Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Little things....

- Waking up for the first time in weeks when the sun is up and realizing you just slept 9 hours straight (and didn't wake up at 2am ).

- A sleepy dog in your bed.

- The feeling of lotion on your clean face in the morning.

- The sweet sound of your children's voices.

- Your husband making the best banana pancakes in the world for breakfast.

Today is a good day. Thank you God. Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rock star

You know how rock stars jump into the crowd and all of those people hold them up and let them float around on the top of the crowd? I feel like that. I feel all of your hands/prayers/thoughts are just holding me up. I feel a complete trust in the power of all of that love. Thank you. My dedication song to you today is Beyonce's Halo. "Everywhere I'm looking out, I'm surrounded by your embrace...."

Have a listen.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Not sure what this stands for but it means when your blood count is at its lowest. I should be there somewhere around this time so I had a NADIR checkup today. They did blood work and all my counts were good. I actually have too many white blood cells (mostly babies from the Neulasta shot I received on Monday). They think I should sail right through to the next round in 2 weeks and should expect to continue to feel as I do right now (good) until then. I have lost some weight so I got the green light to pretty much eat what I want - but mostly protein. I am planning a trip to Jamba Juice today (it is a good thing I like peanut butter). I still have my hair with no sign yet of it thinning. There is a slim chance that I may have missed it this time and it wont happen until my next round. Time will tell. God is being gentle on me - I am thankful.

The Ride

Have you ever been on one of those amusement park rides that are like elevators that bring you up several stories and then drop you? If you are only a few years older than me you may have not. I only experienced this once - it was enough - but let me describe it for you.

You wait in line with all of this anticipation thinking "I can do this" and yet part of you is a little scared. Your brain tries to logistically talk you out of that fear "what could possibly happen - this is perfectly safe" but your tummy bubbles with adrenaline. You finally reach the front of the line "Woo Hoo!" and they strap you into the safety harness. Your feet dangle and swing waiting for the ride up. You begin to move upward, slowly. As you move up your perspective changes - you see things from a different view. Everything is beautiful and perfect from up here. You almost forget what is coming because you can't believe you are up so high and it feels like flying - you made it. Just when you are feeling on top of the world you stop. And hang there. And wait. All you hear is silence.

Then without warning you drop. As fast as you could ever imagine. Like the earth was just pulled out from underneath you. You fall. Out of control. Your heart racing. You don't breathe. It lasts longer than you think it should.

And then you are still. Your heart still pounding. A bit shaky. You are thankful for the safely straps but happy when they release you. You appreciate the firm ground when you stand up. You are surprised that your body and mind could endure something that crazy and still survive. You did it. Now things on the ground look different. You are different. You grab the hands of the people you are with who did it with you and you run off to get a funnel cake.

My life as an amusement park ride.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bad Idea

I felt so good today I decided to try and do the new BodyFlow release in my living room..... Um.... Talk about one extreme to another. I used to be able to do poses and stretches without any problem. I can barely touch my toes right now. I think I am going to have to work back up slowly and take an immense amount of time to even get back to where I was. Humility. I guess that is what I am learning today.


So..... It doesn't really fit right on my head right now since I have all of my real hair in the way but I think after Todd messes with it a bit it should be fine. In the one close up picture that is my real hair and the wig - pretty close huh? You almost can't tell where one ends and the other begins. I am happy to have this little security blanket for my kids - I think that it will make them feel more comfortable when my hair does fall out.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good day!!!!

Woke up this morning feeling much better than yesterday. I was in a bit of a tizzy last night because the oncologist told me to call if I ever got a fever over 100.5. Well I had one last night but then I drank a ton of water and went to bed and feel fine today. I will ask them about that more on Friday when I go in to have my blood work done. Met with my amazing surgeon today (I just love her) and she re-assured me that this will just be a blip on the radar. Nice to hear. I could hear that everyday and not get tired of it. I picked up my wig and tried it on with a hat and when I went out to get Jack nobody knew it was a wig! yeah! It will take a bit of getting used to I think. I actually feel almost normal today - day 6 is good :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It was bound to happen....

