Film Festival! (plus an awesome MBC fundraising opportunity that costs you nothing)

I have SUPER EXCITING news to share! The short film, bare, that I have been working on with filmmaker Kerith Lemon has been selected to be screened at the 9th Annual Lady Filmmakers Festival in Beverly Hills, California on Saturday, September 30th 2017!

Bare will be shown at 4:15pm at the Wilshire Screening Room. If anyone is in the LA area, tickets to our film block are only $10. I’ll be there and would love to see anyone who can make it! You can buy tickets here (film block 8).

lady filmmakers festival selection

In other good news, Novartis has launched a campaign to raise money for MBC research. For every selfie posted using the hashtag #KissThis4MBC shared publicly on social media, Novartis will donate $10 to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN) and METAvivor, two patient-driven advocacy organizations dedicated to supporting research for people living with metastatic breast cancer.

All you need to do is post a selfie, set the privacy settings to public, use the hashtag #KissThis4MBC, and $10 goes straight to MBC research! There’s no limit on how many times you can do this – if you post 5 public selfies with the hashtag, you just donated $50.

This is an amazing opportunity to raise much needed funds for MBC without any money coming out of your pocket!

I am literally writing this post from the chemo chair. I am here far too often, as are SO many other men and women. We need this funding. Please post your selfies!!

becky evan goat farm

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Probable Progression.

I’m struggling to write this post, because, well, I’m not feeling very happy, and it’s always harder for me to share when I’m down. My instinct is to retreat into hibernation and wait for the storm to pass when things are hard. But, I also realize that I can only do that for so long, and I try really, really hard to get up each day, get out, and keep living, in the hopes that at some point the weight will lift and I will start feeling better. It’s not that I’ve been horribly depressed, just that things have been hard, and getting through that takes up energy in a way that doesn’t leave much left over for things like writing blog posts. In any case, I figured it was time for an update. Here’s what’s been going on.

I’ve been having an increasing amount of bone pain, so about a month ago I had a PET/CT scan. I have these scans about every 3-5 months, depending on my pain level and symptoms. The stress of having them never seems to get easier. Every time I have one it is a huge reminder that I have metastatic cancer and that it is likely to spread at some point.

As some may remember, when I was first diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic disease, I had tumors throughout my skeleton, so bone pain is something that we can’t ignore. Anyway, I had the scan, and it was good. All clear – as it has been since 2014 (brain aside). Except my bones continued to hurt, and it just felt like something was wrong.

After a couple of weeks of continued pain, my oncologist decided to order a bone scan in addition to the PET/CT scan, which I had done this past week. Unfortunately a spot on my sternum lit up (which is one of the places where the bone tumors originally were). At first the radiologists were debating if this sternum spot was tumor or scar, but I saw my oncologist on Thursday and she relayed that it seems more than likely that it is tumor. We can’t biopsy to be 100% sure because the bone is too thin and we’d risk piercing my heart, so all we can do is wait, rescan, and see if/how much it grows.

It turns out that there are 2 types of bone mets – one type only shows up on PET/CT scans (and doesn’t show up on bone scans), and the other only shows up on bone scans and not on PET/CT scans. So that explains why my PET was clear last month – the tumor was probably there, just not lighting up.

My oncologist is hesitant to change up my meds right now because the next treatment is going to have more severe side effects, and the game with MBC is to get as much mileage out of each treatment as we can. So, the plan is to rescan in a month and reassess then. I also restarted a bone met medication that I had stopped a couple of months ago (xgeva – I had stopped it because being on it long-term can cause necrosis of the jaw), so that might knock the cancer back again if this is indeed tumor. I’ll be due for a brain MRI in a month as well, so at that point we will have all the information we need to decide what to do.

It’s a big blow to have the cancer come back in my bones. My bones have responded really well to treatment and remained NED (no evidence of disease) since 2014, so it feels really discouraging that my luck with these meds might be running out.

