Monday, February 27, 2012


don't tell barrett (i often like to brag about my perfect driving skills), but today i got lost in bellevue when i left my doctor's office. i thought that i was taking a shortcut, that was an incorrect assumption. it was a longcut. when i realized that i didn't know where i was, i got really anxious. i drove around for a little bit before i thought 1) i could figure out where i am by using my phone - duh, 2) i am bellevue, how lost can i really get, and 3) my car tells me i am going west, i need to go east, so i need to turn around. since i am writing this, you can probably tell that i made it home safe and sound. once i got going the right direction and figured out where i was, i realized how anxious i was by not knowing where i was and where i was going. one of those moments when i think about how my anxiety meter seems to be on a faster throttle these days. what was clear was that i didn't like not knowing where i was and where i was headed. but if i ever go that way again i will know exactly what to do. i realized while i drove home that i feel the same way about cancer, if it was to come my way again, i feel like i would atleast know which way to head and what to do next.  so for that reason, the short(long)cut was a goodcut.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


the only problem with vacation is eventually returning to work. ugh. so as i went right into four days of back to back meetings with no time to actually get caught up, i kept reminding myself of maui since it quickly seemed like it had been an eternity since i had been in paradise.

the favorite parts of our trip included...
+++ eating shaved ice every day. so good.
+++ eating gluten free california rolls that were amazing (and were the first gluten free california rolls we had found since i had been diagnosed with celiac disease - and i love california rolls - so it was heaven). hi doreen:)
+++ sleep. i slept for five nights in a row with no nightmares or crazy dreams.  i did not wake up once during the night. i felt so rested. the nightmares returned our last night there and continue as they normally do. but five nights of actual restful sleep was complete bliss.
+++ watching the sunrise from the top of the haleakala volcano on the morning of our five year anniversary. it is really cold on the top of the volcano (and we had to leave at 4:15am to make it in time), but the view was worth the multiple layers of clothes (including the thermal gear we brought from home) and the early wake up time.
+++ the best gluten free banana bread i have ever had. like the shaved ice, the banana bread was a daily must do.
+++ time spent reading books. i finished p.s. what i didn't say (will begin rotating this one around) and read the happiness project (you will be hearing more about this one in an upcoming post). i am doing great on my resolution of reading books this year, i finished extremely loud and incredibly close, and just started bossypants which is hilarious so far.
+++ seeing humpback whales breach and swim, we could see them everyday as we were driving along the coast of the island and went on a great whale watching trip that supported the pacific whale foundation. so cool.
+++ completely relaxing.
+++ watching the sun go down each day.
+++ fresh fish. yum.
+++massage. heavenly.
+++dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts. my mouth is watering just typing those words.
+++cold reisling to wind down each day.
+++stunning views across every inch of the island.
+++warm weather. everyday. so nice. i love wearing my flip flops.

it was interesting being back in hawaii for the first time after my diagnosis. the first night that we were there, we went into a little gourmet store at our resort and they had this tanning lotion that they only sell in hawaii and i had used it on a trip there years ago. seeing it literally made my stomach turn. when you know better, you do better.

it was a new experience to be looking for the chairs that had umbrellas over them so that i could sit in the shade instead of the sunshine. as you can probably imagine, i never had a problem finding a shady spot to be in as everyone else wanted to be in the sun. from the look of the skin of some people, i think that they spent a lot of time just sitting in the sun trying to get really tan. i used to be one of those people. when you know better, you do better.

everytime that we were going out i made sure that i had completely covered myself in my sunscreen. towards the end of the trip, we were heading out and i had put sunscreen everywhere except the top part of my back that i can't reach very well. when barrett came out of the room, i got distracted and forgot to have him put lotion on that part of my neck. i realized my mistake later in the day when i felt the burn on the back of my neck. it wasn't a really bad burn, but it was a burn and it hurt, and my skin has been peeling in that spot all week. i have been beating the hell out of myself emotionally due to that burn.  i should not have got distracted. i should not have put myself in a position to have my skin burn. it makes me very anxious to have burned that part of my skin. it makes me sick that i made that mistake. but i am trying to take it is a lesson and i can tell you that i doubt that i will ever forget again to have the lotion put on the back of my neck for me. but it has been a hard lesson. i know better, i should have done better.

