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  • Writer's pictureJulia Heck

Life's a lot

Man, there are times where life just gets to be too much to handle. My mental health hasn't been in the best place since finding out that my cancer has grown. Oh right... I didn't share that.


Rewind to November 2020

I've been taking Kisqali since July 2020. The side effects were pretty mild for me and I could definitely tolerate it. I was really starting to feel like myself. I had been through a lot, from the move, to the dog, to the car accident, surgery, etc., but I was really starting to get back to the "Julia" y'all know and love. I was feeling good about my meds, I was spending time with friends, I was getting outside every day, I was doing things that made ME happy. It was really refreshing because I hadn't truly felt that way since I had been diagnosed!

The one downfall: I was really not happy at MD Anderson in Jacksonville. I was frustrated that I had only seen my oncologist for 15 minutes since August, I was frustrated it was a long drive and I always had to allot so much time to go to the doctor (and go at least once a month). I was just frustrated with the care and didn't feel like my oncologist even knew who I was.

Anyone who knows me knows: I cannot stand when people are unhappy but don't try to make a change. Soo... I made a change. I switched to Mayo Clinic in JAX. Shorter drive, closer relationship with my doc, more organized and I am way happier. I feel like my doctor is truly invested in me, like my life is on the line... LOL--dark, but true.

In November when I went to meet with her, we had discussed the possibility of my medicine not working the way we originally hoped. We discussed that scans could come back stable. We discussed all of the possibilities. AND we discussed the plan for each of those outcomes, which is what I really needed.

Unfortunately, the scans in December came back to show that the cancer in my liver had grown slightly. Fortunately, there were no new lesions which was huge for me, but obviously not the response that I had hoped for. ANNOYING. My meds weren't working, that meant that it was time for a switch.

Present day:

I am now on a medicine called Lynparza.

Quick rundown of that--Everyone has cancer cells in their body. Typically, the healthy cells in our body are closed and safe so "we" wouldn't get cancer. Since I have the BRCA mutation, those sneaky cancer cells can get in the "back door" which is left open. This medicine shuts that back door. That means the new goal isn't cancer free... it's living with this stupid disease, but keeping it under control and not growing.

I've taken a step back and really had to digest that on my own, which is why I haven't shared this info until now. It's hard, sometimes this feels like a dream and there's no way this cancer aspect is my real life. Again, I'm TWENTY FREAKING SIX. This is s frustrating that I even need to be considering this. But I have faith--I know I'll keep kicking, keep laughing, keep working, keep making more friends, keep pushing them and myself to be better than we were yesterday, keep smiling and keep living.

Although this is hard to share, I know I have an army behind me and we will continue to fight the good fight. I'll keep living my best life and have an extra little cancer friend on my liver along for the ride.

While I'd been through that whirlwind and had to figure out the new meds and deal with all that actual bull shit, I DID get a promotion!! WOO don't let any sort of set back stop you from reaching for the stars. If I would've listened to that first doctor, I'd be dead and not sitting here writing this!

I'm coming up on my one year subscription ending at Wix (this website maker). At 5:30 when I logged in, I was planning to stop the subscription to say I'm done sharing my story and delete my website, but if sharing my story can help just one person, the annual subscription is wellll worth it. Now, it being 6:30 and finishing up writing this post, I'm confident that sharing parts of my story is probably worth it. Just need to give myself grace to only share when I want.

Give.myself.grace. Until next time

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Feb 08, 2021

Many prayers for you. I have learned from your words. Only share if you want, it's your story to tell. Hang in there,


Feb 03, 2021

Julia! thank you so much for sharing. I kid you not, today I logged into Instagram (I'm @running_through_cancer) specifically to see what you were up to because I hadn't seen anything from you recently. I read your post about limiting social media time so I didn't send a message so it was so nice to see your update in my inbox! Please know that you've got people thinking about you everywhere-even if we've never met each other! Wishing you all the best and here's to that new med keeping the back door SHUT! Congrats on your promotion too!

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