And this freakin uncertainty all the time – it’s too much. I’ve been living with this stupid “it may or may not be cancer” thing since my brain mets back in Dec, and it sucks. First I had the whole “it might be in my spinal fluid” thing, then my brain MRI showed a spot that is either scar or tumor, now my bones are up in the air. I hate it.

So I’ve just been…struggling.

kenzie sprinklesBut, as usual, my girls have been helping me in ways that they don’t even understand. Zoe has been coming over once a week for “play dates” (as she calls it), and it’s so much fun to just hang out with her. We walk to the park or color, one week we even made slime. Sophie has really been enjoying the climbing gym, so I’ve been spending time with her there. It makes me so happy to see her gaining confidence and working out the routes – she’s such a good little climber! And how I love watching Kenzie find her voice and explore the world.

 

So, while things may be kind of sucky, all is not lost. I will keep getting out of bed and getting through my days and at some point things will turn around. In the meantime I’ve got my girls, a husband who will do anything to make me smile, and a family who brings me flowers and helps clean my house without me ever having to ask for help. What more could I ask for, really?

Belated Update

I haven’t written in a while, the reason for which will become clear later in this post. Consequently, there’s a lot to catch up on. But, I’m having a hard time with screens right now, so I’m not going to spend too much time on this and there will be very little editing involved. Forgive me if this post isn’t quite up to par.

Here’s what’s been going on, from the beginning.

becky evan winchester mysteryA few weeks ago, on a Monday, Evan and I celebrated his 35th birthday. I surprised him with a trip to the Winchester Mystery House. This probably sounds like a super nerdy gift to some, but Evan loves history and museums and he’d never been there before, so it was kind of perfect for us. Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious tapas dinner at a restaurant on Santana Row. Earlier that day we had gone to the grocery store, and on my way to find him a pair of chopsticks for his sushi, I got all teary at the thought that I get to be with this man for the rest of our lives. I just really love him, so giving him a nice birthday outing meant a lot.

Tuesday I had my regular infusion. No fun, as usual. Inevitably the day of an infusion I hit a point in the evening when I am overwhelmed, I have little gas left in the tank, and I just don’t know how to keep pushing through the pain and discomfort. I usually start crying, and Evan steps in to hold me, read to me, remind me that tomorrow will be a better day. I love him for this.

Wednesday was Evan’s actual birthday, and we had a nice lunch on the harbor. Unfortunately we then went to see my neurologist for yet another spinal tap. I think this was #6? I am losing count. I was really nervous for this one because the last one was super painful due to some scar tissue building up back there. So, this time while I lay on the exam table waiting in my hospital gown, Evan read my book to me about a man and his border collie, Rose. It calmed me, and I am happy to report that this spinal tap was far less painful than the last. A+ for my neurologist. The rest of the day was spent resting and recovering. Somewhere in there I also had another brain MRI.

When Evan was reading to me, he read a chapter about the main character and his dog, Rose, trying to save a lamb in a blizzard. In the end, they could not, and Rose lay down in the snow next to the lamb’s frozen body for hours as she came to terms with the idea that she could not, in fact, protect everything and everyone.

As I waited for my spinal tap and brain MRI results, I thought a lot about Rose and her dead lamb, and Evan and my family and Harriet and all that we cannot protect each other from. It is a feeling I have become all too familiar with.

When the phone call finally came it was to say that the tap was negative. Though, as usual, this doesn’t mean a whole lot (neg doesn’t actually rule out cancer). My brain MRI results caused a temporary panic when the radiologist noted an active tumor (in the same location as one of my radiated tumors), but my docs assured me that it could be scar tissue. It could also indeed be an active tumor, but I am told that the important thing is that it isn’t growing. Still, unnerving. This is my brain, after all.

Moving on, we picked up Cali and Kingston (Evan’s niece and nephew) on Thursday and headed to Yosemite. We had dance parties in the car, stopped to pan for gold at Casa de Fruta, and generally thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. When we got to the cabin a serious amount of nausea set in, so I rested while the others explored the property.

