Stella Blue

My life with metastatic breast cancer.


Catching up

A quick note today to let y’all know that I’m here, despite my lack of transmission. I’ll admit I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, which is why I haven’t felt like communicating. Getting good news from the CT scan was wonderful, but I can’t help wondering how long it will last. Cancer is smart and sneaky. Usually the drugs only work for a short period of time before things start moving forward again, so I feel a bit like I’m tiptoeing through a minefield. At any rate, I’m starting to recover from my most recent chemo session and looking forward to a little break — five weeks to be exact. I have officially been cleared by my oncologist and the lab running the clinical trial to go on vacation, a trip I’ve had planned for a year. I will be heading to Europe for two weeks with three of my favorite people…my sister, my step-mom, and my best friend of 18 years. This is a major win for me on many levels and I’m finally allowing myself to be excited about it. I have one more hurdle to cross before I go — I have to pass a lab test next week for blood counts and liver function, but so far on this chemo I have had pretty good numbers so I’m hoping that will continue. I’ve never left my son for more than two nights, so that is going to be terribly hard for me. Thank goodness for technology, I’ll be able to FaceTime with him regularly.

So that’s an update from me for now, but I’m going to leave you with a short poem and a reminder for myself and all of you — enjoy the beauty of today and worry not about tomorrow for it doesn’t yet exist.

by Denise Levertov

The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.


Let’s celebrate!

While I do not intend to use this blog as a bulletin board for updates on my treatments or my health condition, I feel compelled to share some news with you this evening. I know my recent posts have been rather heavy so this should help lighten the load. This morning I had the first CT scan of the clinical trial that I am participating in at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I was scheduled to receive the results at my upcoming appointment next week but my oncologist called me this afternoon and the news is good. My current treatment plan is having some success and all tumors have shrunk slightly in the nine weeks since I began. It is not a dramatic reduction in size but I am happy with anything moving in that direction, so HOORAY! Please have a glass of wine or crack a cold one for me this weekend as I am still not cleared to enjoy one myself. As a dear friend suggested, I will be hanging with Ben & Jerry for my own celebration.


P.S. A big shout out and virtual hugs of thanks to my lovelies Kate and Rachel for making this week extra special. Us cancer-folk call the stress caused before, during, and after a scan “scanxiety”, the thoughtfulness of your gifts helped me through it. Love you girls!

P.P.S. For those of you who have been with me from the beginning….FOR REAL THIS TIME!!!!!!!!!!



It happens from time to time, I get a glimpse of my “old” life and for a fleeting second forget that I am dying of cancer. These moments are simultaneously wonderful and devastating. I might be out with a friend for lunch, pumping gas into my car, shopping for Owen, or doing dishes at my kitchen sink. It’s always random and for that brief moment I feel free, as though I’m flying and nothing is tethering me down. I feel like I did before, able to live my life without a shadow cast overhead. It doesn’t last very long because reality always comes crashing down, dragging me with it in its vice-like grip. In this moment of clarity — when it all comes rushing back to me — I can’t breathe. I’m ten again and I’ve fallen flat on my back off the trampoline — immobile, breathless, terrified.  This time there is no ground to break my fall, and so I’m left to kick and scream in mid-air with no one to hear me, no one to catch me. Alone and falling, falling so fast — past the memories that were supposed to one day be mine. I reach out to touch them and slide my fingers over their sparkling surface…

The look on Owen’s face when he sees Disney World for the first time.
The birth of our second child, to see again Andrew’s incredible capacity for the patience and self-sacrifice of fatherhood.
Owen’s high school and college graduation ceremonies, his wedding.
Ashlei’s wedding, the birth of her children, becoming an Aunt.
Retirement — relaxing on the dock looking out over the lake with him, my partner in life…reminiscing about the early days and arguing over chores, still.

I will not see these momentous occasions, they will occur without my physical presence. I hope that there is more to this life, and that I can be there in some way, spirit or otherwise. I hope that my loved ones will always feel me near as they celebrate those unforgettable moments that life has to offer, but my sorrow at missing out on them is endless. I am so very grateful for the incredible moments I have been blessed to experience and I will hold them close until the end. When my time comes, I will take my last breath knowing that my time here was extraordinary, that during my brief existence I lived and loved as greatly as I could. I know there will be more wonderful memories to make before this happens, but everything for me is tinged with darkness — all of the good moments are bittersweet. Still I fight for them, even though they are broken and imperfect. They may not be the memories I thought they would be, but they will still be special.