Update on our wonderful and amazing friend Michelle ❤️
Michelle had a brain mri last week and she got the results on Friday. Her two gamma knife surgeries (one in December and one in January) were successful in eliminating the lesions that were discovered on her brain in late November. A total of 13 lesions- and now they are all GONE
Unfortunately, the scan also showed that there are 5 small lesions currently on her brain (very small- only 2 mm). She will have gamma knife surgery again on April 17th to eliminate these 5 spots.
This was unexpected and disheartening news since she hasn’t had any symptoms of new lesions (no headaches or nausea like she was having in November). This will be her third gamma knife surgery and it will be more experience to add to her “resume”, alongside all of her chemo treatments, surgeries, and radiation treatments she’s already had.
The gamma knife surgery itself is a difficult thing to go through, but Michelle has gone through it twice already. She’s strong and ready to keep doing whatever it takes and doing whatever treatment is needed as soon as possible.
The hardest part for her is that this is a big reminder of the “unknown.” We don’t know for sure if these 5 small lesions were there originally and now are large enough to show up on the brain mri or if these 5 lesions are new spots since her last scan.
Regardless, they are small lesions that will easily be eliminated with the gamma knife surgery.
Since her last surgery in January she has switched to a new chemo treatment. She was taking two types of chemo pills when the brain lesions were discovered and as of February she has switched to receiving two drugs through IV on a weekly basis. She’s currently on a “two weeks on and one week off” schedule for treatment. She will have a PET scan at the beginning of May and the results of the scan will indicate how her body is responding to the new treatment.
It has been a whirlwind and roller coaster the last few months with her brain radiation treatments, running on a low amount of sleep because of steroids (needed to keep down any brain inflammation), switching to a new chemo treatment and schedule, and also last month having a household sick with the flu including herself!
She has been and continues to be the same steadfast and strong person we all know and love. She remains positive and accepting that this battle of stage 4 cancer is part of her life but it stops there. It’s just a part. Your love, support, and prayers I know mean so much to her and continue to build her up and give her more and more strength.
Update December 5, 2018
She did well today (probably an understatement - she did amazing!! ) and is home and hopefully getting some good rest tonight.
She had an early morning that included having a brain MRI and also being placed into a head frame needed for the gamma knife procedure (the head frame ensures the beams from radiation are placed exactly where they need to be).
The brain MRI today showed there were 8 lesions. They were able to target 7 of them today during the gamma knife procedure which took about 2 1/2 hours. I’m glad that she was made comfortable with her pick of pandora stations (country girl all the way ) and she was exhausted enough to be able to rest during!
The 8th lesion is larger and the doctor’s immediate plan is to reduce it in size with ten daily sessions of radiation to the brain. She will have her first session tomorrow and every weekday following for the next 10 days.
This will reduce the size of the lesion so that in two weeks she can have the gamma knife procedure a second time to get rid of it.
The MRI today did show a possibility of there being two smaller lesions that are hidden behind this larger one. The next MRI during the second gamma knife procedure will show more accurately if there are smaller lesions hidden behind this 8th large one and they can remove those then as well.
She has multiple upcoming appointments including her body PET scan tomorrow (I can update you all once she knows the results from it) and her 10 radiation sessions. And it’s looking like her second gamma knife procedure will be on or around December 20th.
She continues to amaze me and amaze all of us with her strength and positivity. It’s a whirlwind of appointments, procedures, medications, and emotions. I know when she talks to her “dream team” of doctors they give her confidence and keep her calm. When I see her and talk to her, she is what gives me confidence and calmness as she fights this.
All of the support from everyone means so SO much to Michelle and Eric. I used to think of everyone as Michelle’s “tribe” but you are all much more than that. You are Michelle’s army and she is our warrior.
Update November 28, 2018
Calling upon the friends and family of Michelle and Eric Ross. Michelle has been having intermittent headaches and nausea these past few weeks and went in yesterday for a brain scan just to check and make sure... They received devastating news after her scan yesterday afternoon that the cancer has spread to the brain. Her team of doctors are already getting the ball rolling on the next steps. That’s the assuring news. There are steps to take to attack this with good success rates. As of last night the brain scan still needed to be read in detail. Since they already know that the scan shows lesions she has her consultation appointment scheduled for tomorrow for her upcoming procedure.
The plan is for her to have a type of radiation surgery on the brain that’s called gamma knife radiosurgery. The procedure uses pinpoint accuracy and has minimal side effects. She first has to have chest surgery this Friday to remove the expanders in her chest and have them replaced with implants. This is being done ASAP in order for the expanders not to interfere with a brain MRI she needs done. Then her more detailed scan results (still to come) will determine the specifics of how much will need to be done next week during the gamma knife procedure.
You all are her tribe of positivity, her support, her cheerleaders. We have all witnessed the strength Michelle has and by giving her your positive thoughts, prayers, and emotional support, she will gain even more strength. I am asking for your positive thoughts and prayers. With her upcoming surgeries, anybody feeling the need to help more, you can message me (email@example.com) if you want to contribute gift cards for groceries (Vons, Trader Joe’s) or gift cards for delivery take out places such as Reds BBQ.
Note: I transferred Michelle's fundraiser info to this GoFundMe page since the YouCaring website is closed. We are so so very thankful for all the support Michelle and her family have received. I will use this GoFundMe page as the current way of writing updates.
Update October 2018:
Good news to share on Michelle’s latest scan!
Michelle received her scan results and the scan shows everything continues to be clear! No changes from her scan that was clear in July.
