Monday, April 30, 2012

Barney and baseball...

I went for my weekly physical therapy appointment this morning as I have for the past few months.  You see, when you have lymph nodes removed, there is the potential for complications; I had 6 removed when I had my surgery.  Immediately after surgery I felt like this guy.

I could not lift my arms above my shoulders.  The scar tissue was so stiff it prevented me from being able to have typical movement.  Getting anything from high shelves in the kitchen proved to be quite challenging and honestly, I was a little nervous that it was a permanent thing.  I'm happy to report that I now have full rotation of my shoulder and the scar tissue in my armpit has loosened up.... PHEW.   Mark, the PT, he does good work.   Now the goal each week is to work to keep the swelling down in my arm. Because the function of the lymph nodes is to drain the fluid in the body and I am now without some of the nodes, it overworks some of the remaining nodes and results in swelling.  
am now the proud owner of a compression sleeve and glove that I wear to help reduce this swelling and every week, I get a lymphatic massage. The massage is actually quite enjoyable; I like to close my eyes and relax for the 45 minutes while Mark does his thing.   

How oh how did I get on this tangent about lymph nodes?  Sorry. 

Onto better's baseball season.  
My little man hit a whopper tonight into the outfield, over second base.  He was so very proud of himself...and we were so very proud of him too!

I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game.

Friday, April 27, 2012


 A Random post means I can't really think of anything with substance to post about so here are several random thoughts and photos that make up a complete post....kinda.

Our yard is covered in dandelions this year.  I don't mind so much, but I'm not sure the husband feels the same.  He probably would not be pleased to know Little Miss was spreading more seeds around.  (sorry honey)
 I put most of my thank you gifts in the mail yesterday.  It's not too late to make a donation and receive a "thank you" from little ole me.  Click here for details.

 My mom and I took the kids to Build A Bear the other day.  E and littlest nephew had never been; it was a fun time for all...complete with Darth Vader and Cinderella dress-up clothes.
 I finished reading this book.  Once I got started, I couldn't put it down.  It was inspiring to say the least.  I'm pretty sure I need to write a post just to reflect on all that it is...
 Do everyone else's children love to swing like my kids?  I love that they are facing each other.

"So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Embracing the Little Boy...

E turned 8 in February and the other day I thought to myself..."Yikes, he is halfway to 16."  
So often I watch him and see that he is getting older and becoming more interested in "big boy" things...and then, I see that he still really is most comfortable being a little boy,....

 ....because that's what he is.  He is ONLY 8, in 2nd grade, likes to play dress-up with his sister (shhhh...don't tell him I told you), still loves his stuffed animals and loves to cuddle with his Momma.  

I'm embracing the camera today with Emily at The Anderson Crew.  Go check out how others are Embracing the Camera too.

“One's age should be tranquil, as childhood should be playful. Hard work at either extremity of life seems out of place."

-Thomas Arnold

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Her Own Boss...

 Little Miss has always been quite independent and sure of herself, much unlike me.  She meets new friends on the playground with ease and readily invites herself to join others without hesitation. 
We could all learn from her.
 She likes to be in charge of herself and on occasion will tell us, "You're not the boss of me!"  We politely tell her otherwise.
We couldn't be happier to be the "boss" of our Little Miss. 

 Be proud to wear you.  ~Dodinsky

Monday, April 23, 2012

Becoming Myself...

Before the itch I was struggling with anxiety in a way I never experienced before.  At times, it paralyzed me to the point of not being able to function, especially at work.  I've had anxiety for my entire life, but it never presented itself in the ugly form of panic attacks that took over my body.  I tried a daily medication because I was having such a hard time dealing with the daily did not work for me.  In fact, it made things worse.  Ultimately I decided to take it on and do my best to deal with the situation without medication.  In doing so, I had to try to find the antecedent.  What was causing this anxiety in the first place?   

