Monday, October 26, 2009

Rachel Morrison, CA

post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials or post-nominal titles, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. an individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters. the order in which these are listed after a name is based on the order of precedence and category of the order. I'm pretty sure that "CA" qualifies as an honour and I'm pretty sure it's going on my business card. Rachel Morrison, Cancer Assassin.

my PET/CT scan showed great results, although it took my doctors a while to convince me of that. my cancer was pretty much gone. although the tumors may not ever completely disappear, the cancer seems to have. i say seems to because they cannot be 100% completely certain. the core of the larger tumors don't receive oxygen and therefore are not sensitive to chemo, microscopic activity doesn't necessarily show up on the scan, and cancer cells are supposed to light up in the scan but apparently so do bone marrow sites...hence my need to be convinced. in addition, due to the "bulkiness" of my cancer, i am high risk for recurrence. radiation was pretty much inevitable.

i had my "mapping" session where they scan and xray and re-scan to make sure they pinpoint the exact targets to nuke. they had out all sorts of pens and markers which they drew all over me. i was then given four little tattoos that just look like freckles...but they are tattoos nonetheless and i officially now have six. after the mapping session, they gave me a bunch of alcohol pads to wipe the marker off where they had drawn. when i looked in the mirror, i saw that they had drawn, what appeared to me, the state of florida on my chest. i'm gonna take it as a sign and book a flight to miami.

the outer banks was our most recent stop on the tour. we spent an entire week at the beach where we saw wild horses, hung out with great friends, and celebrated being done with chemo. it felt so good to not have to go into the cancer center, not even to get my labs drawn. a whole consecutive week of life without cancer.

bailey experienced the ocean for the first time. he chased sea gulls and ran into the waves...really, he jumped over them, seeing as they were a massive 4 inches high...which is pretty much the equivalent of a tsunami to a real dog.

since the outer banks, we have taken a break from the tour. other than going to long island or to virginia to my parents' house, we've just been staying local. seth taught us how to play with his air soft guns. the last time we visited, he let joey and i just shoot at him from the 2nd floor balcony. this time, i was cancer free and fair game. seth is an amazing shooter and needless to say, i sustained multiple shots to my backside as i tried to retreat to the house to take cover. getting shot with those things hurt like hell and i have the welts to prove it. seth, you better watch out. i'm coming back for revenge...and this time i'm bringing full body armor.

chemo/fat detox began the monday after we got back from the outer banks. it was 6 weeks of NO meat, dairy, white flour, sugar, fried foods, processed foods, etc....on top of that, i did pilates 2x a week, yoga 2x a week, circuit training once a week, and cardio 5x per week. getting back into my workouts was extremely hard and i was disgusted at my level of fitness. i realized that my body had aged 10 years over the past 6 months and it was going to take a lot more effort and dedication than i had anticipated. it finally hit me why so many people give up...because it's freakin' hard! by the end of the week, i am beyond exhausted and tempted to join the quitters. but, i know that i can't. chemo was my job for 6 months and now getting healthy and back in shape is my new job.
on friday night, we celebrated the end of chemo/fat detox with lindsey (who is doing the detox with me) and john at bistro du coin in dupont. i had forgotten that cheese could taste so good. we decided to take the weekend off and by sunday, i couldn't wait to be back on the regimen. so, yesterday kicked off phase 2 of the defatification which will go six more weeks. it's amazing how good you can feel when you eat healthy and exercise. i read this in a Fitness Rx magazine the other day and think it's worth passing along: "66 percent of women are overweight and most will remain that way b/c
they don't have the willpower or knowledge to lose bodyfat. That's understandable because we live in a no-fault society that makes it easy not to take responsibility for anything. Its painless to blame cellulite and an expanding dress size on genetics, time restraints, stress, family, or recent pregnancy. Excess fat is not inevitable-millions of women face challenges, yet manage to stay/get lean and fit." i am using this quote to hopefully inspire anyone out there who could use a little push and encouragement. anyone can do just have to commit. my internal motto is that there's no such thing as "trying" just have to do it.

i can't believe that it's almost november. this year has truly been the most bizarre time in my life. i have to stop and think "what day is today" ...and i don't mean date, i mean day. i wake up and think, is today yoga or pilates? radiation is everyday at 2.30, so i just try to keep track of when saturday is coming, that way i don't show up to radiation when they're closed. my hair, without gel, is starting to resemble the jew-fro. my body is covered in scars. chemo ruined my skin and i can't even wash my clothes in normal detergent anymore without breaking out into a full body rash (learned that one the hard way). my vision is blurry. my lung capacity is diminished. my body is still in menopause. yes, it's been quite the year. but, i have learned more during this year than most do in a lifetime. and i have 2 post-nominal letters to add after my name...ohhh....AND the yanks are going to the world series!! it doesn't get much better than that.

In this crazy world, there's an enormous distinction between good times and bad, between sorrow and joy. But in the eyes of God, they're never separated. Where there is pain, there is healing. Where there is mourning, there is dancing. Where there is poverty, there is the kingdom. - Henri Nouwen


  1. I love this post and I love you!! Soo....1st things first THANK YOU for the part about getting fit/healthy!! I am in desperate need to get back into some kind of regimen and I have been using the crutch of "I am just not motivated" said what I needed to hear. I would love to keep in touch with you and have you as an accountability partner (email/facebook) so that I actually use your advice. Sometimes, it is hard to think that I have a degree in Exercise would think I would be out there trying to inspire people like yourself. BUT since I stinking it up at actually trying to inspire myself....I think that is in order first. 2nd! I am sooooo happy that you are on the was so good to see you and Joe on your way through the other weekend and to be able to look at you and know things are looking up!!!! We love you guys and will continue to pray for you! <3 -Heather

  2. Rachel, Your Mom told me of the GREAT news, so I got on your blog to read what you are thinking. :) We are so thankful for the healing that is going on in your body and we continue to pray for you. Keep fighting, keep living your life to the fullest.... What an inspiration you are ! Love Brenda

  3. hurrrrrrrrrrrrgh!! MOTIVATION! you've just motivated me to go work my butt off at the gym :) xxx