Laurie Flumefreddo – {Love, Laugh, Give and Forgive…Daily}

 

 

 

Hello!

Welcome to another #metsmonday and a #voicesofMBC story.  This is a very busy week on our website, as well in the metastatic community as a whole.  As you probably already know, tomorrow is the one day during pinktober that they actually acknowledge us with metastatic disease.  Which really is ridiculous in my opinion…..however, I believe that this year, things are going to take a turn as a group of men, and women {MET UP} passionate about our cause will take to the states capital and stage a “DIE IN” on the west lawn.  I was honored to be a part of the very first one in Philadelphia back in April.  It was powerful.  I will be posting about it on our voicesofMBC Facebook page, so be sure to check that out.  And here on the blog, we will be sharing a mets story every.single.day. this week.  Yep, it is going to be a full week and I hope you will check in daily.

But now….on to today’s inspirational woman.

Today’s story comes from Laurie Flumefreddo.  I love her positive outlook on life, her contagious smile and she rocks the mohawk.  Read on.

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Can you share with our readers what your life was like before you were diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and how you got to the stage IV diagnosis?

Life before cancer wasn’t perfect, but it was good. It was the year 2006, I was 31yrs old. Working as a hairstylist and being a mom/stepmom to our 8,3, and 14 yr old. Basically, just living life. My breasts were fairly small after nursing both of my babies, so I was fortunate enough to find a lump. A mammogram led to an ultrasound, which led to scans, biopsies & surgeries. I was diagnosed with Stage1 non-invasive ductal carcinoma, Her2+/Er-. I did a year of chemo and was clear. Or as the professionals call it, CURED.

What is your official diagnosis. Tell us about your current treatment .

On my 5th annual visit in April of 2011, I mentioned to my oncologist I was having a little hip discomfort. Nothing major. This of course led to more scans, biopsy, etc. Turns out I have Stage4 metastatic breast cancer to my bone, lungs, and liver. Then in 2013 it traveled to my brain, which I had absolutely no symptoms of. Luckily the surgery and radiation has kept that one away so far.
I have been on Adrimyacin/cytoxin taxol/Herceptin, TDM1, Xeloda, Tykerb, Taxotere, methotrexate/Cytoxin, taxol again, and currently on Herceptin/Perjeta/Tamoxifen. Not really sure I have any options left.

How has cancer changed your life?

Having cancer has definitely changed my life for the better. It really has been sort of a blessing. Although I know others have a hard time seeing it that way, it’s true. I have grown so strong in my faith and I would not change THAT for anything. But with that being said, I have no use for it anymore, so it can leave at any time.

How do you live your best life now, thriving with a metastatic diagnosis?

Having a close relationship with God is how I live life to the fullest. There is no other way in my opinion, He definitely holds the lead. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore either. And believe me, I was a big sweater! I try to find the silver lining no matter how bad things seem at the time. And by the grace of God, somehow I get through them!

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What makes you most happy, and where do you find the most joy?

The thing that makes me the most happy is without a doubt, the smile on my children’s faces. This was true before cancer too, but I guess it’s just easier now to notice the smiles when I’m not sweating the small stuff all the time.

People mean well, but often they don’t know what to say, so they say the WRONG thing. What is the worst thing someone has said to you?

 I have to say what bugs me most is when someone feels the need to tell me about someone else’s passing of cancer, especially the same kind I have. That is just about the worst thing you can say in my opinion. But the worst feeling I ever felt was when a dear friend (whom eventually passed from MBC) gave me a bumper sticker to place on my car that read “cancer sucks”. Then one day, I came out of a store and someone had written a note and placed it on my car window that said “yes, cancer might suck, but my child should not have to to learn the meaning of the word ‘sucks’ from you!”
Having grown so strong in my faith, I can now see the need to forgive that woman rather than hate, or be hurt by her..but at the time, I’ll be honest, I felt like hunting her down! Grrrr!

What did or do you find most helpful for those wanting to encourage or help you?

What really helped to encourage me when I was originally diagnosed was hearing about all the long term survivors and that everyone is unique and different.
Also, family/friends having fundraisers held on my behalf for financial assistance. It was so helpful because it was one thing I was able to worry a little less about while I was trying to get used to this whole new me.

Do you feel that those of us living with metastatic disease are overlooked by the pink tide of awareness for early stage cancer in October? 

I don’t necessarily feel we are overlooked, but maybe more like pushed to the side. Like we are lost causes and not worth much effort.

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What do you want people to know about YOU and your life living with this disease?

What I really wish people understood about me living with MBC, is just because I don’t look or act sick doesn’t mean I am not. When my treatments end, so will I. And I’ve been through quite a few. 

I will not let cancer rob me of any more good days I have left on this earth. Or will I waste time worrying or complaining when I could be making lasting memories with my family. Having cancer has made me appreciate literally every single second
of every single day that I am alive. I make sure to love, laugh, give, and forgive. Daily.

Do you think our cure is near? Or what one scientific advancement in the treatment of MBC do you find most encouraging.

Do I think a cure is near? Hmmm…I sure wish it was!
Just knowing that being Her2+ used to be a death sentence before Herceptin was approved, I have to say it was extremely encouraging to me to have Herceptin as an option when I was newly diagnosed. Thank God for scientific advancement, or I would not be here. And my children would have been motherless to the most crucial years of their life.

What is one “action” point everyone could do TODAY to promote awareness of MBC.

I believe social media has the power to spread awareness like wild fire, if only people would hit the SHARE button more often. And also to donate to organizations like metavivor.org rather than just SGK.

Do you have a favorite poem, song, quote, or work of art that you would like to share with us.

One of my favorite quotes is…
A true friend sees the pain in your eyes..
While others believe the smile on your face
Author Unknown

-And here’s an old favorite song of mine that makes me think of conquering cancer and just life’s battles all together. Gets me every time…
Up Where We Belong
By: Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warnes

Laurie, thank you for sharing your story with us today.  Keep thriving! Keep living and laughing……

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If you would like to share your story here on the voices of MBC blog, please fill out the form below and I will contact you with all of the information.

Until tomorrow.

Thrive on,

http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54493_48_8253F71E5257918785B253D8C2FE91CF

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