Thursday, October 29, 2009


I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween. Be Safe out there!!

Interesting Renewals

I have just been drained over the last month. I guess we don't always know how we are going to feel at any time during the day or week. I try Lord knows to have a positive attitude, to work towards my goals, and try to make it day by day like everyone else.
I have meaning for many days to get together with my grandma. She had some items for me from Ohio when she went to visit her sister. She wanted to bring them to me. I have been wanting to see her for months and either I was doing radiation or she was out of town or something always got in the way. I finally got to have dinner with her tonight. My mom cooked something for us that my grandma cooked and my great-grandma (her mother) used to cook for dinner. She made chicken and dumplings and rice crispy chicken. It is so delicious. We were able to catch up and visit for the whole evening. I very much have tears of joy every time I see that woman. I have a fondness for her that is undeniable. I love her for every thing she knows, says, does, thinks, and is. She is amazing.
I never know the rejuvenation that you can get by seeing someone you love dearly like that. I felt so great leaving from my moms apartment. We walked out together and left. Its the most comforting feeling there is to have a loved one care for you and feel the feelings of being loved by someone. Its very neat. Its a feeling of my heart being full. Filling up I should say. I know when I feel depreciated and down, my heart does not feel full. I need the boost of a loved one to get my energy from and bring me back to bonding and connecting and caring so I can focus all those feeling into my healing. I know its needed and I feel great doing all those things.
I also know that her and my aunt Janet completely read my mind. This is why I know great minds thing alike. I have been talking about needing pajamas or light shirts after the surgery. What did my grandma have in her hand from Janet and her. Pajamas and booties and a very nice card from my grandmas sister Aunt M.Margaret. I love all my people with all the thoughtfulness they had for me and I appreciate the care.
Well I had to share the night of love and sharing and bonding between family. It was great.
One love,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tuesday Is here

As I enjoy my weekend of drinking shots and having fun with friends, the thoughts of what about to occur lingers in the back of my mind. Chris and I don't really even drink any more so you know when there is 4 different kinds of shots on hand that we had some steam to blow off before the surgery.
I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I have wanted this day for a long to time. I have asked for it since 3 doctors ago. The response has always been that it's not necessary because it had already spread. They use mastectomy surgery as a preventive measure. So the cancer will not spread. Mine had already spread. So I have always gotten the answer that I didn't need to have the surgery. Now the doctor tells me she thinks that the cancer is going to break through the skin on my left breast. She says that I don't want that to happen, she doesn't want that happen, and I definitely don't want to be traumatized if something like that was to occur. This is the reason that the surgery is happening now and why it hasn't happened before now. Her examinations of me have lead her to believe that this is something to worry about so I am going to listen to her and have the surgery. I told them as I always do with every surgery to schedule it the first day possible.
I call yesterday morning because I didn't know if I had a pre-op appointment, and they tell me the surgery has been moved to November 9th. So I was just like WHAT, why wouldn't anyone call me and tell me that. I know they are busy but come on. I am glad I called.
I had a cry yesterday because its anticlimactic. I build my nerves up to be nerves of steel, then nothing happens. It so much pressure sometimes. I know I can handle it in the end, I know what I need to do deep down. Its a ride that I never thought I would ever be on that is for sure. I know deep down in my heart that I will have just as much reward as I have had heartache. I know that deep in my heart. It will be nothing but smiles very soon. And I know it is earned and definitely deserved. I cant wait to be at the finish line with all my family and friend crying tears of joy for a change. Tears of JOY!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Overcoming to Start Over

