Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Olive Oil and other random thoughts...

Did you know that olive oil has other uses besides for meal preparation in the kitchen?  I found a list of 25 here.  

...and here's #26.  It's been a month since my surgery and I'm still peeling steri-strips off and then after the process of peeling comes the process of getting all the icky glue off my skin.  This morning I was convinced the icky glue was going to be a permanent fixture, however, I'm happy to report that soaking the glue with some olive oil did the trick.  I'm almost "icky glue free".  Just a bit of useful information in case anyone was looking for a way to remove icky glue from their body in a safe, non-toxic manner.  I can't take all the credit for this revelation friend Lauren suggested baby oil...I didn't have any on hand, so I used the olive oil...even better. 

And, moving on...
Some of you have inquired about how to leave a comment on the blog (I love comments...hint, hint...even if it's just to say hello).  You do not have to have a blog or belong to my site if you want to leave a comment.  Simply click comment and you will then see the screen below.  
Choose Name/URL and just type in your name. If you do have a website you'd like to be associated with, add that as your URL, but it is not required.

Thanks for all the positive feedback about my new "do".  You all sure know how to make a girl feel good. 

We're still unclear as to when chemo will be starting.  We're looking at the beginning of next week or the week after.  The anticipation of it is not a fun thing to deal with...UGH!

And a few random photos to go with the random post...
My new favorite of Little Miss

And, my two favorite boys at the Blue and Gold Banquet this past Sunday.

A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation; therefore a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future.
Oliver Goldsmith

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Today was all about hair.  We started the day off by searching for the perfect wig (cough, cough...I mean cranial prosthetic).  My mom and my sweet friend Lauren (who also happens to be my hairdresser) came along.  I imagined the process to be long, daunting and depressing.  To my surprise, it was quite the opposite.  I was able to find a wig that worked for me and within a short amount of time.  I tried a few on...

That one reminded Vic of 
I decided against it...

Baby, Baby, Baby, ooooooooo -it was a tough choice.
But decided on this one...the perfect fit.  An hour later we were walking out of the Salon with my prosthesis.  Yay, another task done...CHECK!
I started the day out thinking I would find something I would be ok with, but I must admit, I kind of like my new head of hair  (and it's even better now that Lauren trimmed it for me).

And what fun is it for Mommy to have a wig if the kids can't try it on?

E's uncle immediately saw the resemblance and created this.

Lauren cut my other head of hair today's short! The plan is to go even shorter next week.  It's only hair (me convincing myself it's ok) and now with my back-up, I'm all set.

“People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I 

don't know, I’m never there.” 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Picking up my sword...

Today is the day to pick up my sword again....I'm ready!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Watch Me

A friend recently posted this on his Facebook page.  Of course I loved it and told him I was stealing it.

Let me be honest. I would say about 90% of me believes this and the other 10%...UGH!  I strive everyday to get to 100%, but geez, it's so hard!  ...and, for the past few days, I've been in a bit of a rut.  I'm feeling sorry for myself, and that just isn't a good thing...I'm wallowing way too much.  I figured if I confess to this behavior, I will make myself more accountable to knock it off.  I didn't even start the chemo treatments yet and I'm allowing it to get the best of me....not good!

I've never been one to exude confidence and I guess that goes with fighting the Big C as well.  The husband says maybe I'll be able to order him a coffee at the drive-thru after I beat this thing.  You see I'm painfully shy and have never really been all that comfortable with attention, thus leading me to feel anxious and overwhelmed.  I'm not that fond of people watching me. (I know I've mentioned this recently and I did also touch upon it in my Perception Post a while back). Yes, it is even difficult for me to order a coffee at Dunkin Donuts (although I have gotten better about it).  But I think he's right, I'm pretty sure I will be able sing the order at the drive-thru by the time I kick this intruder's big sorry @$$!  Adding cancer survivor to my resume is sure to give me a boost in my confidence.

"I can and I will." has been my mantra for the past couple days; now I just have to internalize it and its meaning.  This may be one of the few times in my life I would welcome people to 
"Watch Me".

"Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing."
-Author Unknown

Friday, February 24, 2012

22 days

Eight years ago today, at 22 days old, E came home to his forever family.  I sat in the back seat and stared at him the entire ride home.  

These are the first photos taken of him at home. :)

 I am so grateful and proud to be your Momma. I love you E! 

"The greatest experience, the one which shakes a soul with hopes and fears, the results of which are never ending, and incidentally, the one which pays the biggest dividends, is to be found in the adoption of children."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


So I've noticed when talking to people that there is a bit of confusion about my upcoming treatments.  The most common question... "If the scans didn't show anything, why chemotherapy?"  Unfortunately, it's not that easy to be sure all the cancer is gone from my body because the Big C is microscopic...this means there could be cells lurking in there waiting for an opportune time to intrude once again.  My cancer has been treated and now the oncologist works to cure it, so it never returns again...well, that's no guarantee either, but he will do his best.  The chemotherapy works to kill off all those evil cells and stop them in their tracks before any further invasion takes place.  

