Monday, June 30, 2014

around here

"you will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. if you round out your edges, your lose your edge.
apologize for mistakes. apologize for unintentionally hurting someone -- profusely. but don't apologize for being who are you."
(danielle laporte)
around here we had our last friday morning starbucks date with her as a pre-k. we have the diploma to prove it. not sure where the time has gone, but it has gone so quickly.
so proud of her.
around here we celebrated two graduations, and i might have celebrated with a hard cider. or two. ok, ok, maybe three.
around here my mom made an awesome breakfast and i got to laugh with my family
at the start of a sunday morning.
it doesn't get much better than that.
around here we welcomed in the week with a monday night picnic at the park.
it was a gorgeous night and a perfect chance to catch up on each other's days.
we might have decided that a little frozen yogurt was a necessary stop on the way home.
i might have decided that i deserved some dark chocolate chips on top of it.
around here, i am thankful for these days. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

lights + trolls = good things

i have always wanted to have lights on our back deck, and each summer goes by, and it never happens. this summer i decided that it was going to happen.

last week malena and i picked up some awesome lights (thank you target) so that we could make our deck a little happier for the summer. earlier this week while barrett and i were out of town my dad made my light dreams come true by helping me out with my project. he added hook rings on to our deck posts and hung up and connected the lights.
i am so excited about how the project turned out (thanks dad!), i could just sit and stare at those lights every night. they make me pretty happy.

 in addition, i have these two guys keeping us company on the front porch and back patio (i got the blue guy at target this year and saw yesterday that he is now on clearance - i kind of wanted to buy more so he could have some buddies to hang out with). these two make me pretty happy as well, it feels like they watch over the flowers and make sure that everything is growing as it should.

yep, it doesn't make much to make my summer nights a little bit happier. if you are looking for me this summer, you might be able to find me on my back patio hanging out with my blue friend and my awesome lights. maybe i will have a cold cider in my hand as well. just maybe.

i hope that you all have a great weekend, ours should be a good one. we have a pre-k graduation party tomorrow for malena, how is that even possible? next stop is kindergarten, how is that even possible? i don't know either. campouts. sleeping in (which i can't wait for because there has not been enough of it around here this week). family time celebrating my niece's graduation (go taylor). hopefully some time in the craft room, and a little bit of catch up on life in general.

enjoy yours, i hope that it finds you doing something that makes your summer nights just a little bit better too. xo

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


there are days when you get good news and you can physically feel the relief. i had one of those days today when i heard from beth that the results were in.

here is an update that she sent out in her own words:

" I just got a call from my surgeon. My pathology results are in.
The margins were clean and so were the lymph nodes!! There was a little residual cancer in the specimen. But they got it! He said it would now make me a Stage 1 diagnosis since radiation. He was so encouraging about my prognosis. We will talk about it more at my follow up appointment with him but he wanted to share it with me right away.
I will still need chemo but we are on the right track here and my body is responding. Everyone told me how large the tumor was since the beginning, so the fact that they got it is amazing.
It's interesting but I wasn't worried about the pathology results. You all have been sending all your prayers and everything you got at me. So thank you for that. Thank you for getting me to this point and thank you for getting me beyond this point. I am glad to be celebrating the good news with you all.
Thanks for your love, support and prayers."

whew, feels good to breathe again.

thanks for all of the prayers, love and mojo that you have sent her way -- keep it coming, clearly it is working its magic:)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

rabi's day

yesterday we gathered to honor rabi.

there are many things that i will remember about the day.

all of the kind words that were said about him from so many. he clearly touched countless lives in a million different and positive ways.

the tears.

the hugs.

all of the family that gathered, and so many of the peterson's friends.

the fact that the church was standing room only and it felt like everyone in the town was there to pay their respects. just one of the many signs that he was well loved and respected.

the blue sky and sunshine.

the pictures capturing many of the big and day to day moments of rabi's life, each one so special and important.

the music.

there are two other parts of the day that i will never forget.

as we were landing in minnesota early in the morning, the sunrise was gorgeous out of the window of the plane.

as we left rabi and susie's house late in the day, i turned back to look at the house one last time and the sun was setting right over the top of the house. it could not have been more perfect, so i asked barrett to stop so i could jump out and take a picture.

i will always remember that sunrise and sunset, i am pretty sure that rabi ordered them up directly for his day.

memorable bookends on a day spent remembering a memorable man.

one who will always be remembered.

one who will always be missed.

gone but definitely not forgotten.

champions never are.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

the view

this has been my view for the entire weekend. looking out at the sunshine from my couch as i fight a terrible cold that has left me miserable and with no energy. like everyone, i hate being sick, i especially hate it on a weekend when the sun is out and i have one million things that i need to be doing. ugh. i also don't like knowing that my immune system is not doing great as i work so hard to keep it in as good of shape as possible.

beth has been doing well this weekend, and it looks like she is going to be able to head home tomorrow. she has been getting up and walking around, dropping off the epidural and some of the pain meds, and moving off of a liquid diet. here an update she shared in her own words from the weekend:

"I am at the end of the second day of recovery. My doctors seem pleased with my progress. I am on clear liquids today and will be on real food tomorrow.

Still having trouble with low blood pressure. They think it's likely due to the epidural. The more I get up as well will be helpful. So they have been lowering my dose of the epidural to help with the blood pressure but then I hurt more and need to keep getting up more since that is good for my recovery. So it is a balancing act.

 I did 2 short walks today. The first one I got really lightheaded and the second one went better. Obviously I will have pain for awhile. It's the wound on the inside of my leg that hurts the most. And that will be there for awhile. Still 3 weeks before I can sit.