I have been critical of myself during this whole experience because all the sudden I was faced with worst case scenario. I had to pull all my strength and knowledge together. I am still having to make life changing decisions that will effect me for the rest of my life. I have been able to handle a lot of things in my life. I mean a LOT. I know everyone has a story and I don't mean to sound like my story is better or worse than anyone, I am just saying I became very aware of myself when I needed me the most. It became my struggle to even show up for myself everyday. I have had many hard days and wondered why I have had to face things in this way or that way. I have had a real wake up call is what it all boils down too. What I am also realizing is I like the person I am becoming when I shed all the sorrow and show up for myself. I felt like I wasn't enough for even myself sometimes. I have been lost and found and lost and found. I go to a place where I am numb and I don't think about anything. We go on living like nothing is wrong. I just have to adjust to living with chronic pain and suffering. I have been able to do it quite well. I often am able to ignore pain. Its amazing what you can train yourself to do. I train myself so people don't even know I am in pain. I try to make it comfortable for everyone. I don't sit out in front of everyone and take my hand fulls of this is my own private fight. I have realized that whatever I am meant for in this life, I have to be strong enough to show up for me. I don't need anyone else to root for me, I don't need anyone else to be there for me but me. Don't get me wrong, my team does keep me afloat so I can even have this mindset. I am able to be me because they are able to love me for being me. Its a great feeling when you can be genuine and you get genuine back. I love my family, and I love the people that are there for me. They say when you have been through so much you can't even bare going on, that when you do get the strength to take another step, you will be so glad you did. You are walking into the light, the best, most healing, most loving, most caring place that you could ever imagine. Its a major thing to shed the negative in your life. It is a great place on the other side, I am a witness to that. And I have to give credit to my faith. I have faith in my angels, my loving Lord, whom carries me everyday to the next. Only say the word, and I shall be healed... Amen!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

I am a Top Health Blogger

I have permission to publish the letter from Dr. Rutledge and I couldnt have been happier to have been asked to do this. Its the reason I write this blog to begin with. I wouldnt have been able to work things out in my head without alot of thinking that I have had to do.
The letter read:

Hi Renee,

My name is Dr. Geoff Rutledge, and I am delighted to invite you to join Wellsphere's HealthBlogger Network, the world's premier network of health writers, including over 2,700 of the Web's leading health bloggers! We carefully reviewed your blog, and based on the high quality of your writing, the frequency of your posts, and your passion for helping others, we think you would be a great addition to the Network. As a member of the HealthBlogger Network, you'll enjoy the greatly expanded reach and exposure to Wellsphere's more than 6 million monthly unique visitors, innovative special features and functionality for your blog, and an exclusive badge to recognize you as one of the Web's leading health bloggers. You'll also have the opportunity to share tips and advice about blogging with your fellow health-focused bloggers. Once you join, we'll begin promoting you and your blog as a great source of health knowledge and support, featuring you in rotation on our homepage (, republishing your posts on Wellsphere, giving you special status on Wellsphere and linking back to your blog. THERE IS NO COST FOR YOU TO JOIN, and YOU RETAIN OWNERSHIP of the content that you allow Wellsphere to republish. To be clear, your content is yours, and you are free to do whatever you choose with it.

Let me tell you a bit about me and about Wellsphere. I'm a physician who has taught and practiced Internal and Emergency Medicine for over 25 years at Harvard and Stanford medical schools, and am passionate about helping people get the information and support they need to be healthier. I'm now the Chief Medical Information Officer at, where I manage the HealthBlogger Network. Wellsphere, the fastest-growing consumer health website, is revolutionizing the way people find and share health and healthy living information and support. We've recently merged with The HealthCentral Network, Inc. (, and together we're now serving more than 10 million people a month!

I would like to invite you to join the HealthBlogger Network as a featured blogger in the Breast Cancer Community. Once you join the HealthBlogger Network, we will automatically republish the blog posts that you've already written and the ones you write in the future (so you don't have to re-post them yourself, and there's no extra work for you!). We will feature them not only on the community pages of the site, but also on numerous relevant WellPages, where we give users a comprehensive view of expert information, news, videos, local resources, and member postings on topics you write about. Each of your articles that are re-published on Wellsphere will include a link back to your blog, and your Wellsphere profile page will show your special status as a featured blogger on Wellsphere (and will include another link back to your blog). By connecting to the Wellsphere platform, you will greatly expand the audience for your postings, attract additional readers to your blog, and receive much deserved recognition for your efforts to improve peoples' lives.