Ironically enough, while waiting in the doctor's office I read an article in a magazine about Meredith Viera...she too suffers from anxiety.  While reading the article I had an "aha moment".  

The goal for perfection in all aspects of my life was causing such anxiety that I was unable to be effective and productive at anything.  I needed to be perfect at home and at work...the perfect mother, the perfect teacher, the perfect friend, daughter, and wife.    I felt like I was drowning; I would barely make it to the surface and another wave would come crashing over my head.  My ship was sinking, and I was unable to navigate safely to shore.  

Being diagnosed with the Big C has put things into perspective.  I wouldn't say I'm a recovered perfectionist because that would just be too miraculous an event.  I am, however, more comfortable with leaving things until tomorrow, allowing others to help me, letting go, and going with my father in law's "good enough" philosophy.  I make the effort to tell myself that some things just do not matter...

Isn't perfection relative anyway?  A perfect meal for me right now may consist of mashed potatoes, chicken and green beans...I'm thinking you wouldn't all be in agreement of that being your choice for dinner.  

In the world of social media where we have facebook, instagram, twitter, and pinterest, we are able to continuously "see" into the lives of other people.  It seems often when we do this we strive for something better, more ideal, more "perfect".  Instead, it would seem important that we look at our own, unique, lives and see the value in each aspect of it, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.  It is these experiences that shape us into who we ultimately become...amazing and unique individuals..."perfect" versions of ourselves.

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” 


After hanging out at the soccer field with her big brother for the past several years, it is finally Little Miss' turn.

And she couldn't be more excited...

"Others will follow your footsteps easier than they will your advice."
-Author Unknown

If you haven't had a chance to donate to our Relay for Life walk, click here.  You can make a difference...what are you waiting for, just do it.  Thanks to all of you who have already donated...we are at about 25% of our $20,000 goal...whoop, whoop!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Checking in...

Just a quick check-in to say hello.  After a not so great day yesterday, I'm, thankfully, starting to feel more like myself again tonight.  This cleansing thing is for the birds (I think I've said that about 528 times since I started this process...sorry)...3 down and 3 more to go...I can do this.

Our new hammock arrived today.  I was able to enjoy it alone for about 5 minutes....
before an invasion took place...

It's a family size hammock and has a weight capacity of 700 lbs...I think we will be spending a lot of time on it in the upcoming months.

I've never been all that good at relaxing, but I'm learning that I do enjoy it. 

"Loafing needs no explanation and is its own excuse."
-Christopher Morley

Thursday, April 19, 2012


WARNING:  Bald Head Photos Below

It's Thursday...and that means it's embrace the camera day at the The Anderson Crew.  I thought perhaps I could also embrace my bald head with these (not so flattering) photos of me and the Little Miss.  Why post unflattering pictures on a blog for all to see?  Just keeping it real....

Silly pocket booth pictures...
My face is tan in comparison with my head so it looks like I'm a blonde sometimes...weird 

And, one left over from the other day with my "fake" hair.  I'm not sure that E was too pleased to be in the photo (or perhaps he had to go to the bathroom).

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes.  than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.  It will make or break a company.....a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will EMBRACE for that day.  We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.  And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes."
-Charles R. Swindoll

If you'd like to donate to our Relay for Life Team, click here.  You CAN make a difference!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


From:  the American Cancer Society Website
My Relay for Life Page

Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, either through their own personal battle or through someone they love.
My Reason to Relay became personal this past New Year's Eve when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39.  Being diagnosed with cancer sends you into a tale-spin of various emotions, primarily shock and disbelief. I have had multiple tests, surgeries and am now almost halfway through  my chemotherapy treatments. Following that I will have 7 weeks of daily radiation treatments. I fully intend on kicking cancer's big ole butt, but the journey is not an easy one.

The programs the American Cancer Society provides to cancer patients make a devastating diagnosis easier and the continuous research and developments are essential in providing the best treatments possible for all cancer patients.  I am participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life because I want to make a meaningful difference in the fight against cancer.  