I'm working on visualizing the medicine as coming into my body to clean me out and rid myself of the Big C.  At the same time I'm trying my best to put the all too familiar fears to the back of my mind.  It's definitely challenging, and the anticipation of it all can just about make me vomit.  But, who has time for that?  

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.

Japanese Proverb

P.S. Anything else you're curious about?  Just ask...I may just answer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Last week when I had my follow up appointment, the doctor wrote me some prescriptions, one for a breast prosthetic and one for a cranial prosthetic.  The first goes without explanation and the second, for those of you who are not quite sure, is a wig.  You see if it is referred to as a wig, the insurance company will not cover it, so the doctors call it by its fancy name.  Call it whatever you want, it's still a wig, and I'm still freaking out about the thought of needing one.  I decided though that perhaps I should refer to myself as hairless instead of bald, like a certain breed of cat.  I'll be a hairless human, sounds less dramatic doesn't it?  If I can find a wig (cough, cough), I mean cranial prosthetic as miraculous as the breast prosthetic, I'll be all set.  I feel okay with clothes on and I can now wear just about anything without being insecure and uncomfortable, and sometimes, even without a scarf.   No one would ever's just that good (sorry no photos).  There is a whole line of mastectomy products out there...who knew? 

And, on a completely different topic...
E and his friend cleaned up a street in our neighborhood the other day as part of a Cub Scout project.  They were announcing each item as they picked it up to throw it away.  The bigger the trash item, the better...look at the grin on his face.

They collected two barrels of trash.
Little Miss (complete with veil) and I went to snap a few photos.

As I face today, and everyday, I remind myself of this....

Thanks Mom and Dad for the reminder.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible - it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.

Barbara de Angelis

Wishing you a Sunday filled with love...

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Believe me, I know what it's like to be grumpy, but I also think most of us can choose whether or not we remain in that state. We can decide to be grumpy every day if we want to; I'm sure we all have a laundry list of things we could wallow about. Most times, I choose not to remain in the idle state of misery for too long, it is unpleasant for all, including myself. It is also a downward spiral to complete and utter yucky-ness!

Today I ventured to the store with Mom, primarily to find a gift for my nephew, but I also did some retail therapy (forgot to mention that one in my therapy post) and purchased a few items for myself :) .
I got to the register and handed the cashier my coupons. After she was finished totaling the order, I realized I hadn't given her my store card, so I handed her that as well. When she entered the card number, the coupons came off the order so the entire purchase amount could be added to the card. She turned and told me I could swipe my credit card. I politely (with Mom as my witness) asked her if she subtracted the coupons. She proceeded to yell at me...yes, YELL (I am not exaggerating...ask Mom). Why, you ask? The only answer I have for that is that she was Grumpy...grumpy with herself, insecure and in turn grumpy and downright rude to me.

She said "You just gave me the card now so that's why that happened. I had to go back because you just gave me the card."

"Ok, so why did you tell me to swipe my credit card?"

"I didn't ask you to swipe your credit card." At this point I'm standing there with my mouth WIDE open and completely dumbfounded...I mean she kidding me (or have I completely lost my mind)? I asked her to just please enter the coupons and the transaction was completed without any further incidences...and she told me to have a good night...WEIRD!
The whole exchange was my name Alice and did I just fall through the rabbit hole? Mom and I both left the store in disbelief. What on Earth was her problem? Obviously she was having a moment and it was in my best interest to get the heck out of there before she had another one...GEEZ!

I'm not really sure what my point is with this post, but goodness people, try not to be so gosh darn grumpy, and if you are, please don't take it out on me!

P.S. I have consistent trouble with the font size when I'm making posts. I adjust the font size and colors, but when I post, it doesn't apply...hmmmm....sorry it's wonky!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


One definition of therapy on is

any act, hobby, task, program, etc., that relieves tension.

I believe in therapy, pet therapy, psychotherapy, any and all of the above. We all need to be able to express our feelings in a healthy and effective manner.

Little Miss does just fine expressing hers. :)
Traditional therapy where I would disclose my feelings to a therapist would not necessarily work for me. I would be too uncomfortable and would be completely preoccupied with the impression I was setting forth.

It seems odd to think that I'm more comfortable sharing my feelings with over forty people a day versus one, but, in this case, it's true. This blog serves as my therapy. It's a much more effective tool for me. I'm able to process what I am going through. I can say something and if I'm not clear, I can delete and try again. I can write at my own pace and if I want to bawl my eyes out while I'm typing, then so be it...there is no one present to judge me and so my feelings are raw and real. There is no pressure for me to say the "right" thing because I don't have to press publish until I'm ready.