You will also receive from us a special badge for your blog recognizing you as a Top Health Blogger, and gain access to features and functionality for your blog that we've created especially for members in the HealthBlogger Network, including a custom tailored Health Knowledge Finder search widget, a Wellevation widget that provides daily motivational tips for your members, and a Wellternatives widget that offers nutrition information and healthier suggestions at popular chain restaurants.

Congratulations on being selected to participate in the HealthBlogger Network! If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email to

Good health,

G.W. Rutledge MD, PhD
Chief Medical Information Officer
The HealthCentral Network, Inc.

Radiation Almost Done

So I have a single treatment left to do. I had some time in there where I didn't think I was going to make it through. I had cold chills where I was hot and cold at the same time. Miserable being. I cried the whole way up there and the whole way in the door. Chris tells me to compose myself so I can get in and outta there quickly. They have 2 machines down that day so the people are piling up. I was so glad they called me first and I was outta there. One lady had been there 2 and a half hours already. I went to my moms after that. It was a day to celebrate. I just had a radiation treatment in between time. I then went after to the house to celebrate. It was really great. Monday is my last treatment. Then I have a whole body scan before I go in for my surgery. I was not supposed to have any scans done of any kind during my radiation. I was to have no extra radiation. Only what I was prescribed to be given. So, now its time for the majors. I have to pep myself up. Fired up, Ready to Go.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Valentine's Day Poem

I ran across this the other day. Chris had it laminated at his job so we could keep it as a keepsake. Its a poem I wrote to him on Valentines Day 2008.

I have always been the one with a fight inside me
I am always the tough one, for everyone to see
You are the first and only one to get through
And really get to know me, And I got to know you
I grew up overnight, and so did you
I love you, it was meant to be; just us two
It took one night to make a son
Christopher is one of the best things weve ever done
People talking shit, every single day
Despite them, we've attained our goals anyway
Against all odds, we've pushed through
We are a family, thats what we are supposed to do
Our families always know better than we did, yours and mine
Never leaving us alone to make our own life divine
We lived and lived despite what they say
Without help, with great faith, we did it our way
Devastation strikes, we lose our pa
Christopher rememebers him, I made sure he saw
His Po-Po in all the months and days
Until "Larry" took our dad, he went his own way
Who can complain, he went to heaven above
He isnt sick anymore, and he's surrounded by love
One week later, there's a surprise about
Another baby is on the way, one life in, one life out
The way I found out was I felt a kick
The tests were negative, the one's with the little stick
Four months in, five months to go
And on March 9, we get K. Bravo
Now we have one of each, a girl and a boy
Some would say the perfect family of love and joy
Sure there have been bumpy roads along the way
I would not change one single day
The day we met, Our first kiss
Its all been a great time I would never miss
The Lord chose you and me
For the most difficult task there could be
Stage 4 Cancer is what God has given me
He has chosen me to be the miracle for all to see
No matter what, they will remember me
Dont count me out yet, the fight is ON
I will not stop until they cancer is gone
We will be at church and pray
For our family to strive for the best every day
So far it has all worked out and I will never let you go
Your are the BEST thing that has happened to me
I thought you should know
There is really only one thing left to say
Happy Valentines Day! (2008)

Author: Renee Bravo

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kicking Cancers Ass - Home

Kicking Cancers Ass - Home

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My New Website

I have been working on this website over the past couple of months and finally found one that has everything I wanted on my site. It provides a calendar, a place for video postings, and a contact page for me. I also have in place a guestbook, and a donate page. I have been asked if I have a place set up for those who have the kindness within them to donate to my fight. I simply am answering those calls. I hope you all like it.

This is a site that I also have linked back to my blog so that anyone who donates can check up on me at anytime. I still have some great news to share besides this. So Stay Tuned!

I am waiting for permission to post the letter that I recieved.