The American Cancer Society is rallying communities (like ours!) through events like Relay For Life, to fight back and find cures for this disease.

Please consider joining my team or making a donation to help the American Cancer Society create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Together, we can help make sure that cancer never steals another year of anyone's life!

On this coming June 15th and 16th, my loved ones and I will be participating in a local Relay for Life.  Have I mentioned my amazing family?   One of my brother's set up a team in support of me and the response so far has been great; we currently have 25 team members busy raising money for such an important cause.  

My other brother, who happens to be very talented, designed several possible logos to use...this is one using a butterfly drawn by Little Miss.

Please click here for the link to my personal page and if you are able to, join our team or make a donation.  Thanks so much! My parents are also walking in the relay and I know some blog readers who may want to support them in their fundraising efforts.  To support them, click here.

As a small incentive, I will be sending bookmarks to all those who make a donation of at least $5.  For donations of at least $25, I will be sending you a copy of the thank you book, along with a bookmark.  If you make a donation (to support either me or my parents), please be sure to email me a copy of your address to

"Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance."
-St. Francis of Assisi

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?   If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?"
-Rabbi Hillel

"Every good act is charity.  A man's true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows"

Monday, April 16, 2012


I went to the post office the other day.  I never made it on Friday, so I had to go on Saturday and wait in a long line.  While waiting, I noticed a thirty something year old male come in.  He looked slightly frazzled, but perhaps he was trying to get his taxes mailed or something...  A couple minutes later the same 30 something year old tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to "fake his girlfriend's signature" (no not on a tax form)....on a birthday card.  Are you kidding me??  I chuckled and proceeded to write his "girlfriend's" name on the card (it was an unusual name so I had to copy it from a paper where he had already written it for me).    I started thinking...did this "girlfriend" actually even exist?  Why was it so important for him to show that she actually signed it?  Who was the card going to?  Why oh why would you fake that?  I just don't get the rationale behind it.  

Those who know me personally are well aware of the fact that I am not capable of telling a lie.  I suck at fact, I can't even play board games that require me to lie.  At work I have had parents of students thank me for my complete (but tactful) honesty when I meet with them about their kids.  I have also been known to butt heads with colleagues when I have had to advocate for students. My family is well aware of my tell it like it is (but in a kind manner) philosophy.  Why wouldn't I be honest? It's too much work to do otherwise.  Although faking a girlfriend's signature is not a blatant lie, it is not completely honest and truthful. Why do it?  Again, I just don't get it. It is so much easier to be honest at all times.  Don't go behind people's backs, be yourself, be real...

I've also decided that this is why I'm not entirely comfortable wearing my's fake...well it's real hair, but not my real hair...and, it feels (in a way) like I'm not being honest.  I'm especially uncomfortable wearing it in the presence of people who know me and know I have no hair.  Who am I trying to fool?  I already have 1/2 a fake chest (which I must say I am very comfortable faking for right now...sorry too much info).  I guess the kerchief look just keeps it "real" for me.

However, today, I did venture out with my hair.  So, here I am faking it...
My kids were very excited to see Momma with hair, and so, it was worth it.  I was self conscious at first, but I did get more comfortable.  We saw someone we know and I survived the interaction without too much discomfort...I worked through it.  I felt relief when I took it off head got so claustrophobic!  
I really do like the back...
Although this may be obvious...the thoughts, feelings, opinions, and experiences on this blog represent me.  I, in no way, would ever want to offend anyone with my banter.  If you are comfortable wearing a wig, then you should wear one with pride.  Be honest, be real, be you!

"Integrity is telling myself the truth.  And honesty is telling the truth to other people."
-Spencer Johnson

Friday, April 13, 2012


There are 3 things I rarely leave the house without these days.  