Spinal tap…dance party…nausea…the pendulum swings back and forth, back and forth, all day long, just about every day, between pain and joy, happiness and despair. This is my life with MBC.

becky evan horseback riding tahoeThen came Tahoe, which was every bit as wonderful as I had been hoping it would be. It was no doubt a different trip from the one we took last year given my current pitiful energy levels and all the daily side effects, but we still had a great time. Highlights from the trip include: playing in a blow up donut with Sophie out on the lake and giggling hysterically while she told fart jokes (I know I’m not supposed to support their potty humor, but some of their jokes are really funny); Sophie telling me in between laughing that I am the best auntie in the world (be still my heart); putting the girls to bed (I spend a lot of time with them, but I so rarely get to enjoy those lovely routine bits of life, like bedtime and wake up); Kenzie finding a word for me (something along the lines of “Beby”); horseback riding with Evan, Sophie, and Zoe; Zoe cuddling up into my lap while we watched the BFG; Sophie reading me bed time stories; Zoe singing me a song she made up that mostly just consisted of her yelling “I love you, I love you.”

I had a bunch of appointments upon returning home – eye doc to try to sort out my worsening vision since brain surgery, dentist to fix 2 cracks caused by one of my cancer meds, and pain management to try to get these damn headaches under control. The pain doc started me on a couple of new medications, but the next day I developed unbelievably painful legs and some trouble walking. We went back to the neurologist, where we learned that I’ve lost one of my ankle reflexes, and I failed both balance tests. Anyone who knows me knows that this is a big deal. I stopped all the new meds on the chance that I was having some weird reaction.

Over the next couple of weeks, things got bad. The pain in my legs ebbed and flowed, my nausea got REALLY bad, I lost 10 pounds quickly, and headaches were bad. I have generally been feeling like crap. I think I may have had some sort of virus, but who knows if that was complicated by a reaction to meds and/or if something was going on in my brain. That’s always a concern that can’t be ignored. Needless to say it has not been a good time. I had to cancel two vacations that I was really looking forward to, and essentially all of my energy has been going into just getting through each day. To add insult to injury, screens have been causing me particular eye/head pain, so while I’ve been cooped up doing nothing, I’ve also been having trouble watching anything or reading. So. Boring.

THANKFULLY things have finally started to calm down this week. In lieu of our Canada trip that we had to skip, Evan and I drove down to Monterey on Monday to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. We went to Refuge in Carmel where we relaxed in a sauna, braved the cold plunge pools, warmed up in the hot pools, and sat by fire pits; we had a nice dinner out in Monterey; we even went for a little walk down the coast on Tuesday.

All I could think was: finally. A reprieve. A break. A chance to breathe. I’ll take it for as long as it lasts.

 

 

Sophie, Zoe, and Kenzie

I often write about how much I adore my nieces. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately (well, I always think about them a lot, but I’ve been thinking about them even more than usual), because we are all going to Tahoe together soon and I am RIDICULOUSLY excited to spend 5 days, 24/7 with them.

The last time I was in Tahoe with them was almost exactly a year ago. I was NED, I thought I might be for years, and my heart ached for kids of my own.

Despite how much I loved spending quality time with my girls, this heartache ripped through me one day at the lake. I was sitting on the beach in a pop up tent watching 4 month old Kenzie while everyone else was off playing or eating. For a while she happily laid on a towel on her back, stretching her still chunky legs and waving her arms in the air, feeling what it meant to be a person on solid ground, in air, untethered to her mother.

The peace didn’t last long. She had an epic meltdown – tears streamed down her cheeks, her fists clenched. She was dry, fed, and burped, and no amount of rocking or cuddling was doing the trick. I was getting flustered, I started to panic – but I had seen the way she calmed when Anna strapped her to her chest. So, I grabbed the giant piece of cotton fabric that – with the right draping and a little magic – somehow turned into a front side baby carrier. I wound it around my shoulders and my waist until it somewhat resembled the criss crossing that my sister so effortlessly achieved, tied a knot, and tucked little Kenzie in, her chest pressed against mine. I wandered over to the campground to find some shade.

kenzie on floorI gently bounced her, whispered Twinkle Twinkle Little Star over and over again, and wandered under the pines – my 4 month old wailing niece strapped to my chest in a clumsily wrapped carrier. Eventually, she began to calm.

