Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote a similar post to the one I am writing now. Yesterday I had my PET scan. The results came back positive for cancer. Again. Stage 4. It is aggressive, and it is everywhere. Well everywhere except for my spleen, since I don’t have one.

Shock. Disbelief. Fear. Anger. These are the things I am feeling, but my emotions and my thoughts seemed too jumbled right now to decipher. I think the worst part is that I feel fine. I don’t feel sick like I did before, and yet, my body is failing me. It’s like a total mind fuck.

When Dr C. called me last night with the news, I had to ask her–just straight up–Am I going to die? I mean obviously I have a chemo resistant type of cancer. So how the hell do we treat cancer if we don’t use chemo? And herein lies the problem: She really doesn’t know. Nobody does. And nobody knows because there are ZERO case studies for someone like me–my age–demographic–type–stage etc. We have exhausted the obvious treatment courses with no luck. So for now, after my liver biopsy (a lot of the cancer appears to be there, so that seems like a good place to cut a piece out), we will start treatment using Rituximab, which is usually used in patients with my type of cancer in stages 1 and 2. Dr. C. said that it could keep the cancer at bay for many years. I just hope and pray that by “many”, that really means like 80.

Truth be told, I did not have a good feeling about this scan. I hadn’t slept for days before, and I told Derek that I just didn’t have a good feeling. I had symptoms too-really tired, and itchy skin. But I also (TMI alert) had gotten my period for the first time in a year which was kind of a miracle really, so I just attributed my fatigue to that. Turns out it was from low white counts. obvie. Maybe all this chemo the past few years has made me psychic.

I will see Dr. C on Weds, and we will discuss other options, such as clinical trials–likely at MD Anderson. At this point, it seems like no one really has any idea as to the best course of action to take, but since the conventional methods aren’t working a clinical trial might be our best bet. The only thing that sucks is the cost of everything. It sucks to have to worry about money throughout all of this, but Texas would be on our own dime. Cancer is such a great money making business, after all.

Today is mine and Derek’s 3 year wedding anniversary. When I was looking for a card to get him, one of them talked about how marriage is hard work, but when you look back, the good always outweighs the bad, and the hard times don’t really seem so hard. I didn’t get that card. Because that’s bullshit. Our bad times have certainly outweighed the good, and the hard times are definitely hard. But I feel so lucky to have met him, because I don’t know what I would do or where I would be without him. He has been through an awful lot with me; taking care of me/Mack etc., and a lot of men wouldn’t have done that.

Here are my thoughts for now, until I know more about what is going to happen to me: If I can get like 10 good years I feel like I could go peacefully. The most important thing to me is the same thing that Kris said to me. I don’t want Mack to have to look at a picture to remember me. I would love to be able to see him grow up as much as I can; Will he play sports? Will he be a class clown? Will he have lots of friends? All of these things I wonder. I dream of sitting in the bleachers at a football game, watching my son play. And he’s the star. And I wear a shirt with his number on it, screaming “that’s my baby!” I am lucky to have experienced true love in my life time, and I guess in the grand scheme of things, that is what is most important.


The cards seem to be pretty stacked against me, but I am NOT READY TO DIE. And I will not go down without a fight. That I know for certain.

31 thoughts on “Numb.

  1. Mary,

    I pray that you will get to see Mack play, not be a class clown (unless his grades don’t suffer – everyone will love him then), and you get 5x the ten years you’re looking for of great health/life. You a strong person, who has been down an incomprehensible road, so keep fighting because that has been working kiddo!

  2. Mary – I am so sorry you are enduring this challenge yet again. You are such a strong person and I pray that you remain strong. I will stand by you and hate the holiday season with you – until such time that you get a PET scan that comes back with no new/advancing cancer indicators. I pray that you don’t only get 10 good years, but that you are able to get those 80 good years! I know it sounds minimal, but keep your chin up and stay strong! xo

  3. I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through. My brother had colon cancer young (34) and is now two years cancer free. We have been very blessed in his journey in many ways.

    One resource we came across in his experiences is Shawn Stevenson of The Model Health. He has blogs and podcasts to help educate people on how diet, sleep and exercise (always those three together) plays into health and wellness. He also works one on one with people and has miraculous stories of helping people naturally fight cancer.

    I know it’s against the culture that we live in, but I encourage you to reach out to him. And to read and listen like crazy.

    What’s it going to hurt?

    I truly believe that you can eat a clean diet and stop feeding the cancer cells in your body with the sugar/carbs and other things that are so mainstream in our diet.

    You can fight it. Your body has the ability to win. Don’t let the diagnosis break you down. You have the tools to stand up and fight it.

    I will be thinking and praying for you.

  4. Mary, I saw your blog posted to Nora Moran’s FB last year, and have been following and praying for you and your family ever since. I am so so sorry to hear that your cancer is agsin active. That’s never, ever an easy thing to hear, and I can still remember hearing the docs telling my mom 4 years ago, as if it was this morning… You have a lot of living left to do, our family is sending you TONS of positive thoughts to help you fight this new battle!

