As someone who sees the ups and downs of cancer everyday, I am so thrilled when a story like this one comes to us here at Gilead.
It is always exciting to share an incredible milestone, which for cancer patients are always striving to reach.
Here is the great news from our Warrior and Survivor Laurie Rickel, this is from her CaringBridge Page:
"Where are you right now?"
Five years ago that was the question Laurie's gynecologist asked me on the phone as I started home from work. Funny, I can replay that conversation and the rest of that day back in my mind like it happened yesterday. The day our breast cancer journey began.
But it was five years ago.
And that's reason for a little celebration this April 1, 2015.
Anniversary dates like this make you stop and ponder. In the midst of busy schedules and daily pressures, a bigger frame is placed around the day. What would today be like without her?
And suddenly perspective is achieved. Because five years ago that was the overwhelming fear. That Alisa and I would continue on without Alisa's mother and the love of my life. Here we are, five years later and that fear does not enter my mind very often. Actually, about every six months, when we go see Dr. Schmit, Laurie's surgeon, and Dr. Birhiray, her medical oncologist. Quick, efficient exams, a few quick questions. Then a quick smile and, "We'll see you in six months!" That is always sweet to hear.
Recent developments? In the interim since Laurie started hormone therapy, the recommended duration in the USA for tamoxifen or other such therapy has gone from five to ten years. We thought this day we would be celebrating the cessation of active treatment, but the one-pill-a-day regimen will continue for yet another five years. And with that comes the constant fatigue, having to be careful not to overdue. Occasionally sick stomach on at least a weekly basis, and frequent hot flashes. Some don't have many side effects from Tamoxifen. Laurie is one who does. But we keep in mind the alternative.
And there is the possibility that with this next checkup in May Laurie might be able to go back on Aromasin, another hormone therapy medicine that she was on for one year. That medication gave her fewer side effects, but it is for post-menopausal women, and while on it her body went pre-menopausal again. Laurie always has been a fighter! So there will be a blood test in a few weeks and maybe hope for fewer side effects. That would classify as a prayer request.
Five years later. Our baby will graduate from IUPUI this May. Now an artist, and accepting job offers, by the way. Laurie is teaching pre-school at Mt Olive UMC. Two and three year olds, and just loving it. It is half days, which makes it much more manageable for her. And I continue at World Gospel Mission.
That's where we are right now. And thankful that we are all here!