Fighting for Life

Back in February, I met an amazing woman who gave me the opportunity to go to a Masquerade Ball for benefiting people living with metastatic breast cancer. There is no cure and some don’t like the word survivor linked to mets. I disagree! I think of myself as a survivor and a warrior. My battle has been a huge part of my life. I lived a long time not thinking about my disease and just living life when I wasn’t being scanned, poked or poisoned. Now my body and my soul has been worn down and as much as I fight it, cancer is on my mind more than it should be. I go back to Moffitt soon to find out what is happening in my body. I will update.

The Metsquerade was wonderful. All proceeds went to Metavivor.  I highly encourage you to donate to this charity. One thing that was asked of us was to write our obituaries. This was very hard for me to do. I chose to write more of a story and keep it positive and light.  Many may find it silly, but fighting depression my whole life I have thrived on seeing the bright side to everything. Life has thrown more at me that most can bear. I deal with it by being myself. I have few filters and don’t always follow other people’s rules and have no one to impress. People either love me or hate me and I’m ok with that. Here is what I wrote:

Gia’s favorite saying was, “I love life, just trying to survive it”, and called her life “Gia’s Bella Vita.” When she struggled with depression or negative feelings, she would find life quotes and place them on her art as a reminder that life is beautiful even with all it throws at you.
Gia is survived by her two stunning children, Zack, and Meg. In 1996 when Gia was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she was 31 years old. Her children were five and two. She vowed no one would raise her children but her. There were no signs or symptoms with her health, but her doctor suggested a mammogram because of family history. The test showed calcium deposits, and the radiologist suggested a biopsy. She was told 3 days later she had cancer over the phone. Since the cancer was spread throughout the breast tissue, the only option was a mastectomy and chemo. Her kids were her life and remained an active mom.

Gia is survived by her husband, Julian who stood by her side but also struggled with her illness. When her cancer metastasized in 2001, it changed them both and the marriage fell apart after 22 years together. After more chemo, Gia remained on Herceptin every 3 weeks for over 10 years. This IV keeps cancer dormant. On her first diagnosis, the HER2 gene was unknown. There was no follow up research on how long to stay on Herceptin. When it was suggested she stop, she obtained 2 more opinions. All agreed, so the IV’s stopped in 2013. After about 5 months fluid filled around her right implant. She saw several doctors, got no answers. She went to Moffitt for a needle biopsy. The cancer was back. The decision was to drain the fluid and replace the implants. When she woke, Gia found out the fluid was over a liter of chunky blood. The cancer was in the blood, attached to the implant, and inside of the capsule your body makes around the implant. The doctors said they had never seen anything like it. She remained optimistic about life.

Gia is survived by her two incredible granddaughters, Bella and Ariel. She had vowed to raise her children and now her daughter has given her two new treasures. As her kids were growing up, they escaped to Disney World quite often as you can tell by her granddaughter’s names. A few years ago Meg started dating Anthony who was a childhood friend. Gia knew his mother, Dawn, who was also metastatic breast cancer. She lost her short battle just as her own daughter gave birth to her grandson, and Meg and Anthony found out they were pregnant. It was tragic. Gia suffered from survivor guilt, which a very real emotion. The birth of the grandchildren brought Gia and her ex-husband together in friendship.

Gia is survived by her ex-boyfriend, Rich who after 13 years together decided to abandon her before the holidays in 2018. She had only just found out the cancer was spreading in her bones but embraced her new adventure as a single woman. She is survived by her loving parents, Arthur and Judith, who have been married for over 66 years and are both cancer survivors. By her three incredible sisters and their beautiful ever-growing families. Gia’s oldest sister, Veronica also a cancer survivor.

Her family thought it was odd when she discovered a company who convert your ashes into a biodegradable pot to plant a tree. She believes all life is connected and wanted to provide life back in her death. Fortunately, they agreed. Her favorite internet meme showed the company’s Living Urn along with a little boy pointing his finger saying,” You want haunted forests? Because that’s how you get haunted forests!” Gia loved her family, her many rescue pets, and friends with all her heart. She embraced nature’s beauty and now part of it. Gia’s Bella Vita lives on.

I’m so happy my ex-husband and I are close again. Even through our marathon divorce we always came together as parents. That was one thing we had always in tune.  

Is it mean to say what I said about my ex-boyfriend? I don’t think so. After five months apart we have kept in touch and I have been lied to and betrayed over and over again. He even moved back into my house, then told me he had been serious about another woman he had been dating and pretty much living with! We had been talking daily while he was with her for three months!  He was devastated she cheated on him and expected me to understand. He said, “now I know how it feels.” Ya think??? I tried to process it for almost a week, but couldn’t. It took my son to flip out angry to get him out of the house. I’ve given him more chances than he deserves. Even after that, we keep trying to work things out because for some reason I think I still love him even though he thinks only of himself and his own problems. As I head to Moffitt next week not knowing how bad my treatments may be, or if I will cheat death once again… he continues to hurt me. Today, I finally blocked all communication with him. I thought I had before but he used my contact box here on my blog. Now that is off limits too. The pain from his many betrayals has been harder on me than anything else I’ve dealt with in my life. Maybe it’s because he did it at a very vulnerable time in my life and I don’t want to go through this without a partner. I don’t know, but it has shaken my outlook on life and I have sunk deep into depression. At times I feel like I have lost my mind. I fight it and do come out of the darkness but it has been a new battle for me. I am choosing to go to Moffitt alone even though my family is fighting me not to. I can do this. I can find my strength again. I will find my strength again.

I am a survivor

Life is beautiful

Fight for it

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