Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Now What..

So, this list is complete...

Now what?
I think it's time to make a new list.

I kind of have a lot of thoughts on this, and I'll get to it in my next post.    

“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!” 
― C. JoyBell C.

Monday, October 22, 2012

32 second boost

Websters.com defines boost as 

"to increase; raise"

In terms of radiation therapy, it means this:

"A Little Extra At The End of Radiation

A radiation boost is one or more extra treatments, given at a higher dose than routine treatments, and targeted at the tumor bed. This extra dose covers a small area and affects the tissue where cancer is most likely to return. Radiation boost treatments are given after the regular sessions of radiation are complete. Women who are 40 years old or younger at time of treatment get the most benefit from a radiation boost, but patients of all ages will have a lower risk of recurrence if they receive a booster treatment."

I completed my 6 weeks of routine treatments on Friday, and today I started my boost.  It lasted for 32 seconds. I feel a bit like an artist's canvas during these boost treatments because the therapists have to mark up the area and trace a template with marker.  It's lovely...anyone for connect the dots?  I guess it actually is lovely, because without the artwork, they wouldn't have the accuracy in treating me...
I have 6 days left, and I will be finished with my radiation treatments.  Surprisingly, this part of my journey has gone by very quickly.  My skin is red and sore, but things have been  manageable and the redness didn't really start until several weeks into my treatments.  So, my checklist for treatment is almost complete....

"Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment."
-Thomas Carlyle

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Movie Night...

We had our 2nd annual Outdoor Movie Night at the end of August.  Yes, I'm just getting around to posting some pictures now...sorry.  This year we watched the Lorax.  Of course I never remember to take pictures of all the kids prior to it getting dark, so here are some pictures from the preparation.  

 The bags had a Lorax notebook, mustache, pencils and stickers.  I found the free downloadable quote online.  The notebooks and pencils were from Target, the stickers from Michael's and the mustache from etsy, found here.
 I glued the mustaches to paper straws, also found on etsy.
We made truffula trees using "feather" boas and styrofoam balls.  I found the idea here.

We serve hot dogs, popcorn and lemonade and then, when it gets dark, we start the movie on a screen that Vic put together.  
It's a fun night to celebrate the end of summer.  I'm looking forward to next year's movie night already.  

“It's not about what it is, it's about what it can become.” ― Dr. SeussThe Lorax

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Walking through with battle wounds...

As of today, I have 9 radiation treatments left.  As soon as I started bragging about how great my skin was doing, I started getting red...you'd think I would have learned by this point just to keep my mouth shut.  My skin is mostly irritated under my arm and the doctor has encouraged me to walk with my fist/hand on my hip to lessen the irritation from friction.  So, if you see me standing there looking like I have an attitude, it's merely an attempt to ease the redness under my arm.  

Onto other things.   Today I had a follow up with my caring, compassionate, competent, intelligent, adorable surgeon.  However, I only spoke with him for a couple of minutes because he sent someone else in.  She examined me and said everything was fine...yay, we like fine!  When she couldn't answer some of my questions, in he came.  Both doctors commented on how I was almost finished with treatment and I responded jokingly (kind of) how I would like to continue to visit and have someone examine me on a weekly basis ;)  "It's going to be a challenge to move on", said me.  To which my caring, compassionate, competent, intelligent, adorable surgeon responded with "Well, moving on indicates that you will just go on and forget about it, but really, you need to walk through it, and you need to figure out how you are going to do that."  

Yes, I do, and I will.  Really, I've trudged through the serious muck already, so this should be a piece of cake, right?  The thing is my life is different now and it really will never be as it was before the itch.  I have scars, both physically and emotionally.  Those scars will most certainly always be there, but they are a symbol, not that I had cancer, but that I survived it.  The scars are survival wounds from a battle, a battle fought and won.  

Initially I would not have imagined getting through this muck, but I did, just as I will walk through the next phase of my life, whatever that may be.  Life somehow has become sweeter after scraping the mud off my boots for the past 10 months.  I'm ready to take it on and take it all in for what it is.  Sometimes I may need someone to hold me up,  but I'm coming and I'm going to choose to walk through it.  

I think scars are like battle wounds - beautiful, in a way. They show what you've been through and how strong you are for coming out of it. 
Demi Lovato 

Monday, October 15, 2012


Sunday morning was not pleasant in our house.  Cranky, overtired kids made for a yucky start to the day and resulted in a cranky Momma.  I definitely didn't want the day to end on a cranky note, so we took a ride to the park and played.  

 Photo by E
 Photo by Little Miss
 It worked...happy, content kids =happy Momma.  

I'm not really wise. But I can be cranky. 

Friday, October 12, 2012


It's strange seeing my own face in the local newspaper.