It was such a sweet moment, yet there was a seed of sadness in my gut knowing that I likely wouldn’t experience this with my own child. When a woman walked past and told me how beautiful my baby was and I smiled and said thank you, that seed of sadness grew just a bit bigger. When a second woman complimented “my baby,” I simply smiled and kept bouncing, unable to muster a verbal response. The third time a woman added, “Soak it up, they grow up so fast. You are so lucky to have such a beautiful baby,” and I turned to face the trees so that she would not see my tears. I thought, if you only knew what I would give for that to be true.

By now Kenzie was asleep, so I stood in the forest, feeling the weight of this gorgeous child pressed against my chest, softly singing round after round of Twinkle Twinkle, and turning my head up towards the tree tops so that my tears would not fall on her head.

I had been a metastatic patient for almost two years, but I was still waiting for the acceptance to sink in that motherhood likely wasn’t in the cards for me. My nieces filled me with so much love and joy, but being auntie did not fix the fact that I desperately wanted to be mom.

Still, there was a slim chance that someday Evan and I might have a family, no matter how unconventional that family might be. As a stage 4 patient I could not safely carry a child, so I would be dependent on a friend offering to be our surrogate, her body compensating for the failings of my own. The only other option was for an adoption agency to see me as more of a person and less as a cancer patient. Both of these scenarios were unlikely, not to mention that if either came to be, I had to then hope beyond hope that I’d have enough time to experience motherhood. Not time in my day, but time in my life. Still, I clung to the knowledge that there was still a small chance for Evan and I to become mom and dad. I just had to stay healthy.

This year we are repeating our Tahoe vacation, but circumstances – and feelings – have changed pretty drastically. Now I have brain tumors – brain tumors that are hopefully dying, but that are there nonetheless. Given the brain mets, kids are no longer possible for us, so I have locked my need for a family so far down that I barely notice it anymore. If I felt the pain of the truth that I will never be mom too often, I may not get out of bed. (I have written a lot about fertility and kids privately, and I plan to share that material at some point, so I won’t say much more about it here).

zoe cowgirlBut this year, there are no bittersweet feelings about my nieces, no thoughts along the lines of “this is lovely, but if only I could do this with my own child.” Now there are only sweet feelings. Sophie, Zoe, and Kenzie have become my beacon of life, of silliness, of joy, and I regularly thank whatever is out there that they are each in this world, in my life.

One caveat here – there are many people in my life who I feel this strongly about in different ways. Evan, the rest of my family, close friends. But my girls are the only ones that I get to nurture, and that is key. I get to help care for them; to protect them; to teach them; to help them feel heard, valued, and loved; to contribute to their feelings of safety and security. That is a privilege, and one I do not take lightly.

It is such a deep need for me – to nurture (I think this is also one reason why Harriet means so damn much to me, because I get to nurture her, too).

That said, whatever I give to those girls, they give back to me ten fold.

becky and sophie condoSophie, Zoe, and Kenzie are affectionate, beautiful people, in every sense of that word. The love that they show me is so fierce that it is almost palpable. When I am with them, I am not a cancer patient. I am a happy auntie, giggling just as hard as they are at whatever poop joke they just made. When I am not with them and the anxiety takes over, I think of them to calm down. I picture their lovely faces every night as I fall asleep to try to stop the cancer nightmares from creeping in.

To love and be loved, to care and be cared for – these are the best things in this world, if you ask me.

I am determined to endure whatever pain I must in order to get more time, because I simply have to be around next year to splash on the shores of Lake Tahoe with my little beauties.

