Monday, February 7, 2011

No Greater High

I'm a fighter for all those who are coming up behind me with breast cancer and all those who are now struggling to survive. I am the face of stage IV breast Cancer we are the forgotten ones though we suffer daily, we look for trails, vaccines, we continue to take chemo and do what ever it takes to have one more day with our families. You don't want to hear this side of breast cancer because its frightening to know that some of us were caught early and we are now charted as "terminal."
I was diagnosed stage II in Aug 08 which means I was caught early and here I am in 2011 not knowing how long i am here on earth for. Breast cancer spread to my lungs, {NO I DONT HAVE LUNG CANCER IVE NEVER SMOKED) , I beat it once, the chemo was the most painful experience of my life it nearly killed me, I couldnt walk for so long im still weak 5 months out from it, and it came back within 3 months . made new nodules in my lungs. A sign to my Dr that I might not win this battle. Chemo is now not an option for me, I am on femera a hormone blocking drug it makes you feel miserable it takes a lot from me but its my only hope of having time. There is a vaccine coming but its probably 5 yrs out in the making, so many of us wont survive long enough to take the vaccine, but knowing that its coming gives hope, it makes me feel like this thief of a disease will soon be eradicated from our earth. The thought that no other woman will suffer like this brings me great joy. I don't want anyone to join the club I am in.
I have been told by many i am an inspiration to them but i don't feel like an inspiration i feel like a mom,sister,friend,aunt,grandmother, I am doing what I feel is the ONLY thing to do, there is no greater high then giving. I will fight, motivate, scream from the rooftops, and use the voice God gave me to spread awareness and hope to all my sisters. This is not over yet and i plan on making a big noise!

From the heart of a musician

Reflecting on how my life has changed in the past 3 yrs all with a phone call from a stranger, now someone I consider a dear friend is no longer a stranger in my life. Funny how God works,all my life Ive told people "Im a Rocker" i sang with rock bands and top 40 bands since i was a kid, but few yrs back i started recording ballads and things that noone could know i was a rocker at heart. I received an email on my space from this guy named John, it said could you call me id like to talk to you about music, he told me his background bands etc etc....I called him and met up with him and ill always remember his words to me, "Michele I know this will sound strange because you dont know me but i have a strong Christian belief and I really think I wrote songs for you to sing." The first song he played for me was "Shes a Rocker" and i just started to smile there it was what I was screaming from the rooftops at that time in my life in a state where no one knew where i had been and what i did..... In NJ EVERYONE knew who i was i had sang at every club up there. I knew he was right, God plays an important role in all our lives if we stop and listen, and when he sends someone to you its for a reason so pay attention. I paid attention....John my dear friend we may fight like brother and sister but we always get back to the friendship, this blog is dedicated to our friendship , I am so blessed. I wish for you much happiness and lets ROCK!!! MicheleAnn
Posted by MicheleAnn at 8:32 AM 0 comments
Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz
Labels: breast cancer, john rainey, Micheleann, rock pink, shes a rocker, stand up and fight
Its the day after
Its the day after the Deland original music festival which I was privileged to perform at. If your a musician you know the feelings too well the high of being on a stage well there is no comparison to it,in the heart of a musician. My band "Chele Shock" played in a little club called Halftimes,our first thought was "Why didn't we land one of the big stages outside? Everything that happens is a blessing my second thought was the doors are open to the street we can pull people in and so we did.
Let me start you out from the beginning of this stage time. I was running late so I called band let them know I wasn't late for our stage time we were showing up a few hrs earlier. Few minuets later I get the call from john "There's no PA here the bands ahead of us are singing through their amps!" There was a band that sponsored that stage they were suppose to bring the PA for all the bands to use. So it was a blessing I was late but for me was a dilemma, how am I going to get the PA out of my house and in my little car all by myself. Remember I have breast cancer and not suppose to lift more then 5 lbs on left arm. Here's the old cliche the show must go on! I managed to do it and got there just in time,our band now sponsored the stage the band behind us was flipping out and asked can we please use your PA we said yes we kept it there for 4 bands then we had to leave.there is in my opinion no greater high then being on a stage doing rock n roll or any genre for that matter. You are born to music I feel and i'm still rockin in this world despite all the obstacles...i've been rock'in since the age of 18, I wont tell you my age now,lets just say I'm vintage wine !

