case an oral (pill) chemotherapy (cancer treatment category that systematically kills cancer, but also a lot of perfectly good cells). The goal is to kill the existing cancer and keep it from growing moving forward. Please wish me luck and I’ll keep you updated one step at a time!


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