Holly Siverling Fundraiser
In February 2021, Holly went to the doctors for a regular physical and left with a clean bill of health, bloodwork looked great and there was zero reason for concerns. Within six weeks of that visit Holly noticed a few lumps in her left breast, they were growing rapidly, and she knew something wasn’t right.
On April 20th, 2021, Holly received biopsy results that confirmed breast cancer. Holly’s original diagnosis was HER2 (Estrogen and Progesterone negative) metastatic breast cancer but biopsy’s from an additional mass has revealed that she has a second cancer, ER and PR positive breast cancer (HER2 negative). An MRI on her back was returned with the all clear! After consultation with the oncologist the cancer is below her chest wall which makes it stage 4, however the cancer is confirmed to be confined to her lymph nodes and will be treated as stage 3.
Chemo started May 13th, 2021!
May 12, 2021 - Ready or not!
Since Anne is driving here to be with me I thought I’d write my own update! Let’s be honest, I’m not as great of writer/blogger as Anne but I’ll get the update out there for everyone.
Before I give the update I must say how thankful, grateful, and blessed I am for the support I have. I do apologize I haven’t been able get back to everyone like I want to, and usually would. I am on complete overload with information, appointments, and my emotions! I don’t know how anyone can do this alone, it is impossible, which is why I am SO DANG THANKFUL! I’m trying my best to update everyone as I can, but please realize how hard this is for me to talk about and tell everyone. It’s pretty depressing which is why I am SO thankful for the support system I have!
Okay okay okay, now to what everyone wants to know…
I had an additional biopsy done on Friday, and an MRI for my back was completed today. The MRI came back perfect, no concerns there! The biopsy on Friday showed cancer in the other mass. Here’s the kicker… I have an additional type of cancer. So the first mass that I was originally diagnosed with HER2 positive cancer (ER and PR negative) and now I have Estrogen and Progesterone positive breast cancer (HER2 Negative) as well. I didn’t realize there were so many types of breast cancer but you learn a lot when you have to.
I went over the PET scan with my Oncologist today and discussed the different sites where cancer was present. The newest diagnosis is below the chest wall which makes it stage 4 cancer. However, it hasn’t spread and is still confined in my lymph nodes so it will be treated as stage 3 cancer. They will really target the additional area with radiation after surgery.
I still haven’t had a port placed, but chemo needs to start so I am starting tomorrow without it. I will get a port placed between rounds of chemo! I’m nervous and scared but excited to get going so this nightmare can be over with!
Let the chemo begin, wish me luck ❤️
May 14, 2021 - First Day of Chemo
From Holly’s sister:
Holly started treatment yesterday, round 1 is in the books!
Holly will need a total of six rounds of this type of chemo and will receive it once every 21 days. Holly received yesterdays infusion through an IV but a port will be placed before the next round.
I wish I could tell you it was all sunshine and rainbows but it started out a bit rough (a lot of misinformation, they couldn’t find her vein and you all know how it feels to get poked multiple times and our original room only had a curtain which was directly across from all the small talk coming from the nurse’s station) but attitude and advocacy helped the momentum. Can I just remind you how resilient Holly is, of course there was tears but there was also a lot of brush offs and roll with its, you don’t realize how petty life’s problems are until your facing the biggest battles.
So if you can do one thing to recognize Holly today, don’t wait for the big problems to appreciate it all. Let’s be aware of our pettiness and priorities, life is beautiful even when it doesn’t go as we plan and in reality we all take it WAY to seriously!
Here is a video of our Hellraiser’s first day!
May 20, 2021 - Cycle one - 1 week post chemo recap!
Ready for my week one recap?! The things you learn as your body fights..
If I had to fart, I wouldn’t trust it.
Tastebuds feel like they were burned off.
Everyone looks good, blurry vision is a thing!
I can’t drink enough to moisturize my mouth
Acid reflux is like real acid- even tastes like acid if I knew what acid tastes like
My voice is harsh and hurts to talk
My bones feel like they are going to throb right out of my skin
Imodium, pedilyte, tums, Claritin, Tylenol, cortisone, and omeprazole have become my best friends.
