Stella Blue

My life with metastatic breast cancer.

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To walk a mile

I just want to take a moment to give thanks to five wonderful people who began a sixty mile journey today in my honor. The Boston Susan G. Komen 3-day walk kicked off this morning in the rain and I am so honored by the efforts of my Aunt, Uncle, friends, and especially my amazing sister who put together a team in my name and collectively raised over $14,000 for the fight. I am so blessed to have you all in my life and I wish I could be there to cheer you on as you finish the first leg of your journey. I am with you in spirit and you are in my thoughts – and of course, my heart.



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!!!!!!!!!!

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Spring rain and giving thanks

I love this time of year — the temperature just right to leave one window open in the bedroom at night, waking up to a cool breeze, the sound of steady rain and birdsong floating in to gently rouse you from sleep, and a soft, fuzzy blanket to pull around your shoulders as you contemplate getting out of bed. Seeing green leaves out the window is such a welcome change to the dreary gray skies and barren trees of winter.

I’d like to give thanks today to all soldiers — men, women, and let’s not forget the dogs — and their families that gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. I’d also like to dedicate this post in honor of a dear friend’s partner in life who sadly passed away unexpectedly last week. He was a Vietnam veteran and an all-around great guy who loved fishing and his family. Rick, you will be missed so very much. My heart is with your family as they try to pick up the pieces and carry on.

I’d like to wish you all a wonderful weekend and remind you to enjoy the little things that life has to offer. Hug your loved ones and tell them how much you love them, life is so unpredictable and often too short.

In memoriam, Richard A. Roy, 1948-2013

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I’ve been asked by several people to explain the name of my blog, so here it is for those of you who are curious. Stella Blue is named after one of my favorite songs. Pretty boring, huh? You probably thought there was a better story behind it. Sorry, turns out I’m not that original — but let me tell you about it anyway. It’s a beautiful and haunting song by my favorite band, the Grateful Dead. Some of you may be surprised to find out I’m a Deadhead, others might not even know what that is, but most of you already know they have been my favorite band since I was about eleven. I have to thank my good friend, Amelia Brown-Belabbas, for introducing me to them. Their music has carried me through many challenging times, none so difficult as this of course, but I am comforted by their tunes once more. I’ve posted the song below in case you’d like to listen to it. I’ve also written out the lyrics, which are especially meaningful to me now. So that’s the story behind Stella Blue, I hope you enjoy the song even if the Grateful Dead are not your style.


Stella Blue
lyrics by Robert Hunter

All the years combine
They melt into a dream
A broken angel sings
From a guitar

In the end there’s just a song
Comes crying up the night
Through all the broken dreams
And vanished years

Stella blue
Stella blue

When all the cards are down
There’s nothing left to see
There’s just the pavement left
And broken dreams

In the end there’s still that song
Comes crying like the wind
Down every lonely street
That’s ever been

Stella blue
Stella blue

I’ve stayed in every blue-light cheap hotel
Can’t win for trying.
Dust off those rusty strings just one more time
Gonna make them shine

It all rolls into one
And nothing comes for free
There’s nothing you can hold
For very long

And when you hear that song
Come crying like the wind
It seems like all this life
Was just a dream

Stella blue
Stella blue