Sunday, October 30, 2011


if i could reach up and hold a star for every time you've made me smile, the entire evening sky would be in the palm of my hand. (unknown)
today was a big (and i mean huge) day at our house. malena has moved up to a big girl bed. this is a milestone day. the crib (thanks again ann!) was dismantled (which stirs many emotions for me which will be a topic of a future blog) and the big girl bed was assembled. she was so excited all she wanted to do was be in her room. it was so fun watching her sit up, lay down, sit up, lay down, organize her blankets, rearrange her animals (telling them to smile for pictures), take multiple pictures of her bed/blankets/animals and saying "got it" after each and every click. i can't believe that our little girl is almost three. the time has gone by in the blink of an eye. i have loved every millisecond (even the brutal potty training ones that continue), and i look forward to every millisecond to come.

some fun things that i came across this weekend and thought i would share...
- this cover of adele's "someone like you" - thanks jon for sharing, really like this male/female version of the song.
this new magazine. if you love ideas for hosting parties, this is the eye candy you have been waiting for. i am already scheming the next party we could have when i am feeling better.
- these awesome handmade custom pieces of art that show family trees in a totally new and imaginative way.
- this fabulous on-line bakery shop with some of the cutest cupcake picks i have ever seen, i now have on order on the way to my house. more baking is one of the many things on my "i will do this after treatment" list so i figured that some fun things would be good motivation to get started.

the last two links are ones that my mom had seen in magazines, so we sat side by side last night (after some good glasses of reisling) and did a little on-line shopping. super fun.

lastly, the winner of the card giveaway this week was michelle - woohoo, will hand deliver the cards to you this week my dear. here is the bonus one:

unlike most sundays, i actually look forward to tomorrow. i am taking the day off to spend the time with my mom as we celebrate her birthday. a fun day is planned, topped off with trick or treating with dora (oops, i mean malena).

happy halloween all, hope you get more treats than tricks. xoxo.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

bubble wrap

i wish that when my friends were hurting i could wrap them up in bubble wrap to protect them from the pain. it is tough for me to see my friends hurting. short of being able to completely protect them, the best i can do is love them and support them. i happily do so.

ideally, i would be able to give one of these pieces of art to my friends when they are hurting.

i found this piece on jennifer lyon's etsy site and had to have it. i had seen a version of this in a pottery barn catalog, but is was just part of the background on a layout and not an actual item they sold. lame. when i saw the saying, it connected with me. i needed a reminder that even when things seem pretty tough, there can be a little bit of hope. i hit the jackpot when i found this one on etsy. i immediately hung it in my front room so i would see it every morning when i walked (sometimes very slowly) down the stairs.

since last week many of you weren't able to comment, and i think that i have fixed that problem, i am going to do another card giveaway this weekend. if you leave a comment on the blog by 5pm sunday, you will be entered into the giveaway. just like last week, i will send the cards, with stamped envelopes. here are three cards, i will add another bonus one in in the mix. the photo card is a denise hamilton (aka nerd) original. good luck peeps.

friday - i have really missed you since last week. so happy that we are back together again.

Monday, October 24, 2011

around and around

my feet have not looked like this since july 15th last year. i have not got on my elliptical, or lifted one weight, since that day. i have either been recovering from surgery, had stitches somewhere, was nauseas, was exhausted, had muscle aches in my legs (or all of these simultaneously) - all of which made getting on my elliptical a no go for me. mentally and physically, i just couldn't get back on.

i told myself i would start working out again when i felt good. i feel like if i wait until i feel good, i might not get on before the end of the year. so i promised myself this morning that i would get back on the elliptical tonight. to ensure i kept my word to myself, i changed right from my work clothes to my workout clothes as soon as i got home. i never back out when i have my workout clothes on.

to be honest, when malena went to sleep, i did think about not working out for a minute or two. i am so tired. i just wanted to go to bed. but, i promised myself so i had to follow through.

i asked nerd to take this picture this summer so i could use it for a post. i was sure that i would get back on the elliptical right after treatment ended. you can see the july sunshine coming through the windows. i had her take the picture sooner than was needed. finally using it today, better late than never.

i look forward to getting back on the elliptical and feeling my muscles working for me instead of against me. i can definitely tell it has been a year since i have worked out, but i will keep at it, i will slowly build back up to where i stopped. if i can do interferon for year, i can get back in shape. i will need to keep telling myself that as the minutes tick by on the time clock on my machine.