She has been taking two types of chemo pills since April. Her doctor adjusted her to a lower dosage this summer to give her body a break from the side effects so a clear scan is a huge relief to see!
Her doctor will be changing the pill dosage again (slight increase in dose) for this time period before her next scan. These pills can have some tough side effects and Michelle has shown great strength in managing them.
Please continue sending your prayers, positive thoughts, love and support her way. She is that much stronger with the support from her tribe! <3
Update July 2018: Michelle had a scan this week and it’s GREAT NEWS!! Her doctor said they are the best results he could have ever hoped for! I’ll pause for a moment so you can shout your hoorays, wahoos, and hallelujahs!!!
I am so thankful I get to share this good news with you and here are some more details on the last couple months. Since her scan in April and her hip biopsy (which confirmed the cancer type is still the same), she has been taking two types of chemo drugs in pill form. After completing three full cycles of the drugs, her scan shows the spots on her lungs are gone (just some scar tissue remains which will eventually go away), the lymph nodes in her chest are back to normal size, and the spot on her hip shows no activity. She will continue to take these pills and work closely with her doctor to balance the side effects that come with them (she is having to take extreme care of her skin, including staying out of the sun as much as possible). She is SO very thankful for the scan results and can deal with the skin stuff. Her next scan will be in a couple months.
We love you Michelle! Your strength and positivity continue to shine!
Update April 2018: Michelle got results from her latest scan yesterday and it’s not great news. The cancer is no longer responding to the target treatment her doctor switched her to in December. Most of the original spots from her cancer recurrence (the right hip, 2 lymph nodes in the chest, and a spot on her back) are the same size as her previous scan (from late January) and the small spots on her lungs showed an increase in size. Her doctor said there is good news in that there are no new spots of cancer.
They are taking immediate action and switching her to a new drug treatment. The plan is to switch to a chemo drug in pill form. She will have a biopsy done on her right hip to see if the cancer is still the same status/type or if it has changed. Then the biopsy results will determine which new drug she will switch to.
Michelle’s doctor will continue to monitor her very closely and she will have a scan again soon to determine how the new drug is working.
The fact that she is having to switch to a new treatment again so soon is beyond frustrating and disheartening. We are thankful that there are different types of drugs and treatments to use to attack cancer and very thankful her doctor is working closely with her to keep fighting it.
Michelle and Eric, we are here for you. You have all of our love and support.
Update Feb. 2018: Michelle had a scan at the end of January and got the scan results last week. The scan showed the spots on her chest and hips have decreased 60% (the spots on her lungs are too small to accurately measure any change). This is after 3 target drug treatments. Her doctor said these are results to celebrate- great results after only 3 treatments! Her next scan will be scheduled after she has 3 more target drug treatments. He’s monitoring her progress closely to make sure her body is responding well to this new treatment. She found out these scan results last week. This week unfortunately she has been in the hospital fighting a bacteria infection. She discovered the infection Sunday and started antibiotics Sunday night. Monday evening she was sent to the hospital to receive antibiotics through an IV and be monitored. Last night she had surgery to remove and replace the left breast expander since that was the area of the infection and the antibiotics won’t clear any bacteria on the expander itself. She is doing well but anxious to be home. Originally her next target drug treatment was scheduled for this week but it is postponed until she is clear from infection. Post surgery she is feeling so much better physically and mentally. She should be coming home in a few days. She is a warrior ❤️ Michelle you have all of our love and support!
Update Dec. 2017: Michelle learned at the beginning of this month that her latest scan results show that the cancer has returned (the original spot on the right hip, the 2 ordinal lymph nodes in the chest, and a few new small spots on the lungs).
Since creating this website in January, Michelle has gone through 6 rounds of chemo, surgery (a bilateral masectomy with axillery lymph node dissection), physical therapy, 30 sessions of radiation, and after her completion of chemo in May, she has been receiving protein blockers ongoing every three weeks (since her cancer is type HER2+). She has had scans every 3 months to monitor her progress (including scan results that she was free of cancer in May after completing 6 rounds of chemo!). Her scan in August was clear but now her latest scan shows a cancer recurrence. She has switched to a different drug treatment as of last week and her doctor is VERY positive. Also, her doctor says there are other types of drugs they can use to attack it (including chemo again) if needed. She will have another scan again in a couple months.
I often hear the fight against cancer described as both a journey and a war. Both certainly hold true. And it’s a roller coaster too. Everyone who knows Michelle knows she is a fighter. Michelle has been fighting stage 4 breast cancer since she received the news on January 6th this year. She won battle #1 with 6 rounds of chemo and now she is battling this recurrence. People have reached out again asking how to help and give support so we are asking for support through donations to help cover the costs of some of her medical expenses. We love you Michelle, Eric, and your two boys! You’ve got this!!
Original post (edit to change to stage 4 cancer):
On January 6th, 2017 at 4:28 pm, Michelle received a phone call that she has breast cancer. She is a 33 year old wife, teacher, and mother of two young boys. The following week she learned she has stage 4 breast cancer and then had a series of doctor visits/scans/procedures to get her on the road to recovery asap and as of 1/19/17, she has completed her first chemo treatment.
Many friends and colleagues have reached out wanting to help and support the Ross family after hearing the shocking news that Michelle is fighting stage 4 breast cancer. As their close friend, I'm setting up this fundraiser to help cover some of her medical costs (including chemo treatments, surgery, & various scans to monitor progress along the way). If you have felt a strong feeling that you want to be able to DO something for this family we love so much, this is a way you can show your support to Michelle & her family during her road to recovery.