Blah..... My scalp is neon red and hurts but my hair isn't falling out yet. I am going one last time today to try and get the right color wig. My body feels like someone ran over it with a double-wide but the good news is that my brain seems to be clearer today. I wish the sun was shining but it will another day. I am going to try and talk myself out of my own little pity party today and be thankful for the things I do have - amazing friends and family. Even though I might not sound appreciative sometimes - I really am - I am telling you right now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Going strong

Still feel pretty good - a little druggy in the head is all. Perhaps the chemo is going to my blonde hair - maybe when it falls out my brain will come back. It is obvious that my body is freaking out a bit just by having all of this stuff in it. I am having a hard time figuring out what to do with myself. I am sure I will fall into a groove but without my classes to keep me busy and my mind occupied the laundry and dishes are a bit boring. Knitting and scrap booking anyone? I will have to bundle up and take the dog for a walk everyday. I think it will do us both good.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My beautiful and amazing husband

Last week when John and I were in the car on our way to one of my many doctors appointments he had this song waiting for me when I got in..... He told me it reminded him of me. I can't listen to it without crying but I love it. I know it is sappy for me to put this on my blog but I just can not believe how blessed I am to have the most perfect person sitting by my side during this whole thing. I could never do it without him. He is my gift from God. Sometimes when you have something that good you need to shout it from the rooftops. I love you my Johnny :)

Feelin Groovy

For some strange reason I woke up with this Simon and Garfunkel song in my head. That is how I feel though! I slept 13 hours last night and feel good this morning. Does anyone know how to link an itunes song onto my blog? I have a post I want to write but a song needs to go with it. Have a great Sunday everyone!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Walks on the beach

My new form of exercise I think. The beach was ravaged by the huge surf over the past week. We have never seen so much debris on the shore. Julia is thrilled to be joining her best friend Catherine at a new school on Monday - the timing couldn't be better!

Still good

Feeling pretty good today but definitely have the feeling that drugs are pumping through my body. Going to try and go for a walk with the family since the sun is shining for the first time in days.

Julia wrote a new poem I wanted to share;

Snow Is Magic

If you look outside your window,
You might see something fun.
Sparkling in the tree tops,
From the pretty sun.
Soft, fluffy, and frozen.
Cold on your hand.
Not grass or leaves,
It's snow on the sand.
You dance all around,
To see the pretty sight.
As you try to walk,
The wind tries to fight.
As you come back to get warm,
Toasting by the fire.
You wont forget that time,
You saw snow in that hour.

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's all good

I think the surgery yesterday was a blessing in disguise. I was so sleepy from the sedative that I slept all day and then slept all night (first time I have done that in weeks). I woke up feeling refreshed and full of energy - Let's go! When we walked into the chemo room John looked around at all of the reclining chairs and said "oh it is just like getting a pedicure!". Well almost. My chemo treatments should only take 2 hours from now on and really how much can you get done in two hours? I read a magazine, talked to a friend on the phone, chatted with the nurses (who were awesome!) and then I was done. It was exactly like the oncologist said " that first day it will just feel like water is going in your veins". I am getting the big expensive shot of Neulasta on Monday and have a checkup on my white count next Friday. If all goes according to plan I will be back at chemo on February 12th wearing one of my cute hats that I bought.

One down - 5 to go.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Surgery went well but I am having a really hard time not writing the F word right now..... it is in the lymph node. Sneaky bastard cancer is going to freaking die. I can't wait to start killing it tomorrow. I'm extremely PISSED OFF. Can you tell?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What is going on?

The storms here have been unbelievable. Rain and wind for days. This afternoon became the most spectacular sight I may have ever seen. The light outside had a yellowish tint to it as sun filtered through the clouds at sunset. A beautiful rainbow appeared. It took my breath away and lasted only minutes. It reminded me of something my very good friend told me once about a sunset - "that is for you" - it was made for all of us.

Celebration time

Finally some good news! The genetic testing came back completely normal!!! That means that there is no urgency for a double mastectomy, no urgency to remove my ovaries, and most of all both of my children and their children will not carry the gene. Pause for a HUGE sigh of relief.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wig Shopping

Today my amazing friend and talented hair stylist Todd took precious time out of his day to come with Suzanne and I to look for a wig. Very strange trying on these wigs (I have never even had one on my head before). I was thinking I wanted a human hair one but it was kind of creepy for some reason. I am sure I would get used to it. Thank goodness Todd was with me because I wouldn't have known where to even begin. He picked one very close to my own hair. We had to order it and it should be in in a few days. I went with an inexpensive one to start just to see how I like wearing it ( I had a coupon for a free wig from the cancer center). Maybe I will get another one if it is going to be a daily thing. I will put pics up with the final one when I get it but these are just teasers. Doesn't Suzanne look fantastic!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yet another plan

In a nut shell....