when i got on the elliptical i saw the name which i had never really paid much attention to before. it now seems very fitting. i do feel a strong sense of getting into fighting shape so that i am ready to kick cancer in the you-know-what if it tries to come back. look out cancer. you won't stand a chance so don't even bother looking back in my direction. i will be prepared to take you out.

i hope that i can walk tomorrow, should probably take an aleve before i head up to give myself a head start on the soreness i am sure that i will feel.

on a totally different topic, i now know that some of you had problems being able to post comments. i think that with my amateur techie ways i have figured out to alleviate that problem. you should now be able to easily make comments. maybe i will do another giveaway soon so you can post a comment to see if you can win. woohoo.

goodbye monday, hello tuesday. wednesday, you are so close.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


the card retreat is over. boohoo. a good time was had by all. i cranked out a serious amount of cards, amazing what i can do in three days of focused craft time. mom did a ton of pages for her scrapbooks, and nerd kicked out some awesome halloween projects and super cute christmas cards. all in all, a very fun and productive weekend for all three of us.

we also had the bonus of my niece jessica staying with us because she rallied from pullman over to see the coug game in seattle. don't ask her about the game, she still doesn't want to talk about it (if you know the score of the game, you know why). she did have some time with us crafting as nerd's assistant when they formed a little two person assembly line on the christmas cards.

here is a glimpse of the multi-step halloween cards that nerd made, we even rallied to seattle on saturday for the stamp that she had to have to complete the card. when you need the perfect stamp, you need the perfect stamp. a rally across the lake, totally worth it.

here is a glimpse of my recycling bin today. i am not a total lush, i did not take down all four of those bottles by myself. really.

when i took a break to look at one of my card idea books, i found this quote on one of the cards "everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul" (john muir). i love being outside, but on this weekend i loved being inside with my mom and nerd (and jess when she was around) laughing, making cards, eating snacks, and drinking some (not all four bottles) wine. i haven't spent much time in the last year making cards because i felt so tough. when i don't feel up to making cards, you know times are tough for me. this weekend felt like a good start to getting back on the path to feeling better. i feel like i am headed in the right direction, even if it is taking me longer than i hoped to get there.

the winner of my weekend card giveaway is "homer" - you were the lucky person that my random generator picked! send me your info at my email address that you have, and i will send you the cards...i already have them all packaged up and ready to go. here are the two cards i made this weekend that i added to the three i posted on thursday. enjoy:)

i have my next idea for a giveaway...stay tuned all...will be very fun (like you didn't already know that).

here comes another week everyone...deep breath.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

card heaven

tomorrow nerd and my mom and i are hooking up for a weekend of crafting. we are going to go to a three day craft getaway where we get to make cards and scrapbook as long as we want. all night. all day. somewhere in between. i am so excited. we get to do this twice a year and i love it. it is rare to have that much time to just make cards, and to be next to my mom and sister make it about as good as it can get. oh, there will be a little wine as well which doesn't hurt. we get to craft to our hearts content in an awesome hotel in redmond where we hang out in luxury. big love.

to celebrate my card extravaganza, i am going to do my very first blog giveaway. i know, pretty exciting huh? if you leave me a comment, i will enter you in to the drawing for five of my homemade cards. pictures of three of the cards are below, the other two will be a surprise. the cards will come with envelopes and i will even put stamps on the envelopes. it doesn't get much better than that does it? leave a comment on my blog by 5pm sunday and i will announce the random winner in my sunday night blog. good luck peeps.

on the craft front, a lovely soul (jenny) has just opened her first etsy shop and her homemade items rock, i know which one i am going to pick up. as she notes on her site she creates fabric art and handmade items from burlap, linen, modern fabrics and natural material. if you are looking for a great piece for you or someone you love, check it out and keep your eyes on this shop, she will be posting more as she makes it. jenny made me and malena two little lovebirds when i was diagnosed and they are still in the same spot in our living room so that we can see them everyday, we can use all the love we can get.

friday, i have been waiting for you all week my friend. you have no idea how good it is to see you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

hump day

hump day is drawing to a close. all in all, a good day. my mri results came back and they showed no indication of what is causing the pain. so good in that like the other scans it didn't show a problem, unfortunate in that the mystery pain continues on my right side. i can get some meds to help more with the pain, but i am very tired of having anything other than food put into my body at this point. so i will see how it goes for a while longer and maybe the pain will stop paying attention to me and will quietly move on. that strategy didn't work so well with the nightmares. maybe i am due, definitely feels like i have been paying my dues.