I'm grateful to you, who have chosen to come along on this journey with me; I never expected that so many would be all that interested in my daily dialogue. I am overwhelmed by the continuous love you have given me. Thank you for reading and encouraging me as I participate in my daily therapy; I truly do feel like I have an army fighting along side of me.

"I write first for myself as a therapeutic process, to get stuff out and to deal with it."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Today was a good day!
A day to sing....

This past Monday I had a CT Scan and a Bone Scan, as recommended by one of the oncologists at the center. There is something very scary about having your entire body scanned to make sure there are no signs of cancer about anxiety!

..."this means your cancer has not metastasized" said my caring, compassionate, competent, intelligent, adorable surgeon as he reviewed the results. Thank You God! I'm not sure that I have ever been so relieved in my life.

And then to make things even a bit sweeter, out came my drain. The process was completely painless and now I have one less thing to manage as I continue to heal. I can even take a real shower....whoop, whoop!

Yes, today was a good day!

"Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-A-Dee-A
My oh my what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headed my way
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-A-Dee-A"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Again, I am probably about to share too much information, but what the heck....I mean really, I've already talked about cleavage much worse can it really be? Let me apologize now if I offend anyone.

Two weeks ago today, I had a mastectomy. As part of this surgery, the surgeon inserts a drain to take care of excess fluid that the body automatically sends to the wound. The fluid drains into a "bulb" and the fluid is measured on a daily basis. Within a couple of weeks, as the fluid diminishes, the drain is removed. Why am I disclosing all this information? My point is coming, bear with me...

Today as I got into my BFF's car after dropping Little Miss off at preschool, I felt that lovely, unmistakable sensation I get from a leaky drain. Although I carefully applied my gauze and medical tape prior to leaving the house, I leaked through. Because we were already running late for Avo's funeral, I didn't want to turn around to go back home. We made a stop at Rite Aid and quickly grabbed medical scissors, tape, gauze and alcohol (the kind you use to disinfect).

Upon getting to the register, the lovely cashier said, "Whoa, looks like you girls are performing surgery."
"No, the surgery already happened."
"Well, geez, I hope that person is ok."

Oh she's ok lady, she's standing right in front of you!
Although I was tempted to inform the "funny" cashier that I was the patient, I chose not to waste any more time with chit chat and took it as a compliment. I am able to easily blend into society with baggy shirts, scarves, and a small little pillow insert :) in my camisole.

That's the thing with the Big C. I look fine, I feel fine. How is it possible that these deadly cells have been lurking inside of me? ...and why, if I feel good right now and the cancer has been surgically removed from my body, must I go through treatments full of yucky side effects?

As adults it's hard to process the circumstances and for children, even more so. I catch my kids staring at me and I'm guessing they're wondering why I don't look sick. Soon enough I will look sick. I will have the undeniable trademark of being an official cancer patient....a bald head, something not so easily hidden from the outside world. This part of the process is hard. The anticipation of how I am going to feel, what I am going to look like and how my kids are going to handle the entire situation is like a persistent broken record in my brain. I do know one thing...that it will all be ok in the end. This does, for a brief moment, make it a bit easier.

For now, I'm embracing the fact that I can go on with day to day activities in virtually a typical manner without the outside world having any knowledge about my "leak".

“We must have infinite faith in each other. If we have not, we must never let it leak out that we have not.”

-Henry David Thoreau

PS If I see any of you in the near future, please refrain from telling any "leaky" jokes; I probably won't find them amusing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Safety Net

When I have my momentary falls from grace, my family and friends envelope me in a circle of love.

Since my diagnosis one month ago, there has not been a day where I didn't feel the immense love and support from those around me. They leave me no option but to get up and keep going. I am so grateful for this "safety net".

“Family... a group experience of love and support.”

-Marianne Williamson

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What If...

As much as I try to make "What if" not part of my vocabulary, it has made a frequent "appearance" in my thought process this past weekend.

My BFF bought me this book when I had my surgery.She started reading some parts aloud during our hospital sleepover.

good stuff, deep stuff , stuff that makes you think...

It's also full of quotes, something I'm rather fond of :) There is something to be said for a good quote...not more than a couple dozen words that can say oh so much!
Tonight I decided I needed a quote fix...and lucky you, you get one too.

"Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the Universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you."
-Shakti Gawain

"Faith is to believe that which you do not yet see; and the reward of this faith is to see that which you believe."
-Saint Augustine of Hippo

"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will."
-George Bernard Shaw

As I conclude this post, I also think...why does "What if" have to have a negative connotation.

