Monday, January 30, 2012

This Sucks...

Sorry for the crude way to title the blog post, but, there is really no other way to describe the night before a surgery. That is the first thing that came to my mind and lucky get to hear it. Yuck, yuck and yuck!

Moving on...I know I sound like a broken record, and for that I am sorry. But, I continue to be "driven" by the insane amount of support and love I have been feeling, especially this week. I am blessed to have so many people in my life who are cheering me on. It is humbling. Everyone should get to experience this kind of love; it's really remarkable! Thank you!!!

"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in."
-Morrie Schwartz

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Enough Said

I check out Julie's blog daily, and every Sunday she posts something from the bible. Check out today's.

Enough Said....

Good Riddance

I wouldn't say I'm fine with my upcoming surgery, but I'm about ready to have this "alien blob" (that is what it is referred to in the book, Punk Wig) taken out of me. I've mentioned before that it feels like it's growing by the minute. Of course, that is not really the case, but it will be nice to have it G-O-N-E!

That being said, I've never really had to stay in the hospital for any length of time. I've had things like wisdom teeth pulled and other small procedures done, but I have never stayed in the hospital overnight as a patient (no not even to give birth...for those of you who are not aware, my beautiful blessings became ours through adoption). And worst of all, my surgery is not until late afternoon on Tuesday and I can't eat or drink anything after midnight on Monday. Oh joy to that...we'll be having a feast and a gallon of water at 11:45 if anyone wants to join us. So, I'm just a tad nervous about the ENTIRE experience. I'll be glad when it has all passed and Wednesday has arrived.

Now that the whining is complete, I intend to come through this surgery with flying colors and get back to a "new" normal sometime in the very near future. I'm not one to sit around and do nothing, so I'm hoping that won't be the case for very long.

My list of things to do to have an A+ surgery experience (not necessarily by order of importance):

-Reiki at 4pm the night before
-Upload meditation and relaxation music to my phone
-Eat a full meal just prior to midnight the day before my surgery
-Feel all the love and prayers surrounding me on that day
-Good night sleep
-Think of my family
-Be confident that all will be fine
-Positive thoughts, positive thoughts, positive thoughts

Can anyone think of anything else I'm missing?

I'm not sure that I can really ever prepare myself completely for surgery, but at this point, I'm as ready as I'll ever be. I'm certainly ready to say "good riddance" to the alien blob!

"Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control."
Richard Kline

Just because I don't like to post without pictures, here is a picture of my two memere's from E's birthday celebration...Oh so cute!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I know it's hard to believe, but tonight, I don't have much to say...

So, I will share one of my favorite things from our little man's 8th birthday celebration.

I bought an app for my I-Phone called Pocket Booth and we had all sorts of fun at the Super Mario party, complete with Staches and all.

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
~Eudora Welty

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I have debated as to whether or not I should write this, as I have had so many thoughts floating around in my head about it, but I don't want to be offensive to anyone. First, let me start off by saying (again) that I am so grateful and truly humbled by the ongoing support and love I have felt by so many.

Every day there are people diagnosed with cancer and one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. On the day the receptionist called me to make my initial appointment, she had 20 (yes 20!) new referrals on her desk that morning. Many of us may be diagnosed with the same type of cancer, our experiences and treatments may be very similar or they may be as different as we are. Emotionally, we may be diverse as well. What one person may find helpful, I may not. This diagnosis has forced me to examine myself even more closely and really know what I need to do as an individual to be able to make it through this muck. I believe I am "getting it". I am learning to meditate, exercise more, and live in the moment.

There is a certain etiquette that people should have in regards to talking to others when they are diagnosed with cancer. EVERYONE has a story, some are helpful, others, not so much. I probably do not need to hear every detail of your third cousin's battle with breast cancer because her story is not my story. I don't need to know that she almost died on the operating table or that they thought that it had spread throughout her body....yikes! These are fears that I fight to push to the back of my mind each and every minute of the day...shame on you for making them prevalent thoughts in my head. Are there snip-its that I would find motivating? Absolutely!...tell me how she was diagnosed, fought like hell and won, and that she is doing great now 15 years later-thank you! Tell me that you went through it and I can too, tell me that it was a tough road, but you are healthy now, and, if you're super positive, tell me it was a "breeze" (yes, someone actually said that). I am well aware that the other stories exist (and I am not in denial), but who wants to hear them in the midst of this? I need to hear positive, motivating stories where others have fought and won!

I also ponder the choices I have made in my life that may have been the cause of the Big C. "What did I do to cause this to happen to my body?" In this case, those past decisions cannot have any impact on the situation at the moment. It is not healthy for me to "go there" emotionally, as it does not help me to move forward. The truth of the matter is, no one really knows the cause of breast cancer. It's probably not a wise idea to mention to me that I had a part in causing my own breast cancer, because, once again, I've already thought of that.