speaking of being due, today i did something i never do. i took half of the work day off and hung out with my friend christina in olympia. while others were working, we took off after a morning meeting and had a long lunch (including some very good tasting wine), shopped, and then had some dinner. such a great time. lots of laughs. both of us scored some cute new clothes which i have to say look pretty cute on us;) hands down, the best wednesday afternoon i can remember having in a really, really long time...ever maybe. thank you christina for being my cohort in leaving early, my laugh buddy, my clothes enthusiast, my burnt creme splitter, my shop guider...most importantly, thank you for being my friend.

on my drive home, i thought about how nice it was to step out of that work routine for even a few hours and just take a breath. i made a promise to myself that i will do that more often. i feel time moving faster now than ever before, and i don't plan on "i'll do that tomorrow"s any longer. i feel like i can hear a clock ticking in my head at times, and each second on the clock is like a banging drum that i hear loud and clear counting down the time i have left.

at one of the stores today, i found a pad of stationary that i had to have - coincidently, it is this one and i didn't realize it was from sugarboo designs (which i have blogged about before) until i got home. no wonder i love it so much. one of the quotes on the pad says "one life on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can" (frederick buechner).

i couldn't agree more. here is to more time off, long lunches, unexpected treasures, and time for the things that really matter. can't wait.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

really, it's only tuesday?

prints courtesy of  Francesca Ramos and Stuart Thursby

this is going to be a long week i think for many reasons. i take solace in that tomorrow we will be mid way to the weekend, can't wait. in the meantime, i haven't heard back on my mri results. i hope to hear tomorrow, but will likely call to check in if i don't hear first. it has been kind of nice though not having to make doctor calls for a few days so i haven't been too anxious about it. the nightmares busted the lock and came back in. they also brought their baggage. the sleepless nights resume. ugh. that is probably the main reason i feel like the week is long, looks like i will be awake for most of it.

on the brighter side of things, one of the blogs i love - how about orange - had links for the above, free, downloadable prints. you can download them here and here.

on a kid friendly brighter side of things, another blogger i love (can you tell that i have a lot of those?) - ali edwards - posted a link on facebook today for super cute personalized childrens christmas books. pretty sure that malena will be getting one from, i mean santa.

happy hump day peeps.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of earth.
hold on to what you believe, even if it is a tree which stands alone.
hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here.

today we made our third annual trek to the pumpkin patch. i remember last year i was two months into treatment, feeling like hell, and thinking that this trip seemed really, really long off. picking out pumpkins and cruising through the maze has never felt so good.

Friday, October 14, 2011


today was mri day. we did do an iv so i got poked, i got to taste saline four times in total (pretty sure you are now clear on how i feel about that), and the mri itself took an hour to do. since the pain is on my right side, i had to have my arm above my head the entire time for the test so that my arm didn't block the area they needed to look at. my arm hurt so bad by the time we were done. my arm is still really sore now. thankfully the tech took pity on me about 30 minutes in and brought me a little pillow to help prop my arm which did help, but didn't help enough to stop the pain. this machine was different than the pet scan in that it is smaller so my face was literally like one or two inches from the top of the tube. 

the good part of the mri was that i got to listen to music the entire time i was in the machine which was awesome. my tech  - eric - let me pick the music from a list that they had. i picked "heart" because i had not heard their songs forever, and figured that two awesome ladies belting in my ears would be good mojo for me for the hour i would in the tube. i was right, loved the music, and have renewed my love for "heart" - hence the title of this blog which is the name of one of their songs. eric appreciated my pick too and rocked it out with me while he did the scan. i asked him what cd he dreads being picked, he said the beatles. sorry beatles fans, but like eric, i would rather have no music and the mri sounds blasting in my ears than the beatles. a guy before me rocked it out to def leppard. by rocking it out, i mean laying still and mentally rocking out since you can't move during the mri. but, i could atleast pretend and keep myself entertained - the music definitely made the hour go faster. thanks eric, you made that as fun as possible, i laughed multiple times which is rare during scans.

