Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Feeling defeated...

Have you ever worked your ass off at something and it just doesn't have the result that you want it to? That's how my appointment today can be summed up.  

We left the house at 6:30am this morning, was having my brain scan by 8:30am and by 10:30am, I had to hold in the tears because the results were not what the doctor nor myself were hoping for. Honestly, there were glimmers of progress, such as some shrinking, but he certainly thought there would be more and seeing his disappointment left me wanting to run out of his office in tears. He also saw VERY small new things (grrrrr). I can't really explain what it's like to have yuck growing in my's unsettling to say the least. Overall he said he would currently call the activity in my brain stable, which in the world of metastatic cancer is a good thing, however, like I said, his reaction left me definitely feeling defeated.

And, so here are my raw and ugly emotions when I write a post on a day like today. Honestly, I was thinking it wasn't a good idea to share yesterday's post with everyone because now I must fill you all in with today's less than Excellent news. I'm not one who enjoys people feeling bad for me.

Now I will end by saying I will get over this just like I do every other time. I will pick my butt off the pavement, carry on and keep fighting. But, truthfully if I didn't wallow in my own self pity now and then, I don't think I'd be human. The "bruise" from today's appointment will fade quickly and life will continue one hour at a time.

Thanks everyone for your love, prayers and positive vibes. Feeling the love in my heart certainly makes for quicker healing. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A quick update...

Hello all, first let me send out my heartfelt thank for all the love and kindness regarding my memere. As you know, loss is hard, no matter the age or circumstance. We all continue to heal and keep our priceless memories in our hearts. Once again, my family and I are so grateful and feel very blessed to experience the continuous love and support. So, thank you.

Tomorrow morning at 8:00, I will be having a brain MRI to follow up with the brain radiation I had a short time ago. I learned a new term since my last scan...scanxiety. The anxiety is not actually because of the scan itself, but the results they will reveal. I'm feeling optimistic, but I also continue to be cautiously optimistic, as that is my defense mechanism. The good thing is I will find out the result on the same day so I don't have to continue with the scanxiety for a long period of time. 

(By the way, I can't take credit for "scanxiety", another Metavivor came up with it and boy, could I relate.)

I will fill you in tomorrow with my results. Any positive thoughts and or prayers are always appreciated.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What could you do with 94 years?

When you think about how much each of us can accomplish on a daily basis, you can just imagine what you could do in 94 years of life.  I saw my memere for the last time in this world on Monday evening. I was able to spend time with her, think about her impact on my life, thank her for being who she was and squeeze as much love into her as I possibly could. She left this world on Tuesday afternoon, yet the ripples of her life will continue on for generations. It's an amazing accomplishment if you really stop and breathe it all in. So amazing that we should all strive to create ripples on a daily basis with the main ingredient being LOVE.

Although it has been about nine years since my memere was the same mem I had when I was a child, she still continued to be special and shine her influence on other's lives. I mention her when I speak about my drive to live each day. She became an expert at living in the moment, not due to choice, but to circumstances she was given. It is through her that I genuinely learned how to do the same. It was easy for her to see beauty. She loved walking around the yard to see the flowers, watching the glitter sparkle on a homemade gift hanging from the window, seeing her daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters dressed in pretty clothes, and enjoying meals her sons brought over especially for her.  

Memere resided with my parents for the past 9 years and my family and I were blessed to share many visits with her. In her later years she continued to be a strong and funny woman who spoke with pride about her past and with love and affection for her family. She considered herself blessed on a daily basis. "Look at this, isn't this great to have such a family?"

Yes, Mem, it sure is.

Some may think it would be a burden to care for an aging parent, but my mother and father saw it as quite the opposite.

My mom would leave for work each day and consistently Memere would compliment her on how nice she looked. Daily, she'd thank her for the good food and again, consider herself lucky to have a family like hers. It's not to say that there weren't some hard days, but there were always blessings shared...and always "I love yous" exchanged each night.  

It was my mom's mission to help my memere live out the rest of her life as happily and contently as she could. She achieved just that, even to the very end. Anyone who knows my mom (and dad) knows they are expert givers; others are always the priority. Mom continuously loves with her whole heart and is happiest doing for others. To be a witness to such selfless love with my mem was certainly a gift to me and anyone else who saw it.