Biopsy came back positive for tumor but it was not a lymph node (YAY!). As a result I am having minor surgery on Thursday to have a sentinel lymph node (the one the cells from the tumors are draining into) removed. It will be tested and will tell the surgeon what the end surgery should be. My chemo has been postponed until Friday (oh what a wonderful week I am having ;)). Actually I am doing surprisingly well. All of the docs I saw today were looking at me strangely and I finally found out why. They are not used to having someone in their office with such a peppy attitude. They told me they couldn't believe how calm I have been through this whole thing (is that a good thing?). Anyway, I am walking it with a good attitude in hopes of sailing through and coming out the other side completely cured.

BTW anyone know of a modeling agency that needs bald models? Or perhaps I could model for the mannequin companies. One on my chemo drugs is $2500 a pop. Lemonade stand anyone?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bouffants and boobies

I am trying desperately to not grieve over the loss of my hair and breasts. I know this will be a process. I try to tell myself not to be vain and that the image in the mirror will only be a passing one and one that continuously changes. It is just the blaring sign that I must carry around this town that says "I have cancer" that bothers me most. I have started to think about it differently though. Do I need these things to hug my children? Will it prevent me from continuing in my life the same way when this is over? No, not really. They are just decorations. Things that make me look pretty. I hope some day to live to be 80 years old. By then hair and boobs will just be getting in the way. I just have to come to terms with my new freedom a bit earlier in life - that's all.

Friday, January 15, 2010

CFF (cancer free friday)

Not so cancer free today but fairly uneventful. I had a biopsy today on what they think is a lymph node. The ultrasound tech found not 3 but 4 tumor like masses (are they procreating?). They did the biopsy on the one closest to where the lymph nodes usually are. We will not have the results until Monday. Wait and see..... getting used to that one. Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Biopsy tomorrow morning on the lymph node. Chemo starts next Wednesday morning. For my PBAC friends - join me for the last of my cardio classes for awhile - Zumba next Tuesday at 11:30am! Dance for strength, health and healing :)

Blog title change

This is going to be just one big hiccup and then the Second Act will start. I had a nice intermission between my birthday and December 21st and this is just that time when the lights dim right before the curtains open and the best part begins.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Change of plans

We met with an amazing oncologist today - one both John and I feel we can completely trust. He gave us a lot of interesting information and even though it is unconventional we have made a decision. I will be starting Chemotherapy next week. The idea is that when you start chemo you immediately halt the progression of the cancer cells. Multiple doctors have already confirmed that because of my age and size of the original tumor that no matter what I will need chemotherapy. This is a new type of treatment. It is a way to monitor if the chemo is actually working because they can track the size of the tumor and watch it shrink. He is also using a fairly new drug that does not have as severe side effects as traditional treatment. I will certainly lose my hair :( After an 18 week treatment and everything looks like it has worked I will then have surgery to remove anything that might be left of the tumor. I may still chose at that time to have a double mastectomy if my gene testing comes back positive. I will then be on a hormone therapy called tamoxifen for 5 years. Doing things in this order may prevent me from having radiation. None of this made any sense at first but now we understand how it works. Before anything I will have a needle biopsy to see if the suspicious "lymph node" on the MRI does indeed have cancer in it. I would be happy to explain things further in you would like - just call me. I am feeling confident in this decision but any concerns I would love to hear. Now I am off to find a wig - I only have a week before these lovely locks come out.

Reset button

I was reflecting on things today. I realized that pre-diagnosis I thought I had everything figured out. All the pieces fit so nicely together. Maybe not so much. Perhaps this is a little reset button - to change my views on things - start from scratch again and work my way up. I can already see that I will be a different person on the other side of this. My hope is that all of the good parts of me will still be intact at the end with the addition of better parts. I hope I can maintain my happy-go-lucky attitude throughout or at least when this is over. I hope my kids will come to understand that there are struggles in life but you can always get through them. I hope they learn how to be strong and persevere . I hope they learn to rely on God - especially when things seem too big. I wish with all my heart that they didn't have to see me go through this, I wish their lives right now could just be worry free - but the fact is they do have to see me go through this. I learned strength and grace watching my own mother - I hope I can do the same for my own children.

More later......