no time for a blue moon burger today (boohoo) but did have time for picking up my cinnamon bears so my eating habits after the test were not totally disrupted. whew.

i am not sure yet when i will hear from my doc on the mri results, but i would expect to hear something next week for sure. when i know, you will know.

i am very happy to report that i have now had two nights of no nightmares. i think that i heard them packing up and heading out the door this morning, i put a new lock on the door so they can't get back in. let's see if they catch the clue.

if you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, check out these ghost cookies - adorable! marta writes is one of my very most favorite blogs for a million different reasons. it is a piece of inspiration/creativeness every day. can't say enough.

on the happiest note of the day, we added a new baby boy to our family today - congrats andy and kathy, can't wait to meet the little man - love you guys.

if you see those nightmares hitchhiking along the road, don't pick them up, no matter how sad and lonely they may look. it may not look like it, but they carry a lot of baggage.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

one more

malena and i painted black cats tonight. even though black cats bring bad luck, i figured we were good since we were painting them together.

the mri is scheduled for 11:30 tomorrow (friday). i have check-in at 11 for the usual pre-test pokes and prods. if there is something new to show you regarding the scan process, i will take some pics. i am not sure when i will get the results, but will let you all know when i do. my friend josh is convinced the pain is due to one of the following: i swallowed a crayon, i swallowed a spork, or it is due to an old college drunken injury (implying that i drank in college - no clue why he would think that?). i am pretty confident none of those are the source, so am hoping the mri doesn't prove him right. i would never hear the end of it if he was right and i forgot i swallowed a spork;)

i am happy to report that i got some sleep last night. finally. not one nightmare. i so hope that i can say the same tomorrow.

right now i am all cuddled up in my most favorite blanket (thank you sasha - you gave it to me years ago for christmas) with some popcorn and project runway. my favorite thursday night combo. i have found a new love for popcorn. my parents used to make me popcorn (when you made popcorn using a popcorn maker, not a microwave) on friday nights when i was little when we watched dallas, love boat, and fantasy island together. i think that my mom still has the same white bowl we put it in and the big spoon i used to scoop it up with. oh, the good ol' days.

happy friday, our friend the weekend is almost here. felt like it took all week to get here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


great news today. the pet scan did not show any problems where i am having the pain on my right side. the scan did show that there are some lymph nodes in my neck area that we will need to continue to watch, but nothing that causes specific concern or actions at this point in time. we will move up my next round of scans to january (they were scheduled for february) so that we are only going three months between this pet scan and my next round to make sure those lymph nodes around my neck (and all other areas) are still looking good. that news made yesterday worth it, including the fact that i got almost zero sleep. when i am downstairs drinking juice (maybe i should have kicked it up a notch) and eating pretzels at 12:30am i know that it is going to be a long night. the mystery pain continues. next test up is an mri, that should be scheduled within the next week or so. at that point, i will have done an ultrasound, a ct scan, a pet scan, and the mri. this pain is a tricky little sucker, it likes to make me work for the answer. game on.

since i walked you through my scan yesterday, i thought that i would show you what my oncologist looks like. this is dr.tykodi, my go to guy on all things melanoma. so thankful for him and for his patience, like today when i had to have him explain something to me three different ways before i got it. i am thankful every day for him and his awesome staff.

today ended on a great note. as you can see, i got to hang out with malena. nothing better than that. we had some scooby doo fruit snacks and kicked it on the couch. loved that.

i am hopeful that i might get some sleep tonight, i have been asking the nightmares to cut me some slack all day in hopes that they will comply for atleast one night. it is tough having nightmares because i don't want to tell anyone about them, i don't want them to become their nightmares either.

i found a card right after i was diagnosed that says "if the sky falls, hold up your hands" - and i have had that card on my desk every day since. i am so tired, totally exhausted actually, of feeling like i am constantly holding up my hands. i hope that i can start to feel the sky let up a little bit so i can give my arms - as well as the arms of those that have supported me - a well deserved rest.

thanks again for all of the good thoughts, as you can tell, you all continue to scare the hell out of melanoma. i am so glad you've got my back.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


today was scan day, which makes today a really long day. i figured that you some of you may have interest in what a scan day looks like for me, come along with me for a four hour scan extravaganza.