Renee B.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Last Radiation & This Radiation

Having radiation again cant help but make me think of the first time I had radiation. I have been getting my second round and after my surgery I will getting almost 7 more weeks of radiation. I know that with both I have been very very tired. I don't know what it is about it that makes me tired. I am surprisingly strong when it comes to all of this. I don't expect myself to be super sick with burn marks and heaving over the toilet until the sun comes up. I refuse to put myself through even the thoughts of that. I got sick pretty much every day the first time. I also was getting the treatments through my stomach so I don't know if that had alot to do with it. I was taking all this medicine as well. The first radiation treatments were for my lower back (sacrum,S1,S2 area) but they did the radiation from that round of treatments through the front. It went through my abdomen including my stomach and uterus and ovaries. I was made baron because of it. I also needed doses that would have basically fried my spinal cord and paralyzed me to completely eradicate it. They gave me as high a dosage as they could. This later resulted in me getting a hysterectomy at age 31. Unable to have anymore children. Thank God I have a son because he is the last of the name. I had a responsibility to my father in law to provide a son. I have a daughter as well. When she came along my thoughts were that I already had a son, I would love another one to carry the name. I also would love a daughter which means I would have one of each. Best of either world I say. Anyway, I held on to that, and I had so much more on my plate that was more major than that. I never really have been able to mourn my future children. I have been busy enough fighting for my life.
It was funny because I was talking to my grandmother about it. She just had a hysterectomy herself a number of years ago. The doctor said she would be a good source of info for me when it comes to questions about the side effects. His thoughts were that there is good chance that you and your close family members would experience the same side effects. My mother and my grandmother have both had a hysterectomy so I was able to ask them both. I talked to them both about it and luckily they both didn't have many side effects at all. Hot flashes would be the main thing that we all 3 experienced. I had one of those comical moments in life while I was talking to my grandma about this. You see, she has 13 children. 8 boys, and 5 girls. Out of all the children including the wives of all my uncles, no one has had to seek out my grandma about this subject. I of all people was the one talking with her about it. Out of all the people in the family, I, her 2ND eldest grandchild, was the one seeking her guidance. I am now considered post-menopausal. When I heard that I kinda instantly for a moment felt like an old lady. I know mental thoughts are very powerful in influencing ones actions, whether you realize it or not, so I didn't let myself go there for very long. I did however have this instant flash of myself as an old lady with all gray hair all knotted up in a bun. Society has our minds trained that the stereotypes of every situation is what comes through as your first thoughts. I felt out of place because society never prepares young people to deal with those types of surgeries or situations. I know I wasn't mentally prepared for it. Most people are just planning their first child around my age.
I also experienced pain on a maximum level with the radiation. It is what started the seizure in my legs. It stated the nerve pain. The area where the tumor is located on my spine is intertwined with my spinal cord and wrapped up in my nerves. So no matter what, I knew I would be dealing with one pain or the other. It seemed to most intensive during the radiation. I feel like its putting up a fight. It doesn't want to die. I look at it like this, its going to get worse before it gets better. I am winning and its the last stand. That's the way I see it. So I will deal with the pain. It shows me I am winning!
I draw strength from not only myself, but from my husband Chris, and my kids. Trust me, we are a family unit that sticks together no matter what. Every family has ups and downs. We have really leaned on each other when needed and its a great feeling.

That's all for now...peace and love,
Renee B.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Only 4 Radiation Treatments Left