There are so many loving and caring people who want to do anything they can to help me through this process and I am able to see this intent in everyone that I have come into contact with. What do you say to someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer? Sometimes it may be best not to say anything...

My story is not "exactly" like someone else's because we are not the same people. I can gain insight, knowledge and different perspectives by listening to others, and for that, I am so grateful. At this point, I have to surround myself with motivating and positive people whose stories also exude those characteristics. Sometimes, it IS acceptable, and often welcomed to just say nothing at all...a hug will do ;)

A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The boy

It's hard to believe that this little boy of ours will be turning 8 next week. Yikes! In another 8 years, he'll be driving!

These are some more of the pictures taken as part of his "Mario" shoot.

My mom says E is a kid who shows raw emotion, the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is really no guessing as to how things are going, it's usually written all over this little boy's face.
He really is such a sweet, sensitive, and happy little man ....the pictures tell this and, so, they make me smile :)

A boy's story is the best that is ever told.
-Charles Dickens

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Things change when you are diagnosed with cancer and when you have kids it is all the more complicated. Although they are my primary motivation to kick cancer in the big ole behind, they are also the source of many of my tears. This diagnosis is hard enough for adults to deal with, but gosh, to ask a child to understand it, well that just isn't right! Unfortunately, however, I am not in charge, I did not choose this, but I can be in control of how I respond to it. From the beginning, we have chosen to be honest with our kids, but we have also been cautious with how we have presented information to them. After all, they are children, and so they should be treated as such. By keeping things from them, they would've created things in their own thoughts and imaginations, getting fact and fiction confused, provoking more anxiety. Instead, they know Mommy has cancer. (E response was, "you need to get rid of that Mommy!" I couldn't agree more.) They know Mommy has to have surgery to remove it, they know it may take a long time to get it all out of Mommy's body and that Mommy may lose her hair because of the strong medicine the doctors need to use to get rid of it. Most importantly, they know Mommy is going to be ok, but it may take some time. E, especially, ponders all these facts and occasionally brings it up in passing, but overall, at the moment, he is doing fine and so is Little Miss. We are all surrounded by an incredible support system that will not allow any of us to be anything but ok.

I searched for some books to help address the Big C with the kids, but sadly, I found few that I was willing to read to them. One, called Punk Wig, is my favorite. It tells the story, but in a way that is clear, concise, truthful, fun-loving and positive. I give it two thumbs up!

I hope and pray that all of us, especially my two children, become stronger, more confident and more appreciative of all that surrounds us as a result of this experience.

"Optimistic parents raise resilient children, but pessimistic parents raise broken offspring. Wherever there is darkness, show your children the light."
- Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Monday, January 23, 2012

Celebrate 8

We're getting ready for a certain little man's birthday around here, so we have lots of distractions going on. This week's topics may be expanded to include some Super Mario and mustaches or moustaches...whichever you prefer.

I Mario"tized" E by using a free program called Picnik. Unfortunately, the program is closing in April, which makes me so very sad. So, if for some reason you'd like to add a mustache to any of your photos, head on over there before April.

"boy (boi) n. a male child, lad, youth, not yet a man, often a magnet to dirt, toys and adventure."

Sunday, January 22, 2012


"Promise me you'll always remember- you're braver
than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and
smarter than you think." A. A. Milne

Today I start with a quote sent to me by a friend (thanks Jen! xo) I think it's significant to start with it because it would be beneficial for me to begin each day by reading it.

Before the Big C I used to look at others in awe at how they were able to face adversity with such grace, courage, determination and strength. I was quite certain I would never in a million years be able to do the same. In fact, when I first found out I had cancer, I said "I am not strong enough to deal with this." My family insisted I was and said I had to be...after all, there is not another option.

I'm not certain that I have mastered being able to deal with adversity by displaying all the characteristics listed above, but I am trying, and in some ways, I have even surprised myself. I get out of bed each morning (with less angst than the day before), make lunches for my kids, and bring them to school. I have begun to take each moment for what it is without looking beyond it and those morsels of time have indeed become a bit sweeter. There have even been moments during this past weekend when the BIG C wasn't at the forefront of my thinking; I am learning that it does not have to take over my life.

I guess I CAN do this, and I am...taking it one minute at a time, often with deep cleansing breaths, gratitude for the love that surrounds me, occasional tears, and my inner voice saying "I can do this, I am strong enough!"

So thanks to all of you who believe that I do have it in me, for telling me I do and for helping me to even believe it for myself.