here is the first sign that i am going to have a scan, my patient bracelet that gets checked about 10 times before all is said and done. they are very good about verifying that i am the one who should get the scan, never been able to fake them out yet;)

next i get warm blankets (which i always need because i am always freezing for my scans regardless of how many layers i have on - might have a little something to do with the word anxiety) and super warm socks with grips on them so that i don't fall in the hallway walking from my room to the restroom and the scan room. as you can also see, i have my ipod. i will choose my music over a room of silence and my thoughts every time.

here is me wrapped in blankets, with my music on, after my blood was taken and before the radiation was injected. this is what waiting looks like. i took this pic by myself and i have to say it wasn't easy. i could only use my left arm because my right arm (my dominant arm) had my iv in it. pretty sure that adele's "someone like you" was playing at this exact moment on my ipod. i could have waited for the nurse and asked for help, but that would have been the easy route. i needed a good challenge to keep me distracted.

oh saline, i dislike you so. this is the saline prep for the radiation injection into my iv (beneath the white cloth around my elbow). i had already had the pleasure of tasting saline twice before this when they took my blood and put the iv in. you would think that my taste buds would only make me taste it once in a day regardless of how many times i have to be injected with it. but, no, they are mean and spiteful little guys and clearly get pleasure out of watching me wince and squish my face up every time i taste it. i think that i could almost hear them laughing today. after the radiation gets into my system, i have to sit totally still for one hour, in a room by myself with the door shut, and the only thing i can do is listen to music. i could sleep, but that would mean that i could actually fall asleep - i always have way too many thoughts going through my head to sleep before scans.

this is what i spent an hour in today. they slide me into that tube and then slowly move my body through the machine to do the scan. i think that i move a few inches every 7 minutes or so. i have to lay flat on my back and not move. my lower back really starts to hurt as i am rounding out that hour, it starts to get pretty uncomfortable. lucky for me, i am not claustrophobic. as you can see, when i am in the machine, my face is probably about 6 to 7 inches from the top of that tube. when my head is outside of the machine, they have those ceiling tiles with the pictures on them that look like you are looking up through trees at the sky. i hate those tiles. they don't make me think i am outside, they actually just frustrate the hell out of me because i know damn well where i am and it isn't outside. i always want to, but never do and know they would never tell me anyways, ask the techs what they see on my scans. that must be a tough job because you know they likely know when things don't look good but they never let on. it is always weird for me to think that they might know something about what is going on with me before i do.

i could not eat any food past midnight last night, and since my scan did not get over until 4 today, you can imagine that i was hungry. i got some juice and cheese to tide me over, but i was on a mission to get a burger.

i left seattle cancer care and headed to blue moon burgers whose website says it all "making the world better one burger at a time". that is so true. they have awesome burgers and they can make them gluten free, so they are my number one burger love in my life right now. since they have a spot close to seattle cancer care, i like to go there after late appointments when i can for a little treat. today when i parked my car, i had to make a quick sprint due to the rain and forgot my phone so i had to use my camera. the pic above is blurry because my camera is being a pain in my you-know-what right now, so i had to take a pic of the pic. but, you get the idea, it looks so good even when it is blurry. as i was walking to blue moon, it started to absolutely dump. i mean the sky-opens-up-and-dumps-ten-inches-in-five-minutes-typical-october-in-seattle kind of rain storm. good times. but i just took my merry time and got soaked, and i mean, seriously soaked. it felt so good to be outside and to feel the rain. it kind of felt like sweet justice after having to look at those stupid ceiling tiles.

for dessert, i had some cinnamon bears. as you can tell from the price, it doesn't take much to make me happy. i get these bears at the scaa gift shop when i have scans, they are my little sugar reward when i am done. i am not sure what i would ever do if they didn't have my bears when i went in. that might cause a melt down in the gift shop and no one wants to see that.

on my way home, i saw this rainbow as i was on 520. don't worry, i was not taking pictures while i was driving. i was in my car but i was on 520, so as you can guess, my speedometer was at 0 and i was not moving. figured that this rainbow might be a good sign, couldn't tell for sure but thought it looked like it could be landing right on my house.

i wish that the last picture of my day was of me and malena doing something fun. but i can't see her today because i am still too radioactive. so, we have to do what i hate. i have to hide upstairs in my room when barrett's parents bring her home (i have no clue what we would do with our awesome families) and give no indication i am here so that they can get her to bed without her knowing i am home. i will get to see her again tomorrow when i am radiation free. i know it is one day, but after a scan day, i really want to just play with her and read books and do our nighttime routine. in the long run, if the days that cancer has made it so that i can't see her are far less than the days that i do, it is a trade that i will take a million times over.

