KELLY SCHWARTZ, CHELTENHAM, MD
HUSBAND AND SON 12; GOING TO THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS OF TENNESSEE, AUGUST 15, 2015. DIAGNOSED WITH STAGE 3A BREAST CANCER IN 2008, DIAGNOSED WITH STAGE 4 IN 2014, METASTASIZED TO LUNGS AND ON MAINTENANCE TREATMENTS EVERY 3 WEEKS INDEFINITELY. NOMINATED BY ANNE ARUNDEL MEDICAL CENTER DECESARIS CANCER INSTITUTE.
I would like to thank you, Ani Chang, Corey McCarthy, Nicole Maxwell, Kim Pillinger, Dan Hager, Janie Click, and finally, Jean and Terry Palin for making Leslie's Week 2015 happen. I know a lot of planning and marketing went on to make this such an amazing trip for us Stage 4 Moms and our families. Janie did an amazing job having the cabin ready for us with our groceries and her amazing, homemade, pecan pie! Jean and Terry Palin were the perfect welcoming committee! They were so warm, friendly, and personable! I really enjoyed meeting them!
This week was a chance to get away from my new reality. I have to do targeted treatment every 3 weeks by infusion for the rest of my life unless they come up with a better way or cure for us Stage 4 women. Every 3 months, I have the anxiety of getting CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis as well as an Echo of my heart. Waiting on the results is terrifying!
Being in the Smokey Mountains, in a beautiful cabin, the amazing scenery, and only the sound of nature, was just what I needed. I loved waking up early, feeding the fish in your pond, relaxing in the hot tub, and just taking in the beauty around me. It was just what my spirit needed. I escaped my fears and breathed in Hope!
My family got a break from my cancer as well. Not only does cancer affect me, but it affects them. We got to spend much needed time together. My favorite time was driving through the Smokey Mountains. We stopped for pictures of the scenery, walked across the rocks in the streams, went on a nature hike to a waterfall, and saw a bear. This was so special because my son, who turned 13 on this trip, is so connected to his computer and XBOX that he rarely gets out into nature. We also went to Dollywood, the Aquarium in Gatlinburg, and the Dixie Stampede. We really enjoyed these places! I think my son's favorite was the Aquarium because of the sharks! The Dixie Stampede had an awesome pre-show. They gave a special Birthday shout out to my son! The main show was a lot of fun to watch too. It was so nice to have this family time! At home, we mainly just see each other at the dinner table. I know this trip was just what all of us needed. Cancer was not the main topic for once!
What you all do makes such a difference. My hope is that more people will come on board and help you out to keep this wonderful program going. It does give us memories that outlast our cancer. It has a special place in our hearts and minds.
My sincerest thanks to each and every one of you!
Vacationing at Catch & Release in Shagbark!
Front Yard Fishing Pond and Backyard Creek
Our Saturday trip! Look what they had for us when we arrived !!!
Monday in the Great Smoky Mountains!
Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - Dollywood Day
The Gatlinburg Aquarium!
Shane's Birthday, Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 13 Years
Friday, August 14 at Dixie Stampede where the cast gave Shane a shout for his birthday!
Hi Sandra -
We are on our way home. Thank you again for this amazing week at your beautiful cabin. I am going to miss the peace & quiet, feeding the fish, and beautiful scenery!