There are only 4 radiation treatments left in this round for my leg. I couldn't be happier about it. I have been handling it like a trooper if I do say so myself. I saw the doctor today as I see him weekly for him to check on up on me and see how I am doing. He asked me how I was and how was everything going. I basically told him that I do have the same pain. I am very achy in my whole back and down my legs. I know from my last radiation treatments on my lower back that it did hurt more during the time of the radiation. That's when my legs also started seizing up and also was the trigger that made me not able to walk during the beginning of my diagnosis. I look at it like this, its going to get worse before it gets better. It is putting up a fight. I am winning and its the last stand. That's the way I see it. So I will deal with the pain. It shows me I am winning!
It seems that the way I have been dealing with certain areas of going through having Stage 4 cancer is to put things in perspective. Its very hard to deal with this no matter how you look at it. I have noticed that I cant deal with everything at once. I can only do one thing at a time. I can only deal with one thing at a time. I have to put things in order. Whether its order of importance, or order of urgency, or the orders of the doctors which can override my thoughts if necessary. This way I can make sure that I do my tasks thoroughly, with all the strength within me. I have to draw strength from not only myself, but from my husband Chris, and my kids. Trust me, we are a family unit that sticks together no matter what. Every family has ups and downs. We have really leaned on each other when needed and its a great feeling.

That's all for now...peace and love,
Renee B.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Enough is Enough

I am curious when you think enough is enough when it comes to letting someone go or trying to keep them in your life. I know how it is to want something or someone to go the way you want it to go and people to feel the way you want them to feel. All I know is that its no shame to put a good effort into something you believe in. Dont go overboard. Give someone a chance. Leave it in their court on whether they want to participate in growing as a person or becoming closed off and not learning anything. One thing you have to accept is that some people are stuck in a rut where they may not want to learn anything. They may want to be difficult and thinking they are trying to control the situation by not responding. Funny thing is that isnt how we look at it from our side. We are trying to purge bad feelings and grow from the times that are there for us to grow from. Its a lesson that the person will have to learn again and again if they dont take the time to learn it when it presents itself. You cant force someone. All you can do is know that if they choose not to be a part of it dont worry about it. You have made your peace and left it in their court to deal with. Make it a place in your heart where its all good and no bad. It takes work. It does. Dont let someone else dictate your feelings and what you feel. Dictate what and when its time to love or leave. I personally have decided to try with everyone I love. Its not something I will do repeatedly. I have too much to do. If its not time and the universe says no, then hey, maybe the universe will let you let it go...never to think of the bad times again. You are all good. Your force is nothing but strong and true. Its a great time to be alive!

Oct. 27th

This is the big day guys. Its the day of the surgery. The major surgery day. I am actually coming to terms with the whole thing. I thought all my tears were gone. I have pretty much cried about every aspect of this whole thing. It was another slam to me that I am going to get a piece of me cut off. I know it has to be done. It is going to be the first day of the rest of my life. I honestly started feeling like my Mt Everest is coming to the top. I have been climbing and climbing and I am reaching the top soon with nothing left to do but come down. I need to do this. I don't know what else to do. I trust my doctor. I know she wouldn't steer me wrong. I told them to prepare me if they think I am going to need more radiation after the surgery too. So I am glad the doctor was being honest that day. I need complete honesty. Its amazing how hard it is for some people. Well not for me. I am not afraid of the truth. I would much rather prefer the truth. I speak the truth for I give what I expect. It doesn't always work out that way. The fact is you have to stick to what you believe in. Push forward. Keep your head up. Like Obama says, "Fired up, Ready to go!" Its on baby, its on!

Radiation Day 2

Today's radiation was in the evening as I said yesterday. It was actually ok. Today was a busy day. Christopher got his braces on today. Well they started anyway. Its a process over several trips. I did well on today's treatment though. It wasn't to bad at all. It took around 45 minutes with the waiting. The actual treatment took only 5-7 minutes. I was only dizzy for a bit. We ended up going to my mothers house for dinner. She cooked chicken n dumplings and rice crispy chicken. My mom makes it all. It is so good. Christopher was so upset because he could not eat well. We warned him all day. We even went to get him his last hamburger earlier in the day. Its a trip. We truck on as a family. Supportive of each other no matter what. I am still climbing my mountain. I feel I am close to the top. I know that I am going to make it through this. Its not even a question. Its just a matter of time. I have so much more to catch you up on. And some exciting news. I was so flattered and I cant wait to share. Love all!