i hope that i can get some sleep tonight. nightmares are really taking a toll on me. i have them every single night. they start very quickly after i go to sleep, and i usually wake up from them about every 45 minutes or so. makes for long nights. if the results are good tomorrow, and i start feeling better, i hope that they get tired of me and go away. i am already more than tired of them.

my appt with my oncologist to get the results is tomorrow at 3:30, so i will give an update but it won't be until tomorrow night sometime.

thanks for all of the good mojo, i take it with me everywhere i go. it is good company for me to have along for the ride.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


today we had a memorial service for barrett's grandma vida who passed earlier this year. in may, we had a graveside service for her on a beautiful sunshine filled day in seattle. today all of the family was together, as well as some of vida's friends, to remember her and celebrate all of the ways we loved her and were loved by her.

i first met vida right after barrett and i were engaged and she was so happy for us. later that year, we went over to her house on a beautiful summer day and took her some chinese food from her favorite place, and sat out on her patio and had dinner together. she was very excited to have our company and we spent a lot of time talking about all of the beautiful flowers she had growing in her yard and wedding plans. it was such a fun night with just the three of us. she rallied all the way to aberdeen for our wedding, and i have never seen her look more beautiful than she did on that day. the picture above was taken, without her knowing it, while she was watching barrett and i take our pictures before the ceremony. it was so great to have her with us on our special day.

vida loved malena, and she lit up whenever malena was around. she was so entertained watching malena play. vida was the first person to introduce malena to ginger snap cookies, and they enjoyed them together multiple times in the last two years. the last time that i saw vida was just days before she passed. we took malena over to her apartment so that she could see vida. vida had been in the hospital a lot and we didn't want malena to be scared by seeing her with all of the machines she was attached to so we hadn't had many chances to have them in the same place. while we were there, vida kept laughing watching malena play, they ate some ginger snaps, and there was so much joy in vida's eyes for having malena's company for a while. vida's family was her life, and as was said today, she was the center of our family, but she never wanted to be the center of attention. i would notice her often times just watching us all interact from off to the side with a big smile on her face.

vida loved ice cream bars so today we remembered her with ice cream for dessert, malena especially loved hers as you can see - i think she almost got the entire bar in her mouth.

jim's service was the first one i attended since i had been diagnosed. i think that they will affect me differently from now on. before my diagnosis, if i thought about my own mortality, i would picture myself like 95 with kids and tons of grandkids. i no longer assume that will be the case, but i hope it is.

i intend to be truly grateful for each and every day that i have left, regardless of how many of them i am lucky enough to have.

i will check back in next week, likely after i get my results from my scan on wednesday. keep those fingers crossed. keep those good vibes coming. send me some good karma on tuesday around 1:00 when i am by myself in the room while my iv drip of radiation moves through my arm into my body.

eat some ice cream. vida would like that.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

locked in

my scan will be on tuesday at 12:30, results will come on wednesday afternoon. i got my instructions today on the scan. anytime you have instructions like "do not eat for 12 hours before the test, do not exercise for 48 hours before the test, do not bring children or pregnant women with you due to radioactive material, avoid prolonged exposure to childern or pregnant women for 10 hours after the scan, dress warm to mimimize muscle uptake in the shoulders, expect to be in imaging for 3.5 hours, etc." you know you are in for a long haul. bonus will be getting to taste saline when they put it into my iv before they inject the liquid. sigh.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


malena and i did pumpkin paintings last night. super fun. had to show off her artwork, pretty sure she is a natural pumpkin painter. i think that we all know she gets her craftiness from her mom, i hope she gets her athletic skills from her dad because we know those aren't coming from me.