All in all, I get through every day and do my best and that’s all I can ask for. I’m so happy round one is behind us. I’m going to do everything I can to enjoy the next two weeks of round one cycle with this new chemo fighting body!
June 1, 2021 - Happy June!
Its almost time for round 2! On Thursday I will have my second round of chemotherapy. Tomorrow I will get the port placed which I am really excited about so I don’t have to be poked all the time!
I kind of understand the cycles between the rounds and have a better understanding for my body and the side effects during this process. I have good days and bad days, I really never know what I am going to get until I get up and start my day. I have been doing my best to just look at the next step and stop looking at the entire staircase.
I am honestly blown away by everyones generosity, love, and support. I have had so many people reach out, send cards, presents, and write the sweetest, most sincere things. I say this all the time and I am going to continue to say it.. I don’t know how anyone can do this alone which is why I am SO BLESSED to have all the support I do!!
A couple of things that have happened since my lasts update…
My hair is gonnnnnnneeee (I’ve struggled really hard with this)
Im on another new medication for my skin rashes and acne (thank goodness, this didn’t help with my appearance as I am already self conscience about the hair!)
I still wouldn’t trust a fart
My tastebuds came back! and I don’t gag on every smell my stomach doesn’t agree with 🙂
The last and most important thing that has happened is what my friend, Kim, has done. She decided to shave her head along with me if she raised a certain amount of money. Let me tell you, she raised that amount and so much more! She was stuck in California due to some weather issues so she had her friends shave it as we watched over Facebook live. I kept telling Kim I feel bad for her hair and think she is crazy for doing this. She really did this for me and I am forever grateful for her crazy idea as the money donated will really help me over the next 18 months between all the chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries. THANK YOU KIM!
Thats all for now, see after round 2 ✌
June 5, 2021 - Peace Out Hair
One more from Anne today.
Holly shaved her head on May 22, 2021. It was 10 days post chemo and on that day her hair was falling out with every brush or even touch to her head. There was a lot of emotion behind this process and putting this short clip together brought all those feelings right back, so I procrastinated and avoided but finally here it is a small glimpse from that evening.
I know a lot of people say, ‘it’s just hair’ but it is so much more. For Holly that hair is a comfortable part of her life. Washing, brushing, styling, purchasing products, haircuts, coloring and most importantly doing Milo’s hair in tandem as she does her own every morning. It’s just hair but she looooved her hair.
I know, I know, Holly is so much more than her hair and I cannot argue with that but let’s just get to the other obvious reality, no hair identifies and labels her as sick. She can no longer hide behind those luscious locks; she is now exposed to her reality. I might get in trouble for sharing this but here I go 🤞, the day after she shaved her head, she posted her selfie on Facebook it was in hopes it would prepare the world for the change and in result, the reactions would be less shocking for those who see her for the first time. It wasn’t because she was comfortable or even liked it but she was owning her reality and being brave. She has been doing a lot of both these days.
Now can we all just agree that Holly rocks the new style incredibly well ❤️.
PS. No one worry about Milo, his routine hasn’t changed he still gets his hair done every morning.
June 5, 2021 - Round 2 is in the books!
Hey all, Anne here. It’s been a while since I posted, so no better time than to say hello and give you an update on round 2!
Two down, four to go!
Round 2 was completed on June 3, 2021! The port was placed on Wednesday and made the process a little easier! Our mom joined Holly for this round and one of the great staff gave Holly a demo on scarf tying, Holly can now wrap herself a flower and second basic design 😊. Per my mom, they watched a mother & daughter home design show and ate some snacks that Holly packed, Holly took a little nap (that Benadryl is no joke) and while Holly napped our mom found a little sunshine where the Chaplin also found my mom and offered her the Miraculous Medal because she thought she could use it. The day went about as well as any chemo treatment can go.
One thing Holly has learned is that the chemo peaks about 4-8 days after treatment, if you ‘re the praying type please consider praying for her strength and comfort in the upcoming days and if you’re the good vibes type, start sending them all her way!
Here’s a quick video on Holly’s second treatment.
June 20, 2021 - Chemo Round 2 Update!
I’m a little behind on wanting to update everyone on round two, I apologize!