 

Montana, horses, scans, and more…

First and foremost, I had a clean PET/CT scan last week! That means that I’m still No Evidence of Disease (NED) from the neck down (i.e., no active cancer aside from my brain). I was SUPER nervous, so the all clear was a big relief. I have these scans about every 3 months, and it never gets easier. Every time it feels like my world is about to explode again. I always have some level of bone pain, so as a scan approaches, it’s all too easy to attribute that pain to growing tumors. BUT NOT THIS TIME!!

In other news, I went to a horseback riding and yoga retreat for breast cancer patients in Montana three weeks ago. There really could not possibly be a more perfect retreat for me. We even journaled!

The trip didn’t start out great, as I learned that my brain does not appreciate flying or being at elevation. The airplane landings were the worst. I had layovers and was by myself (Evan was finishing up his school year), so it was rough. But I took some meds, talked to my doctors on the phone, and made it through.

montana viewThe flying drama was totally worth it. The retreat was on the most idyllic property, with green fields, a pond, a beautiful old converted barn where we did yoga and ate delicious meals, cabins by the river, and of course, horse paddocks – all back dropped by the most dramatic snow capped mountains I’ve ever seen.

lake meditationOur days started with morning meditation, once out on the lake dock, once next to the horses. Listening to those beautiful creatures softly rummaging around for hay while we closed our eyes and breathed in the crisp mountain air was the most soothing meditation experience ever. The rest of our days were filled with yoga on the second floor of the barn that overlooked the property, spending time with the horses, free time (i.e. nap and/or river gazing time), and eating the most delicious food, cooked for us by a private chef.

This was the first time that I have attempted a yoga class since before brain surgery, and I wasn’t sure how it would go. I didn’t know if I was strong enough for it yet. But I did it, and it felt so damn good.

The yoga was a gift, no doubt about it. But the horses – the horses filled my soul in a way that nothing else quite ever does. I haven’t touched a horse since before brain surgery, and I honestly didn’t think I could safely be around them anymore. I randomly lose my balance, my reactions are slowed, my vision gets blurry, and I am at risk for seizures – all of which puts me in danger with a 1200 pound animal. I couldn’t even go for a bike ride without ending up in an ambulance for christ’s sake. Even though I am getting stronger, horses still felt like something that I had to accept were a part of my past.

So I pushed my love of horses and my need to have them in my life far away. I locked it up along with a few of the other things that cancer has taken away from me. It fell into the category of “things I can’t think or talk about too much because if I do, I’ll start crying and won’t be able to stop.” I didn’t tell anyone, not even Evan, that I felt like I would never be around horses again. I just stuffed the feeling down and pushed on.

becky and java2And then I went to this retreat, and I touched a horse named Java’s soft nose, and I cried and cried. The tears surprised me. I had pushed my grief so far down that I hadn’t truly realized it was there. But then I felt his warm breath on my hand, and I could finally let go of the fear that I’d never connect with a horse again. Of all the fears I have, of all the losses that shred my heart to pieces, this one – this one I could let go of.

Later that day, I even rode! Followed by a trail ride the next morning on my new four legged love, Java. Riding through the long green grass, the vast silence only interrupted by the flow of the river, I felt like me again.

becky riding java

The non-profit that organizes the retreat was honored this year as part of the Mass General Cancer Center’s The One Hundred, so there was a film crew out there with us making a short documentary about our experience. You can see the film here. It’s beautifully made, and allows you to see what I cannot adequately describe (and I’m in it!).

Since being home, things have been a little less sparkly. My headaches and nausea are amping up, which makes me worry and just plain sucks. The headaches yell for attention; another part of me focuses on trying to NOT focus on the pain; the fatigue threatens to shut me down completely, and I do my best to fight back, to push through. I saw my neurologist last week and we are increasing my dose of one of my medications to see if that helps. If not, then it’s on to another spinal tap and/or doing my next brain MRI sooner than planned. I have one scheduled in a couple of weeks, and given my symptoms, I am straight up terrified. We shall see.

