MOM2ACAT   190,535
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Timmy, his eyes are not really blue, that's just the reflection of the flash off my blue carpet.

Me, July 2008

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My Journey with Stage IV Breast Cancer

My Story: Updated 7/2/2013

When I first joined Spark in July 2006, at first it was all about weight loss for me. I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in the spring of 2003, at the age of 39. I went through a bilateral mastectomy (without reconstruction) and chemo that year, and underwent radiation to the chest wall during the first part of 2004.

At that time, I was frustrated with my weight gain from being on Tamoxifen, and overeating after my appetite came back ...
My Story: Updated 7/2/2013

When I first joined Spark in July 2006, at first it was all about weight loss for me. I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in the spring of 2003, at the age of 39. I went through a bilateral mastectomy (without reconstruction) and chemo that year, and underwent radiation to the chest wall during the first part of 2004.

At that time, I was frustrated with my weight gain from being on Tamoxifen, and overeating after my appetite came back after recovering from chemo. My pants were getting tight on me, and I refused to just go up to the next size. I was 139 pounds when I started here, and in a little less than a year, reached my goal weight, which I am still maintaining, of staying within 120-125 pounds. I went from a size 14 in jeans down to a junior size 9. I made my changes slowly, a few at a time, starting with watching my portion sizes. I never looked at this journey as a "diet", rather I decided to make healthy living and eating a lifelong habit.

My journey changed again in April of 2007; my cancer returned, and spread to the bone. I have stage IV breast cancer, and there is no cure for it; the goal of treatment is to slow down and stabilize my bone mets. (Bone mets are tumors that are in the bone.) Since April 2007, I am on a monthly treatment called Zometa to strengthen my bones. I have been through 5 more courses of radiation treatments, and I've been on chemo since April 2010. My current chemo is Abraxane, which I started on June 25. I will most likely be on some kind of chemo for the rest of my life.

I also live with GERD and sciatica, and in the early part of December 2010, was diagnosed with gastroparesis.( Caused by the radiation I had to my upper spine,) I have had to change my diet drastically because of that, I'm basically on a low fiber diet right now, and many of my favorite fruits and vegetables I can no longer eat. I also deal with chronic pain from my various health conditions. My goals now with Spark are not to enable me to live longer, or to try to cure my cancer, but to have the best quality of life possible with the time I have left.

I try as much as I can, despite the limitations I have right now, to eat as healthy as a I can, and to stay as fit as I can. I can longer walk for exercise, but I enjoy chair aerobic DVDs, using my stability ball, and working out with weights.

I am single with two very spoiled indoor only cats, Timmy and Kallie, who are my babies. I no longer work outside the home, because of the health problems associated with my cancer, I had to quit working in November 2008.

I hope that by sharing my journey with cancer, I can help someone else going through the same thing, even if it's just knowing that there is someone else out there who understands.

8/2/2014 Update; I had scans done a couple of weeks ago, the cancer is now spreading to my liver, but so far it's still in the treatable stage.

12/22/2014 Update: It's now in my bones, lungs and liver. Starting a new treatment soon that won't be a cure, but hopefully will slow it down.

Update 7/31/2015 Made the decision to stop treatment for the cancer as of 7/15/24, body is just too worn out from the side effects, and it's now in my lungs also. Just doing palliative care now.

UPDATE 9/20/2015 Now under Hospice care.

I also have a blog at Caring Bridge related to the cancer:

Read More About MOM2ACAT (Updated September 20)



My Ticker:

 current weight: -1.8  under

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Member Since: 7/3/2006

SparkPoints: 190,535

Fitness Minutes: 41,579

My Goals:
* Work in fitness activities on my good days as often as I can

*Keep maintaining my goal weight

*Eat as healthy as I can within the limitations of my diet for GP

My Program:
Now that I am maintaining a healthy diet, I am working on improving my fitness. I keep a hand written food diary to keep me on track, and keep track of my exercise and other goals here on Spark.

As of 10/26/2012, I am still undergoing chemo, which I started again in April 2010. I am limited to what I can do fitness-wise because of the cancer and pain issues, but I do the best I can. My favorite workouts now are chair aerobics.

Life is a work in progress, and while we can never be perfect, that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to make our lives the best they can be.