Friday, November 26, 2010


Michele Ann Stands Up and Fights for the Cure

“Stand up and fight” is the rally cry for rock-pop’s next rising star, Michele Ann Salvo. Hailing from sunny, palm tree dotted Daytona Beach, Florida, the dynamic, determined, and incredibly motivated musician is leading the charge in the next wave of empowered women in the fight against breast cancer. As a current patient and survivor, advocate for Rock Pink, and supporter of the American Cancer Society, Michele Ann is utilizing her talents to generate awareness, raise money, and aid women across the country in finding a cure.

As a nurse by day and singer-songwriter by night, Michele Ann has overcome the odds on multiple occasions to continue on in her craft with unwavering will and drive. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, it spread to her trachea, leading to dangerous surgeries which left her unable to sing for three months. While the doctors couldn’t guarantee whether Michele Ann would ever sing again, she’s returned sounding better than ever, releasing her first official full length record, She’s a Rocker in June 2010.

Produced by Frank Starchak and featuring renowned producer Ron St. Germain (Muse, U2, 311, Soundgarden) mixing her first single, She’s a Rocker showcases Michele Ann spreading her wings, stretching out, and delivering 15 songs of brilliant rock-pop. Capable of both driving rhythms and heart string pulling ballads, her versatility in vocals and songwriting makes for entertaining, truly inspired music.

Michele Ann continues her unrelenting efforts with charities, most recently helping with Rock Pink’s Bowl-o-rama event, which rose over $36,000 to support research, care, and awareness. She participates and performs annually in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and her most recent single “Stand Up and Fight,” which received a Billboard Honorary Mention Award, is officially on the event playlist for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Over time, her dedication and resilience has established her as a symbol amongst breast cancer patients and survivors, as local and national media are all beginning to take notice.

Her influence also spreads into the military supporters, as Michele Ann has a number of patriotic numbers in the repertoire, including “America Stands by You,” which is scheduled to be performed at the 2010 Virginia Tea Party Patriots Convention. As a mother of an Iraqi war veteran, her connection to the soldiers is as personal and realistic as possible, allowing her to tap into another massive group of supporters capable of easily relating to her music.

Visit Michele Ann’s official website and Sonicbirds page for further information, photos, and audio, including new tracks from her debut record. She’s a Rocker and both of her previous singles, “Lean on Me” and “America Stands by You” are available for purchase on iTunes now. Stand Up and Fight written by John Rainey and Michele Ann

the day after thanksgiving

(This picture from last yr my dad with his great grandson)Today, the day after thanksgiving, I spent the day with my son Justin and my Daddy in Orlando at his house. My father was sad yesterday his good dear friend and neighbor was in hospice taking his final breaths on earth. I cant imagine being his age and having to watch all of your friends die, he has missed my mother for 4 yrs now as we all do. The holidays are a reminder of all those we have lost that cannot be at the table with you but it is also the reminder of all you have had over the yrs, they are forever in your memories and heart. I looked across the table to my dad and thought is this our last yr, one never knows, I for the first time in 3 yrs was able to give him good news, though it scared me to tell fear is now that i am cancer free he will feel free to leave.....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

words from a breast cancer patient and nurse

Its easier to write a note then small little status updates about breast cancer and fighting the battle for life. People ask me all the time how i do it? My answer is always the same, I do what anyone would do i think ,cause i have things to do yet. I guess I've had a different attitude from the get go of diagnosis of breast cancer, I initially cried like a baby in a strangers arms because i went to the Dr alone. That was my choice I didn't want to have my family or friends sad, i knew what was coming i'm a nurse. I had a mammogram then they kept me and said we have to do an ultrasound, this was the sign to me that it was what every women feared, I know too much i'm a nurse. Then after the ultrasound in walked the radiologist with a nurse, I took one look and i knew, you don't see the radiologist unless its bad. "Michele I am so sorry to be the one to tell you but you have breast cancer." I didn't hear another word every thing else was a blur except a Dr giving up her free time to biopsy me that day if i would consider staying. Time is of the essence when you have a lump do not ever wait to get it checked. Every minute can cost you your life.
Biopsy: I was a modest person before breast cancer and there is no dignity in laying on a table in a room full of strangers with everything showing. They give you pain medication locally and epi is injected directly into your breasts , which then causes shivering when they have to give you a lot of it. Tumors are very vascular so when they enter them the bleeding can be bad and sometimes unstoppable. They insert markers inside each lump for surgeons later and vacuum out tissue samples for biopsy, the whole time i kept thinking this truly sucks my boobs are all out there i'm shivering and shaking so bad its awful and they have needles in my breasts. The whole time i thought "dear God please please don't let it be breast cancer." They could be wrong i thought, however the drs were very sure it was and told me so, the biopsy was to find out what type so they could go after it. A girl can still pray and hope.
Well the rest is history as you know it was Lobular carcinoma in situ, and Noninvasive (in situ) breast cancer, and invasive,Invasive (infiltrating) breast cancers spread outside the membrane that lines a duct or lobule, invading the surrounding tissues. The cancer cells can then travel to other parts of your body, such as the lymph nodes. If your breast cancer is stage I, II, III or IV, you have invasive breast cancer.Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS), estrogen and progesterone receptive positive. What this means is i had two different types of cancer some not so bad some bad, all hormone receptive which is a good thing because there is better prognosis for this type of cancer. When cancer spreads to other organs in the body its stage IV no one wants this. I was diagnosed stage II i had hope huge huge hope.