That’s not to say that since being home from Montana my days have been all bad, though. Far from it. I’ve been going swimming with Evan, Zoe, and Sophie, and I love it. On Monday, as Zoe sat on my lap in the kid’s pool, the water warm and comforting against our bare skin, the beauty of the moment enveloped my mind like a soft blanket, quieting down the chatter of pain and quelling the constant fatigue, until there was nothing left to focus on except my little love and the two of us giggling about pink elephants.

It was just about as perfect as watching Java sigh with pleasure as I scratched his neck, the soft breeze carrying some of my grief away into that big beautiful Montana sky.

It’s easy for cancer related crap to almost entirely take over my mind. But every now and then, the sweetness of life becomes every bit as all consuming as the cancer can be.

The beauty of life can take over, too, and when it does, it’s magic.

 

Medical Update + the Film (bare)!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so there’s a lot to catch up on. First, the medical.

We have spent the past few weeks going to see specialist after specialist trying to get some guidance on this possible leptomeningeal metastasis situation. One doc says yes, I have it and need treatment now, then the next says I shouldn’t treat without more conclusive evidence (either on MRI or spinal tap) because this treatment is not a walk in the park. And on and on until my head is spinning with all the conflicting opinions from a lot of really, really smart people who all know what they are talking about. It’s just that this is a very unclear situation, and no one knows quite what to do.

Then I had another brain MRI which was stable. While stable is good, the MRI’s have also been entirely unhelpful in figuring this out. So, I had yet another spinal tap to see if we could catch any cancer cells floating around in my spinal fluid. It was by far the hardest spinal tap I’ve had. The doc said that because of the number of times I’ve been poked in the back with needles, I have some scar tissue building up back there which made it difficult for her to access my spinal fluid. It took a couple of different attempts and a lot of poking around with the needle, which was pretty painful. In the end, the cytology came back negative again. The chance of catching lepto disease on spinal tap is basically 50/50, so a negative doesn’t tell us much.

Given all that, the consensus right now is to hold off on treatment. If/when we get more conclusive evidence, we’ll treat.

In the meantime, I continue with my usual systemic treatments, and I’m still living with constant headaches, nausea, monstrous fatigue, blurry vision, double vision in my periphery, and balance issues.

A few other options/hypotheses have been suggested with the aim of reducing these symptoms, but none of them are great. 1) get a shunt that drains cerebrospinal fluid into my abdomen, thus relieving pressure in my brain. Not a small surgery, and also not guaranteed to help. 2) go back into my craniotomy site and surgically remove the skin graft that they put in to recreate the lining of my brain, in case I’m having an inflammatory reaction to it. The odds of this helping are discouragingly low. 3) there’s a chance that much of this is due to the brain radiation that I received. If that’s the case, it could be a year before it gets better. The radiation oncologist, however, disagrees with this hypothesis. All the back and forth and conflicting opinions are kind of maddening.

So, because I don’t want to go through another big procedure when it might not even help me, I am continuing to just wait things out and live with the symptoms.

I was feeling pretty down and hopeless after all that. I felt like we had exhausted all of our options, we’d seen all the doctors we could reasonably see, and we still didn’t have any satisfying answers or solutions. I just wanted someone to help me feel better, and the realization that I just have to put up with feeling like this every day was hard to swallow. It still is.

That said, two big things have happened over the past few weeks that seriously lifted my spirits.

1) The METAvivor fundraiser was a HUGE success! The Michaels on Main auction raised over $11k, bringing total fundraising efforts to date to over $26k. The support that we received from our community in raising this money was astounding. It meant so much, and I am forever grateful. It truly gives me hope that things might get better for those of us living with MBC.