i have hit a rougher (i say rougher because it has continued to be rough since treatment ended) patch and am feeling pretty tough lately and my right side continues to hurt. we are going to do a pet scan in the next week or so. for a pet scan, they inject radioactive liquid into my arm around my elbow and i have to then lay still for about an hour. then they move me into the machine and work their magic. the pet scan is different than a ct scan or x-ray because it shows in a more molecular way how organs and tissues are working. i had a pet scan right after i was diagnosed as a way for them to determine if the cancer had spread to other areas in my body. as much as i don't want to have radioactive liquid put into my body, i will choose that over potentially having something wrong and not knowing it. i should have the actual date booked for the scan and the results appointment soon. one thing that i have hated over the last year is the taste of saline that gets injected into my iv's. when i was doing the high dose treatments, they would inject saline into my iv every single time. i literally can taste it a millisecond after they start to inject it. it turns my stomach every time. over the last year, i have had to be injected with saline from some of my other tests like the ct scans. it never gets better. i should have had that on my "things i won't miss" list when i did my last shot. now the waiting and anxiety begin again. tick, tock. tick, tock.

moving on to something more positive, there is a great opportunity to support a  really good cause. my friend marcie (i call her marcie-roo, but am pretty sure her students call her ms. paradis) has two projects on on her site, she explains the needs for her classroom and breaks down the cost so you know exactly what you are donating for. if you are looking for a good cause where you know directly where your donation is going, i know that marcie would appreciate anything you can contribute. malena bought her students two dictionaries tonight, although malena's favorite words these days are "dora" and "why?", i am confident she will grow her vocabulary exponentially in school and would want her to have the right tools to do it. good luck marcie - i am anxious to see you implement one of your projects. great job. i love all of my teacher peeps, they have one of the toughest jobs there is. i still clearly remember some of my most favorite teachers and what i learned from the subjects they taught as well as how they taught.

this is a picture i took of malena when we were finding our way through a hay maze recently. i love this picture because she is setting out on her own course without looking back to see where i am (of course, not losing sight of her was more important to me than it was to her). i hope she always finds her way. i am confident she will. she is my daughter after all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

blow out your candles

birthdays are a big deal in our family. i like it that way. for as long as i can remember, my mom has made us each feel special on our birthday. we have a birthday dinner tradition and it is a good time every time. depending on what day our birthday falls, we all meet at my parents for dinner either on the actual birthday or on a weekend close to it. the birthday person gets to pick their choice for dinner and my mom chefs up an awesome dinner like she always does. the birthday person also gets to pick their dessert which my mom (bless her heart) also chefs up. my dad is also very instrumental in the birthday dinners as he is the grocery store runner/chopper/slicer/dicer/wine-pop-beer stocker and chiller/glass filler-upper, etc. through all of these years and all of our birthdays, my mom has made probably just about everything once. the routine is thankfully always the same. snacks/appetizers first. dinner next. we all sit around my parents dining room table and squeeze in. we all get a little quieter when the food is on the table and we start to eat, but then the converation picks up again and so do the laughs. one of the things that i love about our birthday dinners is that there is always, always laughter. laughing with my family is one of my most favorite things to do. after dinner, it is time for opening presents - we need that time to let our stomachs rest in order to make room for dessert. dessert comes next, including the candles being lit and the birthday song being sung by everyone (and that is quite a sound since none of us are really blessed with great singing voices;)) the dinner ends with hugs all around as everyone heads their separate ways, usually atleast an hour or two after the last bite of dessert.

last night we gathered for a shared birthday dinner for my brother steve (i have always called him as stevie, but he tells me steve is his actual name;)) and my neice taylor. my nephews zach and tyler, my neice jess, and barrett weren't with us due to college (keep up the studying jess and zach) and boot camp (we are so proud of you tyler) and work (the current 6 day work routine really sucks) and we missed them all. we had chicken fajitas that rocked, gluten free apple crisp (thank you mom for making a dessert for me to have), and chocolate cake and ice cream. a good time was had by all as usual.

every year, i pick the same dessert. white cake with red velvet frosting. when i was diagnosed with celiac disease, my mom figured out how to make it for me gluten free and it tastes just as good as it always did. you know that i love you if i share some of my birthay cake with you. it is very special since i only get to eat it once a year and i seriously love every single bite and crumb. yes, i even savor the crumbs. you wouldn't even know a cake was on the plate by the time i am done. yum yum for my tum tum. this year malena took this picture of my birthday cake, she is inheriting her aunt denise's awesome photography skills.

i love the tradition of being together to celebrate. i love that each birthday - whether milestone or not - deserves a celebration. after the last year, i couldn't agree more. a birthday means one more year, that is a worthy milestone in itself.

the next birthday in the clan is my mom's, her turn to take her pick of dinner and dessert. it is a well deserved turn. thank you mom for all of the dinners. cakes. memories. love.