Cancer Sucks: Sissy's Bucket List

Over the past few days, our family has received heartbreaking news.

It started Thursday, June 20th. My aunt passed out at work, and asked if I could take her home so she could rest. She thought she shouldn't drive since she had passed out. She'd been sick recently (vomitting, not eating, and on top of that, had excruciating pain from breaking her tailbone at the end of January). I spoke to my aunt Val and we agreed that Sharilyn needed to go to the ER. She was too weak, and I was very, very worried.

While at the ER, my aunt was giving the doctor her medical history, and explained she had been having really bad headaches, which she thought was exacerbated by the vomitting. She has a history of migrains, so this was not her main complaint in the ER....we were worried about her not eating, vomitting and passing out. The doc thought it would be a good idea to do a brain scan.

A while later, the doctor came back and said they found lesions on her brain, and they were suspicious of cancer. I felt like God punched me in the stomach.

She was admitted to the hospital for more testing. Results came back with spots on her lungs, spine, sternum, spleen, bones, and of course brain. When the first oncologist came in to visit with us, he told us he suspects metastatic breast cancer. We were sad, but we thought "Hey! We can deal with this. We can kick cancer's ass!"

The first step is radiation to the brain. We went to the radiation center yesterday (Tuesday 6/25) to get things started. She was fit for a mask and told how the radiation process works. The radiation oncologist said they would also treat spots on her spine with radiation to hopefully relieve some of her pain near her tail bone and help with the nausea (mets causing pressure on the area of the brain that is responsible for vomitting).

The doctor explained to us that there were 20 lesions on her brain that they could see. Then she asked how long she has. The doctor estimates 6 months to a year. NO! HOW CAN THIS BE?!?! THIS IS NOT FAIR!!! SHE STILL HAS SO MUCH LIFE TO LIVE! SHE'S SUCH A WONDERFUL PERSON! WHY HER? IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!! Oh, God, this isn't fair!

Needless to say, it's been hard to stop the tears, but we are all trying to be so strong for her.

When we got back to her room (it was just her and me), she told me the one thing she wants to do before she goes to be with God is go to Colorado and take pictures. Oh, she takes the prettiest pictures.

I WANT TO MAKE THAT TRIP TO COLORADO HAPPEN FOR HER!

At this time, we are not sure what will be the cost of the trip. Any funds received above the trip cost will be applied to medical bills.

I have faith in humanity, and I'm hoping the love and support of friends, family and even people who have not been blessed to meet my beautiful aunt Sharilyn, can help send her to Colorado.


6/29/13 UPDATE: WOW! The response and generosity has been amazing and uplifting. It's difficult to find the right words to express how grateful I am and how blessed we are.

Sharilyn started radiation therapy this past Wednesday (6/26) on her brain and spine. I'm hoping this will help alleviate the her headaches and pain in/around her tailbone.

7/18 UPDATE: Wow, I'm sorry it's been a while since the last update. Sharilyn only has 1 more radiation treatments! YAY! Tomorrow (Friday 7/19), after her last session, she will get to ring the bell symolizing the end of radiation. Yippee Skippee!

Sharilyn had an Ommaya Reservoir (port) inserted on 7/10. It was placed in the top right section of her forhead, just above the hairline. This will deliver chemo directly to her cerebral spinal fluid so it can target the mets on her brain and spine.

We knew that she would have sections of her head shaved for the Ommaya placement. So the night before (Tues 7/9) I helped get her all dolled up with makeup and a little styling of her hair. We took a lot of pictures. Then, she allowed me to cut off her beautiful locks. The clippers I bought were terrible, so we ended up using scissors and I gave her a really cute pixie cut. It was a bittersweet moment, as it made the cancer seem a little more real (denial, anyone?); it hit home. But,I felt so honored that she allowed me to do this for her. She really ROCKS a short doo!

The doctors found the molecular driver of the cancer, and have determined that she will be able to take another form of chemo in pill form. This will cause less side effects. YAY! She took her first pill on Friday 7/12.

SHE IS KICKING CANCER SQUARE IN THE ASS!

Now, even better news: She is planning her escape from the hospital this Friday, July 19 (one day short of a one month stay). WOO-HOO! Next week, she plans on taking a trip with me and her sisters up to Dallas for an exciting Mary Kay Seminar! I'm so glad Sis will be able to make that trip.

Next trip: COLORADO, BABY!

Again, I thank everyone for your kind, encouraging words and acts of kindness.

God Bless You All!
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Wendy Castellanos 
Organizer
Round Rock, TX
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