1. Big Earrings
2. A Kerchief
3. Lipstick
After my morning shower, I look like this.
Those 3 things help me to feel a bit better about myself (and the kerchief keeps my head warm...a bald head can get cold ya know).
 And isn't it fabulous that my hair is thickest at the top and I can make it peek under my kerchief? I like to call that part of my hair my mustache bangs. (I think it looks like I adhered a fake mustache to my head :)  Whatever it is, I'll hold onto it as long as I can.

"Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation."

-Friedrich Nietzshe

Thursday, April 12, 2012


It's embrace the camera day at The Anderson Crew.

This is me and my BFF from this past Easter Sunday.  

My mom made my "Easter Bonnet".  I actually have 3 kerchiefs that she handmade for me. They fit perfectly and are the most comfortable head appendage for me to wear right now as I continue to shed and itch.  Thank you mom!!!  In the evenings when I'm home, I wear hats

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stormy Seas...

I've decided that any lapses in my memory, productivity or clarity will all be blamed on "chemo brain".  Whether or not this is a legitimate thing, I am certainly going to use it as my "excuse".  I wouldn't really say that my symptoms are severe, but I definitely have a bit of "fogginess" going on, especially as evenings approach.  Of course this could be due to being tired from the day, but who really knows.

That being said, it's been more difficult for me to articulate and organize my thoughts in an effective manner.  Apparently the cleansing is cleaning out some brain cells too (hopefully just temporarily).  So let me apologize now for my lack of good blogging- it's all the chemo's fault!

I found this quote the other reminded me of my Navigating Post  

Thank you all for sticking with me while I continue to adjust and readjust my sails in these sometimes stormy seas. xo

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Impromptu Easter Pics...

After church we usually have some time to stop at the park to take some Easter pictures.  This year we had a change in plans so I took some quick photos of the kids in my BFF's backyard.  I had to be quick as the kids wanted no part in it.  I guess there is something to be said for spontaneity.

I wasn't so sure I would be able to get any because this is what Little Miss initially thought about having her picture taken...
 She started coming around when Auntie Shann started talking about silly stuff...the poop or gas topic gets them every time.

"Only in spontaneity can we be who we truly are."

John McLaughlin

For those of you who subscribe through email, here is yesterday's post.  For some reason it did not get emailed. 

Monday, April 9, 2012


I've said it before, but here I go again.  I have an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G support system.  I have an abundance of love, support and prayers...what a feeling; it's like nothing I have ever experienced

Some of this support comes in the form of nightly meals for the two weeks following my cleansing medication infusions (aka chemo) that take place every three weeks.   Meals are hand prepared and dropped off at our home.  E's first grade teacher has even prepared a couple meals for us; he thought that was pretty cool!  I have been overwhelmed by everyone's willingness to do this for us, especially because I am not a cook.  I don't like to cook nor am I any good at it.  So, there you have it, I confess....I am not the cook in the house.  I can prepare meals for my kids...grilled cheese, chicken tenders, tacos...I can boil an egg and make some mean french toast.  But, the husband does the real cooking because he quickly tires of eating french toast for dinner.  His mom taught him well because he is a great cook and enjoys the preparation as well as reaping the benefits of his hard work.  Because the husband goes with me to most of my appointments, he often has to make up the time by working later.  The meals enable us to have more time together, we do not have to shop as often and we don't have to think about what we are going to eat (meal planning can be tough).  

I'm not sure I could ever truly show my appreciation for the time and care people have shown to my family and I, but I decided to do "a little something" to let people know I am grateful.

I found a thank you quote book (of quotes).  

 I also made bookmarks with a quote from the book.  
I tie a bow to make it pretty, pretty and I leave it for the person who has prepared our meal.  It's just a small way for me to say "thank you".

BECAUSE....."Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

Sunday, April 8, 2012


 Little Miss decided she wanted to make bunny ears the other night, so we did....
We made some for us
 We made some itty bitty ones for Ellie of course
and we made some for the boys...

I, myself, am particularly fond of the ears, as they distract from my balding head. 

Happy Easter

"The great gift of Easter is hope - Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake."
Basil Hume