The younger memories I have of my grandmother remind me of how clever, creative and smart she was. She could create things without patterns just by looking at them. Things like Christmas Villages, my crocheted wedding bells, knit hats and scarves and an old childhood quilt will help to keep all the memories close to my heart.

 I remember making surprise visits on some Saturdays to ask Mem to make crepes. I remember the handmade raspberry jam we rolled in the middle and the watered down orange juice we were served. I remember how my grandfather would help with serving us and I especially remember how it felt so special to be a part of their day.

Hopefully I'll be able to get the recipe mastered and even be able to make crepes or pies for my own children one of these days, but I'm not sure they'll be as good as I remember them. 

Saying Goodbye is not easy, especially when you have a memere who's been part of your life for 44 years.

Mem, I will miss an infinite number of  things about you. 
I will miss hearing the pride in your voice as you talk about your parents and 10 brothers and sisters.
I will miss hearing about about how lucky you are to have such a "close family".
I will miss your spunk and sense of humor.
I will miss your compliments.
I will miss watching you find simple joy in each day. 
I will miss taking selfies with you.
I will miss my children getting to grow up beside you(but feel so blessed to have had you this long).

I will miss kissing your cheek and telling you I love you.

I will miss YOU.xo

Although you have so many fans here on this Earth, I believe your biggest fan has been waiting a very long time for you. Tell Pepere we send our love and kisses. There's no need to tell him to take good care of you, because we know for sure he will.

Rest in Peace Sweet Memere, I love you to the moon and back.  

And by the way, I hope I have inherited some of your kick ass strength. I've never met a stronger 94 year old.

"Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is - no matter what form it takes- you are still, you are at peace."

-Eckhart Tolle

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's my birthday!

Here we go again. It's been almost a month since my last post. I continue to heal from the brain radiation and it has become a bit more difficult for me to express myself. I'm a slower thinker, I have terrible word retrievel, my balance and strength are not what they used to be and I'm just plain tired most of the time. Using our brains is hard work, and for me that's even more evident and exhausting.  That being said, I'm doing ok and the doctor is confident that the procedure worked. We will know for sure in October when I have my brain scan.

But Friday is my birthday and we are going to celebrate...the everyday moments of life. And I will proudly announce that I turn 44, because folks, getting older is a privilege. 

 While thinking of my big 44 coming up tomorrow, I was also reminded of the gifts I have received from people on a daily basis. 
 I have been gifted by family, friends, and complete strangers since being diagnosed with MBC. Here is a short excerpt from the past 16 months. Maybe you're interested in continuing to spread the kindness? I didn't wanted to start with too extensive a list in one post, so for now, here are 10 ideas.  

 Gift Ideas 
(not in any particular order except for #1)
and maybe I should also admit that my favorite gifts are the ones that do not cost a cent, but maybe just a bit of time.


2. Handwritten cards and notes

3. Handmade gifts (from kids and adults)

4. Messages through email, Facebook and texting (short, long, or in between).

5. Flowers and plants (anything to show life's beauty).

6. Jewelry. Lisa Leonard is my favorite site.

7. I'm a quote girl and when it's paired with artwork, it's even better. Valerie Wieners and Kelly Rae Roberts are two of my favorites.

8. Organic Tea and Tea Cups are good for tea drinkers.

9. Comfortable attire is always a good choice. Things like socks, slippers, and pajamas pants are some of my favorites. 

10. Kindness...which seems to be a consistent theme with all these ideas. I'm a recipient of this priceless gift daily.

Happy Birthday to me, now go out and do something kind for someone...create ripples that are infinite, and spread the love. 

And, I have one last birthday wish for me, perhaps it's a tad selfish, but before ending your day tomorrow, educate someone about Metastatic Breast Cancer.  I'm wishing for many more birthday posts in the years to come, all written by me.   

Here is a great link to share. 

Thank you all for being the best damn support system a girl could have, much love. 

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."
-Oprah Winfrey

PS Look for information, coming soon, about our fundraising opportunities for MBC.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The art of living...