And, it's even stranger going to the mailbox and seeing my face (and almost bald head) on the front page of a publication of the newspaper that comes in the mail.  
And the strangest thing... I'm now posting a picture of me with it on my blog... 

Those of you who are tired of seeing me, I apologize and I promise to settle down with posting pictures of myself.  ;)

Happy Weekend!

It sometimes feels like a strange movie, you know, it's all so weird that sometimes I wonder if it is really happening. Eminem

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall Stuff...

Our weekend was full of fun fall outings including a trip to the apple orchard, 
the pumpkin patch,


 and a corn maze.  The kids were so good at the corn maze that we did it three times. 
 Just to be clear, I did not ask E to get in the wheel of the tractor.  He chose to pose that way all on his own.

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Yes, I did...

I posed without my kerchief for a story in the local newspaper.  Who would have thought?  But, it's true, it happened.  The story is titled "Life After Cancer"....great title, don't you think, because there is life after cancer.  If you're interested in reading the article, here it is.  The story features little ole me along with 5 other breast cancer survivors.  

"You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer.  It's a mindset."
-Dave Pelzer

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Great Debate...

...and I'm not talking about a political debate.  I'm talking about the the hair vs. no hair debate.  This past Thursday we had our family photos taken by the talented Tyler from Blue Lily.  When I originally scheduled a session, I thought I would at least be sporting a pretty good buzz cut by this point.  With the almost 2 extra months of chemo cleansing medication, that is not the case.  At this time it's a barely there buzz cut, but it's coming.

Anyway, I decided it was fine and I would sport my barely there buzz cut and my kerchief for the photos.  These "looks" most accurately represent this moment in time for me and my family.  It's how I see myself and it's how my kids and husband see me.  Some of those who are close to me thought I should probably do otherwise, and wear my cranial prosthetic wig.  I tried to respectfully disagree, but probably also got a little defensive about it.  Although I really like my wig, it is not comfortable for me to wear...  I have worn it a handful of times when I felt like I wanted to.  My family photos was not one of those times.  

I started thinking about why we had completely different views on the subject and then I had an AHA moment.  My lack of hair at this point probably represents different things to everyone.  When this journey started for me, I was scared out of my mind about losing my hair and that it would represent that I was sick, very sick.  It was as though I was wearing a flashing neon sign that said, "I have cancer, I am a chemo patient, feel bad for me."  Now, as I near the end of my treatments, it represents something different.    For me, it's that I had cancer, I went through chemo, it sucked, but I kicked its butt.  My hair is growing back...I did it!  To others, it may still represent the initial part of this journey and the fact that this intruder completely barged into our lives.  They want to see me completely as myself, completely healed and healthy, with a full head of hair.  Why have the reminder of a photo glaring you in the face in 5, 10, 15 years?  Well, the truth of the matter is, I don't really know how or what I'm going to feel about this journey that many years down the road, so I had to make a decision I would be ok with at this moment in time.  The thing is, wig or not, I will look at those pictures and know that was the year...the year my life changed forever.  And, it's not all bad.  There are so many bittersweet moments that evolved from this "experience".  And I hope that one day I can look at the photos and say "Hey, that was rough, but we made it through, and man, I rocked the barely there buzz cut." :)

Debate is so much better than denial. Julie Walters 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This week I will hit the halfway point in my radiation therapy...whoop, whoop. Things are moving along (I feel the need to whisper that comment...) and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting just a bit brighter with each passing day.   However, I did think that by this point, I would have been upgraded to a better gown.

I think "nursing staff will change gowns on the appropriate day !!!!!!!", means after you're finished with your last day of therapy...so misleading.
Believe you can and you're halfway there. Theodore Roosevelt 


...of Malware!  Did anyone get that warning when they logged onto my blog over the past week?  I did!  If you're lucky, that is all you experienced.  Apparently some of us got more than we bargained for...if you were one of the unlucky ones, let me apologize.  Something I downloaded to display my instagram photos caused chaos on my blog and resulted in offensive pop up windows and audio.  I, of course, had no idea what caused the problem, but my Techy husband got to the root of the issue, so thank you Vic...xo!

Being offended is part of being in the real world. Courtney Love 

Monday, October 1, 2012


So, if you have been reading my blog for a while now, you are well aware that I really have never been a fan of the color pink.  When the Big C so rudely interrupted our lives this past December, pink was forced upon me.  It's growing on me now and I am even willing to "pinktify" my blog for the month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And, in the spirit of becoming more aware, here are some recommendations for cancer prevention, as provided by my nutritionist.

1. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
3. Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.
4. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.
5. Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork, and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
6. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.
7. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with sodium.
8. Don't use supplements to protect against cancer.

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness. 
James Thurber