Enjoy a couple morsels from this past weekend.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Random Distraction

Debuting on my blog for the first youngest nephew. Is he the cutest or what? I want to squish him (sometimes I do; he gives the best hugs ever!). When I asked my brother if it was ok if I put a picture of Littlest Cousin on the blog, he agreed only if he received royalties...thank God for fruit snacks!

These two love bugs definitely help to distract me from the "Big C". I consider them free entertainment...they are really more like brother and sister than cousins...they adore each other one minute and are both screaming the next.
He wasn't all that into me taking his picture.
Oh that face!
Little Miss is into wearing her hat ALL the time. When we try to "sneak" it off her head, she is not pleased, and lets us know it (VERY LOUDLY!).
These playmobiles were my brothers' and now Little Miss and Littlest Cousin each have some they play with at Memere and Pepere's house...such a great toy!
Swim's been fun to tag along with mom when she takes the littles to lessons. They are doing soooo well!

A slightly random post of some of my daily distractions...two of which are the cutest ever!

You can always find a distraction if you're looking for one.
Tom Kite

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This Time Last Year

I left my camera at Mom and Dad's so no new pictures to upload. But, since I promised a post with pictures, here are some from this time last year. We had so much snow! E and Little Miss are itching to get out and play in the fluffy white stuff. When we had a dusting the other night, Little Miss was ready to get her sled and make snow angels. I'm not really a big fan of snow, but there is something about the tranquility and peacefulness of the surroundings when it first snows. It really is beautiful!

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Robert Frost

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


WARNING: This post is a bit more detailed than past posts. If you're not into details, read no further.

When the Dr. starts off the conversation with the word "Unfortunately", generally it goes downhill from there. However, there were some "sweet" scenarios that came from today's visit to balance out some of the "bitter".

"Unfortunately" was followed with the news that there were additional spots in the same area found when the MRI was done. This means that instead of the surgery being a lumpectomy, it will now have to be a mastectomy to be sure all cancerous spots are removed.

What, you say, could possibly be the silver lining with this scenario? Well, we're all hopeful that through surgery it is found that my cancer is non-invasive, meaning it is contained to that one area. This would mean that the surgery would remove all of it and I wouldn't necessarily need chemo and/or radiation...that my friends is for sure the "sweet" part of all of this. Because of the "sweet", I decided to not let myself wallow for too long (note to self: do not drive in the car alone, it leaves too much time to ponder, get anxious and wallow).

And, so we wait...
Surgery is scheduled for the end of the month and my follow-up is at the beginning of February. It's hard to believe it hasn't even been a month since "the itch". Waiting makes time go oh so S---L---O---W

When we were going through the adoption process, it seemed I kept hearing this song repeatedly on the radio, and now this week, don't you know I've heard it at least three times. Waiting, for sure, is the hardest part.

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.
-Carl Jung

PS Another post without pictures...yuck! Pictures for sure tomorrow.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Tomorrow we meet with the surgeon and get the results of the MRI and possibly the genetic testing; this is what I find myself repeating over and over....

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

PS Did you know you could sign up to receive an email of each new blog post? Sign up on the right side of my blog. Some of you have inquired, so I thought perhaps others would be interested.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's a Wonderful Life

George Bailey I am not, but I have found that over the past few weeks, I've had several "It's a Wonderful Life" moments.
Every morning, I have opened up my email and have consecutively received messages of well wishes and prayers from friends and family, some of whom I haven't heard from in quite some time. I am humbled by the outpouring of support and love I have received and that really is what brings tears to my eyes each and!

Yes, this experience is one I wouldn't wish on my own enemy, but the love I am feeling has really been completely overwhelming; it's like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. Of course, I grew up in a house full of love, married a loving husband, have loving kids and wonderfully supportive and loving friends, but this is a whole new level of LOVE. Mom and Dad tell me about people they know praying and doing Novenas, and I can't help but cry. I have never met most of these people. Cards flock my bathroom door so I can read them each morning as I drag my butt out of bed. Text messages and emails are frequent.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I do indeed feel the love and it is the fuel which feeds me on a daily basis. How lucky I am to have all this love and support...some, sadly, do not...

That brings me to my next comment.
Why wait for the something big?
Tell the people around you each and everyday how important they are in your life, why are they special, why you love them so much. None of us are really able to see what's down the road...
... why wait?
"Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition."
-Alexander Smith

"You've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"
-It's a Wonderful Life

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just for fun...

"The more you dress up the more fun you'll have."
- Brian Molko

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I'll be back tomorrow with a little "It's a Wonderful Life" comparison....stay tuned.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stepping out of the box...

Someone please tell me how you can actually get a flattering picture when you're taking it of yourself. It's weird! ...and just AWKWARD (E's favorite new word).