Personal Information:
My name is Shari, I'm from I have 2 indoor cats and worked in retail until November 2008. Because of health issues, I quit work and I am now on SSDI.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2003, went through surgery, chemo and radiation. In April of 2007, I was diagnosed with bone mets, I am now living with stage IV breast cancer.

Update as of Jan. 2015: Now the cancer is in my bones, lung and liver. I can no longer have any chemo because my bone marrow is "worn out"; now I am on palliative treatments; the goal now is not a cure, but to give me a good quality of life with the time I have left.

Other Information:
I am an avid reader, and I love writing book reviews! I also love crafts, crocheting, needlework and knitting with Knifty Knitter looms.

I love cats; I have 2, Timmy and Kallie, and I consider them my family. So even though I am single, I am not living alone!

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Member Comments:
11/5/2015 5:50:22 AM

The Following Blog post was written on Shari's page at


By Shari Larsen — Oct 15, 2015 3:09pm

Dear Friends and Followers of Shari,

It is with a heavy heart I must say that Shari left her earthly home early today for Heaven, As one of her best friends, I had the honor and priviledge of being her care giver with 3 other dear friends. Her cancer had rapidly spread to her liver and she was in failure Tuesday. Hospice was called in prior and she was comfortable as we could keep her.

Her Funeral will be held on Wednesday, October 21st at Immanual Lutheran Church 726 Fuller Ave, Big Rapids, MI 49307 at 11:00 a.m. in lieu of flowers, Shari has asked for donations if you wish to be sent to ARC ( Animal Rescue Coalition) a no kill animal shelter or Susan Wheatlake Cancer Center in Reed City, you may send any donations to her church and they will forward them.
Shari fought a battle with compassion, dignity and love, she leaves behind, her sister, Karen Larsen, and many loving friends, but especially her "fur babies", Timmy and Kallie, precious kitty companions for the past 15 and 14 years,

I for one feel such a tremendous void in my life but her Lord Jesus is also mine,
Godspeed and much love on the behalf of our amazing friend. She is home for good in a renewed body and cancer free!

Comment edited on: 11/5/2015 5:53:03 AM

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11/5/2015 5:19:20 AM

To All of Shari's Spark Friend's, this is the Obituary that was written for our Beloved and Treasured Friend, Shari, she had a Blog on http://www.caringbr

My sincere condolences and prayers to all of Shari's extended Family members and Friend's, I am so sorry for your loss, Shari was a special friend in which I thank God, always an Inspiration wherever she went...I will miss my dear friend but look forward to meeting her one day in Heaven.... emoticon emoticon

Shari was born on September 27, 1963 and passed away on Thursday, October 15, 2015.

Shari was a resident of Big Rapids, Michigan at the time of her passing.

Shari attended St. Peters Lutheran School and graduated from Big Rapids High School.

A memorial service will take place 11:00 a.m. Wednesday October 21 2015 at her church home Immanuel Lutheran Church 726 Fuller St. Big Rapids.

Shari has requested in lieu of flowers donations may be made to ARC Animal Rescue Coalition 18400 220th Ave. Big Rapids MI 49307 Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer Center 4499 220th Ave. Reed City MI 49677 or Immanuel Lutheran Church.

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11/4/2015 2:24:49 PM

Dear Shari,
Rest in peace, dear friend. HUGS!

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11/3/2015 9:33:29 AM

My dear friend Shari,

It is indeed sad news to hear of your passing from this earthly life. You are so very much missed, not only by me but so many others whose lives you touched, with your strength, acceptance of your experience, and sharing your life with were a true inspiration.

At the same time I am glad your pain and fatigue are no more, and I wish you all the happiness in heaven with your Mother and Father, and the library and craft rooms of your dreams! Meanwhile I am sure you will be very much in spirit with your beloved Kallie and Timmy.

Rest peacefully at home with the angels
Memories of you remain in my heart, dear friend.

Love you always,
Nattacia xxx

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11/2/2015 9:26:14 AM

I'm so sorry to hear of Shari's passing. I'm glad that she is free of pain & suffering. I just found out today & feel a bit of a jerk...but I shall miss her & think of her fondly. emoticon

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