2) I went to LA last weekend and watched a story that I wrote about facing breast cancer at 25 get turned into a short film, bare, by the incredibly talented Kerith Lemon.

becky kerith and actresses

I actually got really, really sick the wmatt becky erin film seteek before and almost didn’t make it down to LA at all. On top of the mother of all viruses, my infusion got pushed back a day, which meant I would have to travel the day after treatment. But, after many doctors appointments and lots of sleep, my fever finally came down and my [very nice] parents drove me the 6.5 hrs to LA the morning after my infusion. Very grateful for them. I spent most of the drive laying down on the back seat and arrived a little worse for the wear, but I made it!! My brother and his girlfriend live in Santa Monica, so luckily I could stay with them. It was great to spend some quality time with them (and their dog, Buddy).

bare equipmentOn Friday I hopped in my very first Uber and headed over to the set to meet everyone. I have no idea what I was expecting, but I was blown away when I got there. Everything was so professional! We had the hair and make up room, all the lighting rigged up, lots of very expensive camera equipment, a full crew – I was on a real film set. For a film that I helped write, based on a story that I wrote. This was really happening. I also met all the actresses, who were lovely people. In fact, everyone there was lovely.

Then I got to see all that lighting and equipment in action on Saturday when we started filming, and oh my god it was so cool. I don’t want to give too much away before the film is released, but let’s just say that Kerith had found a way to make exactly what she described to me when she first pitched this project happen, and it was so awesome to see it come to life. I have always trusted Kerith with this project, with my story, but this weekend made me realize just how lucky I am to have her direct this.

becky and kerith on setSaturday we mostly filmed Aurora Perrineau‘s scenes, who plays the character based on me, and good. lord. This girl is talented. Kerith and I, along with the crew, were outside the room watching on a screen and listening to the dialogue on headsets, and all I kept thinking as I watched her on the screen was – yes. We chose the right girl for this part. She nailed it.

It was totally surreal watching her act out scenes that I had been through in real life, but for the most part I was able to mentally keep some distance between her performance and my real life. Until Sunday. She really got me on Sunday.

becky and kerith hugWe filmed some emotional scenes with Aurora and the other actresses, who, for the record, are also extremely talented, and these scenes are the ones that I often think about in my real life. It was a day 7 years ago when all of this breast cancer crap was just beginning, and I was just starting to accept what was happening. I was also filled with fear – fear about what would happen to me, how I would look, who I would become, if I would live at all. And here it was being acted out in front of me, in a very realistic way. Part of me wanted to sob (but I didn’t want to be that girl sobbing on the film set, so I held back), part of me felt numb to it – it was all just so surreal – and part of me felt damn proud of myself. Proud that I had created something worthy of all these people coming together and working really freakin hard to turn it into this beautiful film; proud of how far I have come since that day 7 years ago when I wondered if I would ever feel beautiful again, if I would ever know what it meant to be loved by a man, if I’d have the strength to get through all that was to come. Proud that I found the strength, that I continue to find it, every day. Proud that even when I feel sick, I get up, push through, and have the experiences that mean everything.

I also learned one very important thing this weekend. I could never be an actress, because I sweat way too much. Seriously! It was about a thousand degrees on set and the actresses all sat there looking stunning, while I’m standing there sweating through my dress. I am much better suited to writing in an air conditioned room.

The heat aside, the whole weekend was an experience that I will treasure. Stay tuned – the film is going to be amazing!

becky and kerith on set hugging

Please Join Us for a Fun METAvivor Fundraiser on May 7th in Soquel!

Please join us on May 7th for a fun METAvivor fundraiser! METAvivor dedicates 100% of their donations and fundraiser proceeds to stage 4 metastatic breast cancer research.

This fundraiser will be held at Michael’s on Main in Soquel (near Santa Cruz) from 12pm-5pm. There will be music from Kenny Hill and Carolyn Sills Combo and a silent auction.

Please consider supporting METAvivor by supporting our silent auction. There will be some amazing items there! Stop by and bid, enjoy music, no-host cocktails & grab lunch! Kids welcome. We will even have face painting!

Can you donate an item/service or volunteer? Contact: Kathleen Chasey, kathleen@capitoladesign.com

If you can’t make the event, you can donate directly to METAvivor here.

More info on Facebook: http://bit.do/beckyd

Learn more about METAvivor here.

May 7 METAvivor fundraiser flyer