What If?

-I only get good news from this day forward?
-I think positive thoughts?
-I take all the positive energy and love that surrounds me and use it to kick Cancer's &%@?
-I come out stronger in the end?
-I take each day one moment at a time?
-I embrace each moment?
-I don't waste one more second worrying about things that are out of my control?

I miss the days when life was simple...What if I never tried to follow that rainbow?
-Author Unknown

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Temporary Position...

So, I've decided that fighting the Big C and getting healthy is really my job for the next year. Unfortunately, I didn't apply for such a position, but I've been selected to fill it...yay for me. I've been told by many that this experience will forever change me...I'm pretty certain I'm already starting my emotional metamorphosis. I'm also ready to get moving and see where I am at the end of this rocky trek...let's get this over with!

Just like all my previous jobs, I intend to do my best work and maybe even be an overachiever at times. I am going to try to make the conscious effort not to allow it to take over my life. I know it sounds ridiculous, but really, I would like to continue with business as usual as much as I can. You know, go for treatments, rest and carry on...why must I neglect the other aspects of my life for this job? I never have for any other, so why start now? After all, this job is only a temporary position...thank goodness!

"When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it."
Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, February 9, 2012


March 2011

Rest In Peace Avozinha

This year your 99th birthday celebration will be blessed with the angels in Heaven.

We Love You!

To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fall from grace...

You know most of the time, I really am doing fine and I feel like I can walk this road with some grace, hope and determination. I get through most days feeling content and happy and a tear is never shed. Today, however, it's been hard. I had my follow up with the surgeon to go over the pathology reports from last week's surgery. "There was some cancer found in one of the six lymph nodes." Gulp, swallow, &%$@#! Really? I tried to keep my composure as my kind-hearted surgeon continued to talk (and really began to sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown cartoons). I couldn't do eyes welled up with tears...

My surgeon continues to be extremely positive, hopeful and confident that the Big C can be treated and cured. I have complete faith in his word. Today, though, I just wanted to rewind to my life before the Big C. This life I am living is just too darn scary at the moment and I don't always feel fit to play the part.

Today, I have had to make a conscious effort to really look at the positives. It was only in one lymph node, the mass was actually smaller than originally thought, I'm healing well from my surgery and feeling good....I can do this.

I've really never been into climbing mountains, but I intend on facing this one head on and scaling it. I will move forward and conquer this, but in doing so, I may have my momentary falls from grace...

“Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul”

-William Hazlitt

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


"He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind."

Although I believe this to be true, I must admit that I have, at certain times, been envious of others. Mentally it isn't the healthiest thing in the world, but if I am being completely honest with myself, I have to confess that envy has been present at certain times in my life, now being one of them.

About 12 years ago, when we tried and tried to have a baby and couldn't, it seemed everyone I saw and came into contact with was pregnant. Everywhere I went, I would see pregnant bellies. I would stare longingly at them and it was as if they had eyes and were staring back at me. I had "baby belly" envy...big time!!! It was hard for me to look past the moment and see the something bigger that was the plan for my life. I indeed was supposed to be a mother, but not to babies I would grow in my belly. My babies grew in my heart. They are my babies, I am their momma, we are a family and we love each other beyond words.

And now, well, you can imagine what I see all day and night....yes people, cleavage! It's everywhere...especially on television...I mean really. I imagine that most men had noticed this phenomenon quite some time ago, but now it is glaringly obvious to me as well. I guess you could say I'm suffering from a bit of "cleavage envy". Not that I was ever one to feel confident enough to let it all hang out, but still it was there, at least for me to know. Now, not so much. Apparently, once again, there is a different that is not so clear at this moment, but will hopefully help me continue to evolve emotionally through this process and indeed, obtain peace of mind. (I'll spare you the photos to go along with this portion of my post...just turn on your television :)

"The question is not really whether or not you go on, but rather how are you going to enjoy it."
-Robert Thurman

Monday, February 6, 2012


I have a thing for scarves, and apparently everyone knows this because I think I probably only purchased about 2 of the scarves I own.

Scarves come in handy to hide the hives that creep up on my neck and face during meetings, they add some fun to outfits, they keep necks warm in the winter, and now, well they can help me feel a bit more confident when I'm out and about with my "new" body....I guess they serve as a comfort for me.
There are many, many ways to tie a scarf. Check out this link.
The typical knot I use is the knot in hand.
Thanks to all those who have added to my extensive selection of scarves...I like them....a lot!
a bit of knowledge....
Scarf-a long, broad strip of wool, silk, lace, or other material worn
about the neck, shoulders, or head, for ornament orprotection against cold, drafts
, etc.; muffler.

A bit of humor....
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain

and a bit of truth(for myself) to ponder...
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.
Audrey Hepburn