Fridays are usually my favorite days, but today, not so much. At 1:40pm this afternoon, I'm scheduled for stereotatic radiation. Basically, it's a precise radiation procedure to specifically target the two spots on my brain that are not stable. Although this is a routine and "simple" procedure for the radiation oncologist, for me, as the patient, it's quite intense and intimidating. I'll be happy when it's done and even happier when they confirm it worked. Last week I went in to have my mask made...I had visions of the movie Silence of the Lambs, right down to the part where I had to bite down on a piece of it so my mouth remains still during the procedure. 

Sometimes the yuck takes over my day and I can't help but focus on the way it's messed up things. Questions and concerns from my two loves tend to rip at my heartstrings the most, but we are all doing the best we can and helping one another to get through the hard moments. 

The Big C doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Every day is a challenge, some days more than others, but I'm still very much alive. I have learned to consciously choose to focus on things that are not part of the yuck...I'd rather not be defined solely by the big C because I'm more than that.

I'm still able to be a momma, show creativity, have conversations, and go for walks. I have a soul that yearns to feel at peace, love others, laugh and feel loved. 

Cancer can go screw itself because I refuse to let it overtake my life. It doesn't deserve that much attention. The biggest payback I can give it is to find happiness in the everyday and LIVE.


Friday, August 5, 2016


When my visit to the doctor ended with my oncologist hugging me, it confirmed the fact that the visit was emotional. The yuck in my body is not leaving me alone and there are some spots, specifically in my brain and lung that need to be taken care of. My doctor feels it needs a specific, stronger treatment to put a stop to it. Monday we will meet with the radiation oncologist to hear the options for the brain and Thursday I start intravenous chemotherapy. Although both areas grew only slight amounts, it is concerning because of where they're located.  

Although I enter each visit with a cautiously optimistic attitude, I kind of felt like yesterday I was shoved off the wave I was finally learning to surf. This has been a rough year, constantly full of treatments, medicines, stalking the Big C and making changes when it starts acting up. It's not only frustrating and exhausting to receive this kind of news, it is terrifying! Honestly, a visit like yesterday makes me feel that much closer to the end of the list from the tool box of treatments. Then what? Well, we all know the answer to that and that is why it's terrifying. Apparently, I still have a large list to work from, but it doesn't seem to make this any easier. I'd rather not become an expert surfer, having to ride all these wild waves everyday. I just want a smooth ocean for a good chunk of time. 

I'm probably working harder at this than I have ever worked in my life. Taking supplements, maintaining a healthy diet, using essential oils, vitamin infusions is more than a full-time job. I currently have multiple doctors weighing in on my treatments and I have to manage all of the them. When I have been working this hard and then I get news like I did yesterday, saying it's frustrating is an understatement.

Luckily the support system I have is supplied with endless kind words, hugs, and love and for that I am grateful. 

In the moment I don't always feel like I can do this, but somehow I'll pick myself up and continue to ride the waves and maybe even get better at it as time progresses. 

"Sometimes you just have to ride the wave you're given."

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Do it anyway...

About a month ago, I was having a conversation with a friend and the unknown fact that I swam in high school came up. I wasn't a star swimmer as I only participated during the school swim season. But, I could do all the strokes and the butterfly was my favorite. Having this conversation got my interest peaked to test out my stroke the next time I was in the water, and I even told her I would text her a video. 

This past week we were on vacation and I used the resort pool to test out whether or not I was continuing to live in my former life. I'm happy to say it was similar to riding a bike and I did it. My legs are a bit weak-looking from the yuck in my body, but for a 43 year old with metastatic breast cancer, I was proud of myself...sorry for the bragging. 

A couple of months ago, I couldn't sit in a car without intense pain and this week I swam the butterfly stroke in a pool. If you would have told me months ago that I would have done that, I wouldn't have believed you. But I even proved myself wrong. 

When you doubt yourself, I challenge you to do it anyway. I think most times you'll be surprised and you'll be glad you made that decision. Most rewards are a result of risks and challenges. 

It's painful for me to look at photos and remember the memories before my new life started last summer. The posts from Facebook pop up from years ago and it brings tears. My old life is gone, only memories and experiences keep us connected. I can hold them in my heart and be grateful they were a part of my life, but if I get too stuck there, it's not helpful. 

So, this small moment, where I was able to connect the old with the new helped me to see that maybe it's not all gone, but merely transformed. It also reminded me to have faith; regardless of the challenges life experience's possess, go for it and do it anyway.