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Three today

I woke up at 5am this morning and could not for the life of me fall back to sleep. After 3 VERY LONG appointments today I am very tired. I met with two plastic surgeons today - one I did not like and one that I think is fantastic. He has the reputation that I am looking for and his techniques and practice are really geared towards reconstruction (rather than purely elective) surgery. I also met with the first oncologist who I also didn't like so I will have to keep looking.
I also received news about my MRI and from that it does not look very good. They think they can see not only the one tumor but also a second. They also think that they see cancer in a lymph node. All signs pointing towards chemotherapy. I will have a couple more appointments tomorrow and I will make a decision about what type of surgery I am doing and with whom. My wonderful and amazing husband has held my hand in every appointment and has been my savior today. He put off his job (which he really needs right now) and spent his time with me. I love you John. I am turning the phone off - I need to just hang with my kids tonight. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lets try this again....

OK. Had an appointment with my "second opinion" surgeon today. Turns out I actually know who she is and she goes to my church. Because the stupid imaging center that did my MRI did not give me the CD (against their policy???) she only had the written report of the MRI. I ended up with the help of her phone call going to get the CD and bringing it back to her office. She will review it with her own radiologist and get back to me. From the written report it looks like there is more there than originally seen. Two additional highly suspicious masses were seen in the same area as the first. Her next step would most likely be another quick biopsy to confirm it is cancer and then decide on the course of treatment/surgery. She did the gene testing on me but that takes two weeks to get back. I will make a decision before these results are back. I have 3 appointments tomorrow. Two plastic surgeons and one oncologist.

I have decided that this blog will be my place to log information. Feel free to pass it on to others if they are asking about what is going on. I will have the most up to date info on this blog the minute I can get to my computer. I will also try and call as many people as I can but I am so overwhelmed by all of your love and concern it is hard for me to keep up. I will do my best and I hope this helps. I am blown away by all of the people that are supporting us and loving us and praying for us - from close family and friends to extended family and acquaintances. Thank you all so much! We feel all of that love coming our way!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Several bittersweet days in the past week. On new years day our good friend Janell's father passed away. He lived right next door to Janell and we all knew him well. He was always good for a laugh and loved to play poker with the boys. We will miss him very much. That same day Janell's oldest son married the love of his life in Texas. We were not able to attend the wedding but heard it was just beautiful. God works in mysterious ways.

Yesterday was Janell's fathers memorial and it was also my good friend Julie's birthday. The memorial was beautiful and Julia sang one of our favorite songs during it. We went back to Janell's house for some excellent Italian food and spent time getting to know the rest of her family that was in town and reminiscing the good times with Janell's father. Fortunately we were able to celebrate Julie's birthday the night before and had a wonderful time catching up with her and her family (they moved down to the LA area awhile ago). Julie has always made me laugh with her dry wit and unexpected commentary. She used to come to my classes when she lived up here and she put up with all kinds of heckling from me while I was teaching. I love her and miss having her in my life on a regular basis.

I can appreciate the dichotomy of these events happening at the same time. Some times we can't enjoy the sweet unless we taste the bitter with it. I guess that is why I love dark chocolate so much.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Glad to have the day off but hard to remind myself and others of that. I also decided that I am going to try and be really healthy in what I eat, drink, how I sleep etc during the rest of the week but on Fridays it just doesn't count. Food for my soul.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


For my list (which keeps getting longer the more people I talk to - or make that the more people talk to me)

Cancer don'ts - Tofu

Cancer dos - Eggplant, curry and green tea (eaten not steeped).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Amazing how one little upsetting thing about this diagnosis/treatment can throw me into a tizzy and make my day a frustrating one where my mind is consumed by only that. On the other hand one itsy bit of good news will keep me flying for awhile. My perspective on the everyday struggles have completely changed. I used to worry about what was for dinner all of the time - not anymore - cereal anyone? Gym schedules - classes - personalities - HA! These are trivial things in life. I thank God everyday for the health and safety of my family. I cherish the snuggles I get from my children. I hug everyone I love just a little bit longer - not because I need to but because I don't want to waste any of that love - I want them to know their value in my life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our new photographer

Some of Jack's fine work. They are available for sale (so he says - hee hee!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Our Trip!

Christmas morning
Christmas evening

Grandma Hink's pudding

Cancer Free Friday

I am declaring Friday - Cancer Free Friday. I am not going to think about it or talk about it on Fridays. You know how great Fridays feel looking forward to the weekends? I want to feel that way and I think it will be healthy to have a day I can be normal and think about other things. You in?