Friday, February 27, 2009

Christina's Yoga Schedule - Updated 2009

5 p.m. - Gentle Yoga - Queen's Harbour
6:30 p.m. - Multi-Level Yoga - First Christian Church of the Beaches, NB (open to public)
9-10:15 a.m. - Gentle Yoga - Mindful Motion Yoga (open to public)
9-10 a.m. - Walk-n-Weights-n-Yoga - Queen's Harbour
10:15 a.m. - Gentle Yoga - Queen's Harbour
6-7:30 p.m. - Mind-Body Yoga, Community Ed - Fletcher High School
9:45-10:45 a.m. - Walk-n-Yoga - Queen's Harbour
5-6 p.m. - Beginner's Yoga - First Christian Church of the Beaches, NB (open to public)
6:00 p.m. - Multi-Level Yoga - First Christian Church of the Beaches, NB (open to public)
10:15 a.m. - Gentle Yoga - Queen's Harbour
5:30-6:45 p.m. - Gentle Yoga - Mindful Motion Yoga

Also, Free Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors - 2nd Thursday of each month -
11:30-12:30 at Mindful Motion Yoga
Contact Christina for more information:

Monday, February 23, 2009

A long - but condensed version of the last two and a half years!!

It has been a long time since I posted on my blog in July of 2006. So much has happened since then in so many ways - I don't really know how to get it all in! But, I will give it a shot......

After my last chemo in May of 2006, I was cancer free until May of 2007 when they found a recurrence on my PET scan in my left axillary. I had surgery then to remove the lymph nodes and then upon recovery started radiation. It wasn't bad - and I even started teaching water aerobics at the end of treatment - so, that was cool!!

About a month after finishing radiation, I started on chemo again - this time Gemzar and it was pretty easy to take with few side effects and I even kept my hair. However, during treatment - I was teaching all of my yoga classes and doing my water aerobics and I noticed some pain and tightness in my left shoulder. We did an MRI - but, it just showed a lot of swelling and fluid....I knew that I probably had lymphedema. So, I started treatment for that - but, things kept getting worse. I thought I had injured or torn a muscle in my chest or shoulder - it was extremely painful - and nothing would help.

One day after searching the internet, I found a study of some other people with pain like mine who had radiation and Gemzar and realized that I was experiencing this rare form of radiation recall. That meant that every time I got chemo (every 2 weeks?), it was like getting radiation all over again - burning from the inside made perfect since and the people in the study had all the same symptoms as, I took the info in to show my doctor and we decided to take me off of the chemo. I was so happy - and with time, the pain subsided.

In February of 2008, I had another PET scan and this showed the cancer back - in the lymph nodes again and this time in my lungs. So, we made an appointment for surgery to put a port-0-cath in to administer the chemo. I had fought this port the first time around - but, knew that with all of my veins shot in my right arm and lymphedema affecting my left arm - I better give the port a chance and it has been a lifesaver and a true painsaver!! Thank goodness!!

The chemo regimen started in March and I was taking Avastin - a newly approved drug by the FDA for breast cancer - and Abraxane (a gentler Taxane - wrapped in albumin making it easier to take with less side effects). I went in every week for the Abraxane and had the Avastin every third week. My next PET scan was two months later and showed great results - my cancer was resolved!!

I kept my hair which was unheard of - and went on a dream vacation with Robin and her family and friends to the Mediterranean during treatment. Greg got home right before the trip and off we went on an amazing adventure. This was in June.

I continued on with the chemo for two more cycles and with another clear PET scan in August - I stopped the chemo to see if we had beat it!

All was great until the end of October when I started to notice my right hand felt heavy and that I wasn't able to type or write very well. After a couple of weeks, I was convinced to call my oncologist and was whisked in for an MRI which showed a brain tumor. The breast cancer had metastisized to my brain - which I guess is fairly common with mets!?

Greg was on deployment at the time and after getting word to his ship - he was sent home to be with me. I was going to try to go it on my own and with the help of friends - but, I was so happy he was here!! I went in for Gamma Knife surgery/radiation on November 20th and they found 3 other small tumors in the brain. They were able to radiate the larger one on the left side that affected my right side and the smaller ones. We hoped for the best!!! This procedure was so amazing and I had an MRI a month later that showed the larger tumor shrunk by 50 percent and the smaller ones were gone!! I just had another MRI in February and the tumor has now shrunk by at least 80 percent. It is truly amazing and wonderful - that is for sure!!

But, I had a PET scan in December, right after the first follow-up brain MRI - and the news wasn't as good. The cancer had returned in my lymph nodes in the subcarinal and hilar regions on the left side and in the axillary again. So, I started chemo again on the 29th. Since the Abraxane and Avastin worked well the last time - we stuck with it. But, we switched to a different protocol - this time doing both medicines every 21 days.

So, I have had three cycles now - and have been shown how different doses can really change how it can affect us. This time I lost my hair after the first cycle (and the last time I didn't lose it until I finished the chemo - after at least 5 months!) and have had other side effects earlier too. But, I just hope this means it is kicking the cancer harder too!!

I just got back my latest PET scan results (2/23) and a few of the areas have been resolved - but, two of the areas are still there.....smaller - but, still there. So, we will continue on the chemo and hope that it keeps kicking butt!!

Greg and my family and friends have been a huge help through all of this, as always. It has been amazing. We unfortunately lost our dear dalmation - Buster - my "son" of almost 17 years in December of 2008. It was truly heartbreaking and I miss him every day. I know that he is having fun frolicking around and hopefully eating as much chocolate as he can!!

Some good news to counter all of that stuff was that Greg was able to get commissioned as an officer right here at home. He was able to put together an amazing ceremony right here at Mayport and family and friends were able to be a part of it all!! And, we had a wonderful reception at the Marriott on the ocean afterwords (many thanks to Ben!) to celebrate his incredible accomplishment!! We were all so happy to be a part of that and we are all so proud of him!!

He finished his school in Rhode Island in February and is back here - homeported in Mayport for another year while we continue to fight the big C - I am glad he is here and that he is an Ensign now!!!

My yoga is going great and my group of yogis and yoginis is growing every day!! I met an amazing new friend - Terri Morrison - who invited me to teach my Yoga for Breast Cancer at her new studio in August - and I started in September. Then I had the honor to teach a couple of gentle yoga classes at her studio - and have just loved being a part of it all!! She has become a very special part of my life! You can check out her studio at

With her help, I started back on the Lila's Healing Retreats and had one at her studio in January of 2009 and it was a wonderful success - and I just loved every minute of it!! I am planning another one for April 5, 2009 at Renaissance Healing Center out at the beach. You can check out my website for more info -

So, with the two new classes at Mindful Motion Yoga and two new classes with Sal at Queen's Harbour - I have 11 yoga classes a week - it is amazing and I feel really great!!

I will go ahead and post this and promise to keep this blog up to date a little bit more - but, want to say lots of love and thanks to my friend Pam for all of her help in November - and always. A big thank you to all of my friends for the love and support they surrounded me with - I was completely touched by so many - Pam and Allan, Evelyn and Henry, Diana and Mike, Les and Teri my far away friends Billy and Mesa and Emily and their families, Deb and Angie, my parents and my sister and her family, my husband's family - my yogi friends - Jan, June, Melissa, Maria, Vivian, Connie, Russ, Mary, Peggy and SO, SO many more - I have to stop here because the names will go on and on - but everyone is so amazing and incredible in their support for me.....gosh, I cannot believe how truly blessed I am!! Thank you to all of you - lots of love!!