  5. Omg! This post really brought tears to my eyes. I am so terribly sorry about this news. You have been such an inspiration and I love that you are sharing your battle. Love and hugs to you and your family in these trying times. I wish the best for you and hope something arises that allows you to live your dreams and get the time you deserve with Derek and Mack!

  6. I am so sorry. I hope you can spend time with your family and friends and not think about this 24/7. Every day is still YOURS.

    No one can predict the future – and that goes doubly for cancer. A family friend with cancer was told that he had months to live; when he’d lived a year after that, everyone celebrated with a big dance party. That was also the year I was born. They’ve had a party every year since, and I am now 26, and he is still alive (and a great dancer!). You never know what your story will be.

  7. Reading this I am practically throwing a tantrum. YOU CAN DO IT, MARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU GOT THIS!!!! And you have bazillions of people who have got your back!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

    • Mary, you are such a charming and inspirational person! I know deep down in my heart you will get through this tough time and live a long and happy life and get to experience it all! We all care for you very much and look forward to future happy and witty blog posts!

  8. My fiancé has stage 4 bile duct cancer.He originally was diagnosed at age 30 with pancreatic cancer.He recently had a genetic test done(simple blood test) to find out if there were any genetic markers as his cancer was so rare,at such an early age,repeated cancers…They found that he has a syndrome called lynch syndrome.It is genetic,and there is a 50/50 chance of giving it to your children,just like he got it from his mom.I don’t know your situation,but this may be something you want to look into.He is in a clinical trial right now,and doing ok.We were told average life span for this cancer is a year,It was a year in August,and we are grateful for every day.Keep fighting,it sucks.

  9. This entire post was heartbreaking, especially when you said “I dream of sitting in the bleachers at a football game, watching my son play. And he’s the star. And I wear a shirt with his number on it, screaming “that’s my baby!” – I pray you get to experience that and so much more! Praying for you.

  10. Please look into adding cannabis/hemp into your diet or adding it topically. Hemp oil is available at whole foods, as is hemp protein powder and hemp seeds. I am praying for you. God bless you all.

  11. Dearest Mary,
    I sit her typing this filled with tears after reading your post. I am a Cancer survivor and Kris was my sister in law. I want you to know how much I envy your attitude and optimism! Never let go Mary…. fight like you have never fought before!! I believe in miracles and I also believe in the power of prayer and you my dear, and your entire entourage will stay at the top of my prayer list until I receive the news you beat this thing!!
    God bless you Mary….thank you for sharing your journey, so many people care so much about you and in the end, that is what it’s all about!

  12. You don’t know me, but I’ve been following your blog and I am so bummed to know the cancer has come back. I was so happy for you after I read your post about running the half because I’m a runner, too, and a half is no small feat and you did it! Cancer sucks and I hope, really hope, you can live until your 80, too.

  13. Hey Mary – You just hang in there and know that people all over are praying for you and your family. You are a true inspiration of strength and character. I would love to help out any way that I can, even if it’s a small contribution. From what I hear, those doctor bills add up. Is there an online fund where we can donate? I know its a cliche and I’m sure you have heard this a million times, but God only gives you what you can handle and you do have a purpose. Stay strong lady! #FuckCancer

  14. Dear Mary
    I remember the first time we met, Jason introduced you as his good friend who had planned an amazing event for your friend and colleague Kris, like in a week. Your heart poured love and friendship. I saw you a year ago at Jason and Lindsey’s wedding and knew how much it meant to them to have you there on their special day. I was so moved and knew how excited J would be to have you there. We danced and had so much fun. Your battle and fight we will never begin to know what you are facing. Please know we are thinking and praying for your continued courage. Many thoughts and prayers are with you! Chris, Jody, Megan and Emily Wheaton

  15. Hey Mary!

    I’m actually wondering if you want to get together for a play date :). I don’t know if Andrew has your phone number, but I’d really love to get to know you better! I’m sort of feeling the same way about the holidays at the moment lol, but I’ve been enjoying baking muffins. Maybe Ava and I can bring some for you and Mack 😀


    Cynthia Walker

  16. Mary, what a voice you have. A human voice, a mothers voice, a friends voice. I can’t relate, won’t even try, but I want you to know that your verve, grit and endurance is otherworldly and at the very least awe-inspiring. Know you and your family are in my thoughts and lifted up in prayer.

  17. Mary
    You Rock! Keep fighting and inspiring! There is so much power and truth behind your words. Thank you for sharing.

    Be as strong as you look.

  18. Quick question — do you have a website or something? Like a gofundme site or whatever it’s called? Can we start organizing races and shit? LET ME KNOW! And I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be all in for something like that! Whatever it takes!!!!! Ready to fight with you!!!!

  19. I am so sorry to hear your news. Praying for you that God will remove this awful disease from your life and you will live a long life taking care of Mack! You are strong!

  20. I just found your blog…and I can’t seem to get you and your beautiful family out of my mind. canser (as Kris Carr spells it just to piss it off) is so awful and insidious. Thank you for sharing your journey. I do feel gratitude today but also heartbreak for you and yours. Your stregnth is amazing, your deep love is obvious and I feel blessed to know a slice of you. Wishing you many blessings and praying for a miracle.
    Check out my dear friends website…. for someday.

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