it also really bothers me because i try to hard to fly under the radar of cancer. that is the reason that i didn't have a big celebration when i finished treatment. that is the reason why i take a deep breath when i get good test results but i never make a big splash about them. i have felt like i should just quietly appreciate good news but not draw attention to myself so the cancer gods will forget about me. i just found a blog written by another melanoma survivor (thank you sasha for sharing the link with me), and in this update, i could totally relate to her words. i think is why the burn has bothered me so bad (besides all of the obvious reasons), i feel like i have drawn negative attention to myself from the cancer gods, and sooner or later, i will be penalized for it.

i would love to be proved wrong about that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

long time, no write

hi all...hope you are doing well.

i just got back from a week long trip to maui to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. barrett proposed on maui, so we had always planned to go back for our 10th wedding anniversary. but here is the thing, why wait to go? i don't have much patience for waiting on fun anymore. why postpone fun that can be had today for some hope that it will happen in the future? plus, after the last year and a half we have had, it was a good time to have some fun and relax. we both needed and deserved it.

the timing of that trip came at the same time as i was debating what do my with my blog. keep writing or stop writing.

i will keep writing. this blog has been really good for me and has definitely been a source of healing. healing is what i decided this year is about, right? right. so can't stop now.

so i will write, hopefully you will read, and we will see together how this year shakes out. one thing i committed to myself is that i will write updates when i have something to say or share. so there may be days in between posts, don't worry - i won't be wavering, i will just be in between posts.

when deciding to keep writing, i thought quite a bit about the conversations and emails that i have shared with many of you about my blog and your feedback about my words and the feelings behind them. those exchanges were a large part of why i decided to keep on writing. i thank you for that.

on this day, i would also like to say...
++ mike/jen - so proud of you guys - what a great accomplishment, and i can only imagine that you felt some healing with each step that you ran. you inspire me.
++ greta - hang in there, you can do this. one shot at a time. one day at a time. keep up the great work.

more soon. xoxo.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

time out

it may seem obvious that i have been taking a blog time out. not necessarily intentionally, i just haven't felt up to writing much lately.

i think that i am in a little bit of a new normal slump. the side effects are gone. so i should be back in the swing of things, right? it just doesn't seem to be working out that way.

not sure how to explain this in a way that actually makes sense, as i can't really put my finger on it even for myself.

but here is what i do know.

i feel like i am not the same person that i was a year and a half ago but am resuming the life that person had.
i still have nightmares and weird dreams. every.single.night.
i am so tired. all the time.
it feels odd to get back into (previous) normal routines.
feels a bit like fitting a round peg into a square hole.
i really, really hate looking at my scars every day.
i do not like my hair.
i struggle to get my groove back to exercise. that bothers me. a lot.
i don't have very much motivation.
i feel disappointed (but know that i shouldn't) in myself that i haven't bounced back faster.
i feel guilty, when i am upset, as there are so many others with cancer that have more scars (emotional and physical) than what i had to endure. i should just buck up.
i feel lucky (and guilty) that i am still here, and am simultaneously overwhelmed by the feeling of needing to embrace every second.
i feel an expectation to move on from cancer, that i already should have, since treatment ended five months ago.

on and on and on....

i am going to take some time off from this blog for a little bit. atleast for a week or so, maybe longer. maybe i will decide to not do this at all anymore. i have really loved it and it has been so good for me. so i am torn about what to do - or not do - next. i will let you know either way.

take good care peeps, i will be in touch soon. xo.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

so true

read this on my solo trip. loved it. now sharing it.

written by koralee teichroeb

balancing life is a balancing 86,400 seconds a day are gobbled up. i have even started borrowing seconds from the next day..i call them "iou" seconds.

balancing these seconds is an endless job and it seems my "me" seconds are the ones that suffer. my vocabulary is filled with "give me a second"... "it will only take a second"..."i need another second.”

i am always trying to get things done for others. phone ringing.... people waiting... job calling... kids demanding.

so i have devised a plan. 

i have decided to replace "i will have it done for you in a second" with "making every second count," to take some of those seconds in my day to savor the beauty around me.

i will always have those other commitments that take my time but if I can slip some "me" seconds into my day, i will be a lot happier.

i don't think it will be hard.

it is just being aware of the gift around me, embracing all the little moments that are so easily missed.

i am thinking that by balancing the seconds in my everyday life with these little bits of "me" time, i can survive until i get to that long-awaited vacation with my novel in one hand and a pina colada in the other. 

the housework, laundry and cell phone will always be there but my lilac blooms, children and parents will not.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

kick cancer's a#!

thank you kelly rae roberts for posting this free downloadable sign (and there is a more kid friendly version with "bum") - imagine how awesome it would be if everyone posted one of these.

you can be one of the everyone.

you should be one of the everyone.