On June 1 I was giving the diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer. Hence the reason I've been MIA. I've updated family, friends, colleagues, and clients via this Caring Bridge site (you can catch up with all the details of my journey there if you'd like). There's also a YouCaring/LoveForColleen Crowdfunding site to help with medical and treatment costs.
The summary with my BODY is that the invasive poorly differentiated ductal carcinoma was Estrogen Receptor negative (ER-), Progesterone Receptor negative (PR-), Her2 was most likely positive, Ki-67 was 91% (super-duper aggressive), and BRCA mutations were negative (there's no history of breast cancer in my family). So... it's a fine-line about Triple Negative status. On June 24 I had a single right mastectomy with no reconstruction and 1 of 5 lymph nodes tested positive; I was staged at IIA. In August and September I spent 6 weeks in Germany receiving alternative cancer treatments.
The summary with my MIND is that it's getting better and better! I used to operate at 1,000 miles per minute and now it's at about 4 or 5 miles per hour. The fear, worry, worst-case-scenario thinking, anxiety, stress, and panicked way of living life this way for the last 30+ years has totally stalled out. This result has been achieved through daily work to be free of "thought addiction" in addition to God's grace. Keeping my mind still is of utmost priority and this happens when I laugh, color, paint, sing, dance, meditate, talk with friends, and do lots of other wonderful things.
The summary with my SOUL is that I now know, believe, and accept that my heart is good and my soul is good and I'm working toward unconditionally loving myself. Freedom regarding this came through guided visualizations on a deeper level and theological understanding on an intellectual level. This transcribed sermon series by Pastor Monte Stevens from Dayton, Ohio changed my life: Original Sin or Original Blessing. I'm allowing my soul to express the Divine Image of God that it was created in first and foremost, as opposed to viewing itself as a sack of sin (as much of my Christian background taught me).
Everyone eventually asks about PROGNOSIS. I'm currently cancer-free! and will remain so until proven otherwise. Blood work and PET/CT scans will happen when my oncologist and I decide.
Then the next most frequently asked question is about my WORK at Flowers Fertility, LLC. I haven't returned yet because I'm still healing. On a cellular level, my mitochondria are working HARD to recover from the stress of diagnosis and surgery, and working HARD to incorporate all of the holistic treatments I'm doing. On a mental and spiritual level, it takes a great deal of time and energy to get out of the way so my body can heal itself. I'm so thankful for and grateful to Justina Thompson for stepping in to care for my clients while I've been on a leave-of-absence.
I'm also WRITING about my journey since June 1. I'm creating something that I wished had existed in June when I was diagnosed. We'll see where my Bachelor's Degree in English/Writing takes me!
Thank you, again and again, for prayers, love, words of support, and caring. It means so much to me to be surrounded by such a wonderful community.