I was trying to get a picture of my new (short) haircut, but unfortunately I kind of had to be in the photos along with the haircut :) The pictures remind me of carnival funny mirrors...geesh.

Anyway, my haircut is part of the process for me...cutting it shorter and shorter, you know before I'm forced to lose it all without any control. This is me being in charge! ROAR!!! There is a certain someone in this house
not a fan of really short hair, but now I guess he's got to adjust as well...sorry honey!

My BFF asked me if I wanted a cough drop today....this was the wrapper....hmmmm.

“God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Today was MRI day. I was definitely nervous, but more so for what the results would show, not necessarily the actual procedure. The procedure itself can be summed up in one word....LOUD- holy buckets (stole that expression from a friend)!!!! I faced head down so I couldn't really see anything and headphones were placed on my head. The music began to play and the tech spoke to me in a voice that reminded me of an operator on a Disney World amusement park ride. "Beautiful!- This will be 6 minutes of noise on this one." Who is she kidding? This is not Disney World Lady! I could not hear a sound coming out of my headphones and the noise she was referring to was what I imagine consecutive gun shots to sound like- some close and some further away. Truth be told, I survived the 18 minutes of noise from my first ever MRI and I even enjoyed the warm Johnny and blanket

..and a few Instagram pictures from today...

One of my good friends posted this on my facebook page today. It was just what I needed to read.

Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day
that says I'll try again tomorrow.
-Mary Anne Radmacher

Monday, January 9, 2012


So today I'm on the topic of hair.

After hearing that I had cancer, my initial thought was of my own mortality. Then when I realized that perhaps I wouldn't die, I thought, I may "just" lose my hair. I can deal with that, after all, it's "just" hair...(this is me trying to convince myself that all is right and good with the world). YIKES! Me, bald? really? I'm kind of freaking out about it. I've been trying to prepare myself by finding a bald app on my phone- when I find a good one, I'll share the results. I figure it will ease the shock when it actually occurs.

Yesterday we went to see Shrek and do you know the entire time I was thinking that perhaps I would resemble the main character but a little less green. Yes, when you're diagnosed with cancer, it pretty much consumes every waking (and sometimes sleeping) thought. The little fellas are actually pretty cute, don't you think?

It's a difficult thing for me especially, as I'm not one to like any extra attention. I turn red from my neck to my forehead just thinking about walking into a room full of people. Walking into a room with a bald head is sure to draw some attention...lets be honest people!

In several weeks I will be experiencing the "wonders of chemo". I'm a hat girl anyway, so I'll now just have one permanently attached to my head, or maybe I'll find a favorite scarf or bandana. There are actually so many websites with products for chemotherapy patients-hats, scarves, wigs, hats with wigs, etc. I actually think these scarves are so very pretty, and these bandanas are really not so bad either. But, my most exciting find was that for$5.50, I can get temporary eyebrow tattoos that last for 2-3 exciting!
(NOTE: For those of you new to blogging, the colored font is a link that brings you to another website.)

Here are some of my favorites!

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.

Instagram fun from this week

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I've never been one who was good with waiting and this proves true once again as I am forced to be patient. Too much idol thinking time is not a good thing when in the midst of this. Dr. Trevor assured me that taking the time to get all the necessary information before moving forward is a good thing...true I suppose. But,

More tests= More anxiety

...all par for the course. Hmmmmmm-I'm not so sure I'm a fan of this Cancer thing.

In the meantime, I've been keeping busy:

-walking daily with mom (we missed one day and it wasn't a good thing for either of us)
-playing with my new phone; I'm already addicted to instagram and words with friends, even though I consistently lose all the games I play.
-text messaging my awesome friends constantly throughout the day; they give me the daily needed pep talks and are my personal cheerleaders. My BFF even sends me a morning greeting everyday to help get my day off on the right foot-sometimes my response is not so pleasant...sorry Shann!
-hanging out all day and everyday at mom and dad's (and pretty much getting nothing else done-who really cares, right?)

By the way, did you know that once you are diagnosed with cancer, you are pretty much convinced that every ache and pain and lump and bump is Cancer. Dr. Trevor asked me if I had any other bumps and I said, "
Yes, all over my body!" He reassured me that that wasn't true...(love him!)
Luckily I was also warned about this when I was first diagnosed (merely a week ago...geez it seems like months) and I try to talk myself off the ceiling (about 50 times a day).

This post has turned into a disconnected rambling of my thoughts at the end of a long sorry for that. I will stop now before things really get crazy.

Enjoy two of my Instagram pics of my daily motivations to kick Cancer's Ass (sorry).

Find patience in the breath of life.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pink Skies

I'll take this as a sign that the heavens are rallying around me.

We all live under the same sky,
but we don't all have the same horizon.
~Konrad Adenauer