TREATMENT: bilateral mastectomies, 14 lymph nodes removed, which all in itself is no picnic of a surgery, on the spot reconstruction TRAM, Tram is when they reconstruct using your abdmn muscles and tissue to rebuild you, bad part of this is you have no core after they do this yes you have a tummy tuck but you have no core muscles. Im a turtle on its back when lying flat there is no getting up unless i twist and use my lateral muscles. My statement to my surgeon when she suggested this surgery was "yay no more sit ups!" hehe well you have to joke about things sometimes the laughter makes you forget the seriousness of the situation.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Today is a new day for me it is all I have, I don't think about the future or tomorrow I think about today. When you have a terminal diagnosis the best way to live is in the RIGHT here and NOW. Make today matter,first I will take my cup of coffee and go outside and feel, smell and enjoy the air and the sun on my face for a little while. My puppy beside me she came along a few wks before I knew I had a re occurrence of breast cancer. Ive often thought is it fair to her perhaps I should give her to someone to raise and love.God brought her to me though and I have learned to follow what his plans entail for me and for Rocksey.

She is a yellow Lab like Max she looks just like him except she is a girl. Max came into my life when my sons were little and he would follow the twins around everywhere. I guess to tell you Rockseys story I have to tell you about Max. I thought he would bond with my sons they had never had a dog before i had just gone through a divorce. He decided from the beginning he was my buddy but he protected the entire family. I told you in my previous blog Max saved my life by making me see i had cancer. He never left my side where I was he was it use to make me crazy he'd be asleep and id get up for a glass of water and he would immediately get up and follow me to the kitchen. When I went through breast cancer the first time he never left my side. Then he got ill, he was 10 yrs old after all it was bound to happen. I was too sick to go to the vets office so i had a vet come to our home. Max was getting weak he couldn't get up from a sitting position or lying postion and he would look at me like im sick. Did you know dogs can get diabetes? Well guess what he had it and I am a nurse so I understand somewhat whats going on but then im thinking how in the world do I control his blood sugars?

My vet told me you have to check his urine when he goes, so picture this, me with this rag on my head, sick as a dog from chemo, following my dog around in the back yard with a paper cup. Then picture the same dog thinking oh what is she doing collecting my stuff! So he would play games he'd make believe he was going to pee and then hed get up and go NO i'm going over there, no im going over there, over and over again and here i am following him around with a paper cup. I'm thinking dog im dying here could you cut me a break? No breaks for me, it turns out he had a master plan to keep me on my feet and off the couch and out of bed by giving me someone to take care of that needed just me. Funny how God works.....I think had i not had someone to take care of I would of laid in bed or on the couch and thought whoah is me. Max needed me he would come over to me and in his way ask for a hug, he loved for me to hug him tight. Love and hugs can heal breast cancer he didn't care I lost all my hair, he didn't care I gained 50 lbs from the drugs they gave me, he didn't care I couldn't eat anything for almost 5 months, he didn't care about anything but the "me" he knew and loved. Max had to have insulin which i gave him every day and i checked his urine every day, we went through breast cancer together and diabetes.

Max left me the week I was well enough to go back to work and my breast cancer treatment was done. He held on till he knew I was going to be ok. Max you will forever be in my heart until we meet again............