Its safe to say you have good days and you have bad days but I am thankful for all the days 🙃
Round two hit me a little different than round one and I am so thankful for that! I wasn’t as sick, my symptoms were a little more manageable due to having the right medications, sickness came and went a little easier.
My take aways from round two:
- Everyday is a blessing
- Hair is just hair (its the not having a choice I struggle with most) – butttt not shaving my legs is really enjoyable. Plus, everyday is a new hair day (see pictures below ❤️)
- Still, never trust a fart (stomach issues aren’t fun)
- Blurry vision seems to stay longer on days I need to see clearly
- migraine medication is a lifesaver!
- Vaseline and my nose are best friends – I have a tub that is used just for my nose, it really helps with nose bleeds and the sores
- There is a medication for every “problem” I encounter and really just need to be proactive and know my body
- My heart has a mind of its own and is really working hard. My resting heart rate is now 85-90. Two months ago it was 55-60. Its crazy to think how strong my heart is and how thankful I am for it!
I am doing my best to stay as positive as I can on this journey and am so thankful for all the support I have helping me with that.
We are almost to round 3 (on 6/24) and that’s my half way point for the hard chemotherapy! My motto has been to look at the next step and not the entire stair case! I can’t wait for the next step, my halfway point with chemo 🙂
June 25, 2021 - Chemo #3
Round 3 is in the books ✅
These appoint seem to get easier with time as I become more familiar with them. My sister joined me this weekend and is still here which is always nice to have her around. 😍
I have high hopes for round 3 and hope the chemo drain stays away 😜
Sissy made another cute video, enjoy!
July 17, 2021 - what's next
I’m a little behind in updating 😏 . Sometimes I just don’t like talking about it, its like if I don’t talk about it doesn’t happen, right? Like when I go to a store bald, if I don’t look at anyone it means they aren’t looking at me and my bald head, right? 😋
Anywaaaayyysss.. On to what I should have updated weeks ago, round 3 updates:
Same story different round, symptoms get a little worse and my fatigue is in full effect. A work day is enough of a day for me. If I’m not working you’ll find me at home loving my dogs, I feel like its all the energy I have left in me which is pretty perfect!
I wanted to talk about one more thing on this journal that I get asked a lot about..what’s next? what happens after Chemo? Honestly, I do not know exactly. It all depends, depends on how my body responded to this chemo treatment (TCHP is what they call the combination of chemo medications I am getting).
I know surgery is what is next after Chemo. My last treatment is the end of August. I’ll have more scans to see how I have progressed, surgery will hopefully get the remaining cancer out of my body. If not, they will switch Chemo plans and I will be hit with a harder chemo for a while. Radiation is the mix of all this, a lighter chemo for a year as well as a pill form of chemo for 5 years, and reconstructive surgery 9 to 12 months after radiation.
I know it’s not an answer we all want to hear, we all want a plan and a definite idea. Unfortunately, Cancer has a mind of its own and the only thing I can do is take the next step and not focus on the entire staircase. So next time someone asks me what’s next, I just say 15 months left. I gave myself an estimate based on radiation, chemo, and reconstructive surgery (if all goes as what’s currently planned) of 17 months. We are down two months so only 15 left of the tough stuff!
Thank you all for continued support, love, and encouragement! I appreciate every one of the little notes, cards, comments, visits, etc. I am a little behind on my Thank you cards so don’t think I’m not appreciative, I AM BEYOND BELIEF!
July 15, 2021 - Chemo #4
Well Holly caught you up through round 3 but she forgot to mention how she crushed round 4!
Round 4 was on Thursday and our mom joined her for the day. Holly provided a summary of round 3 and the high-level explanation of what’s to come in her what’s next? post from earlier but enjoy this quick video of Round 4 and then you really are all caught up 😍!
Okay well that’s not all, one more important matter to address! I too want to reiterate how grateful we are for all of you who continue to show up in all the big and little ways, your support is so encouraging and right now that is everything to Holly and our family, so thank you!
Thank you for being a support to Holly, as she navigates these uneasy times we have created different ways to support her but please know that all the encouragement and positive words you have been providing her is really the best gift of them all!