I am also running a low grade fever. I was last night at least and feel hot again. They check vitals quite frequently. The first night it was every hour. Last night it was every few hours so I got some sleep in slightly larger blocks.

I am so thankful to have my parents here to help both now and when I get home because I won't be able to take care of myself for awhile. Thanks for your messages, visits, flowers, prayers and the list goes on.

They are thinking I can go home on Monday. I need to be eating so I can transfer to oral pain meds and off the epidural and then we will see how my movement goes.

Just wanted to give you all a quick update. My surgeon, not the plastic surgeon, reinforced that he thought the surgery went great. Pathology results will be back next week. No matter what they say I will still have my chemo treatment.

Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers."

i also wanted to share this update on chase as well as he had his latest round of updates at mayo last week:

"Another successful recap with Mayo! Instead of making the hour and half drive, we talked them into a conference call! In a nutshell , all was good. The DR. team met and collectively agreed that Chase is headed in the right direction.
-His lungs look great, no infections, there was one sign of a small bacteria with a rating of 1-4, 4 being the strongest. His was a 1. :)
-His tone is one of our concerns. We have decided to put him on a new med. Dantrolene. We are hoping that this will kick in and help his little arms out.
-His puking still exists. We were given 3 options. 1. put in a J tube. 2. start another new med, Regland. This we have decided to wait on for now because we have already started a med for his tone. We feel that the tone med is more important for right now. 3. Do nothing, hoping the tone med will take over and the puking will stop. We have chosen number 3.
-Weight. Chase has been consistent with his weight. He hasn't lost anything but hasn't gained anything either. We all know he has grown in length by looking at his legs, but his weight is another story. His dietician has suggested that we add in a calorie boost. An oil that has added fats and calories. We will be giving this 3 times a day with his meds. Hopefully that will help and he can put on a couple of pounds.
All in All, it was a good visit. The team agreed that Chaser is heading in the right direction. We will take this as a positive - Ill be it slow, but hey......its improving! We are going to be down there again in three months for another tune-up. Until then, we are going to keep pluggin along and watching the improvements .. Have a great weekend- Looking forward to Chasers Golf Event on Monday sponsored by the Keys Cafe.

God Is Good!"

i am going to be off the blog for a few days as we head east to say goodbye to rabi. please send your love and prayers to the peterson family and all those that love and miss rabi as we gather on monday.

+++ anything my friends liz and kelly do is magic, i can't wait for this one move class to begin next month.
+++ i just got one of these banners that i will be putting up on our collage wall and i love it. i could have ordered every single banner and been pretty happy about it. swoon.
+++ i ordered a couple of these jars as a gift (i got some of the little bird jars and they are super cute
+++ i have been eyeing these for quite a while
+++ i am pretty sure that i have never seen anything made with felt that is as cool as this

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

a champion hangs up his gloves

tonight in minnesota rabi finished the final round of his fight, and hung up his boxing gloves for the last time like the true champion he was.

tonight is one of those nights where i feel like my heart has broke into a million pieces and i can hear them clinking around in my feet with every step i take. i think that i will hear those pieces for many days to come.

i feel so lucky that i got to be part of his family, and to see him every summer when we were back in minnesota. he was always so kind, and his smile and laughter would light up any room he was in. you could tell how much he loved his family just by the way that he looked at them, especially in the moments when he would watch them from a distance with a huge smile on his face. i will never forget the moment i shared with him last summer. it will forever be my most favorite memory with him, and i am so thankful that i get that one all to myself. i will forever cherish it.

as was already the plan, i will carry rabi with me every step i take while i am running until that 10k in september which i will run in his honor. i look at my shoe every run i go on and i can't help but smile when i see his name, i feel like i can hear him cheering me on.

he was a fighter and a champion and a good man, one of the very best.

he will forever be remembered.

he will forever be missed.

the world lost a great man today, but he will live on in the hearts of all of those that were lucky enough to know and love him.

i am so very thankful that i was one of the lucky ones.

please send your love, mojo and prayers to minnesota to rabi's family and to all that are missing him.

+++ i also want to give an update on beth's surgery today. surgery went well and they did not encounter any surprises (so thankful for that) and it was a little less invasive then they thought it was going to need to be (so thankful for that). she is in her own room now and is not in any pain thanks to the meds (so thankful for that). please keep sending her your prayers, love and mojo as she starts to recover from the surgery. you've got this beth, there is no doubt about it. you are a fighter, keep picking up your gloves my friend.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

back in the office + beth


today was my regular check-in appointment with my derm. this is what it looks like while i am waiting for him to come in. staring at the floor, while the clock goes tiiiiick toooock. but all was good today, no biopsies, nothing he was worried about. so thankful for that. as i sat on the table waiting to hear the knock on the door and his voice say "hi alli" in the way it has so many times before, i thought about that first time i walked in that very room.

the day i was diagnosed. i was in his office 30 minutes after the nurse called and told me it was cancer. i was told to go directly to his office, he was a derm and would know what needed to happen next. i sat in the right chair, barrett sat in the left chair. the nurse (who has been my nurse every time i have been there since) said "it is good that you caught it". i remember looking at her and thinking i have no concept of what the "it" even is that you are referring to. the doctor coming in, looking at my mole, telling me that he was not going to be able to help me, i would need to be referred to seattle cancer care alliance. he would put the call in that day. i should expect to have an appointment at the beginning of the week. the docs are good at cancer care, you will be in good hands. he would see me after i knew what the next steps would be. i had absolutely no clue what the next steps would be, and that was terrifying. i remember leaving his office in total shock. just like that, within one hour, our lives had just turned upside down. i remember calling my mom. i remember every moment of that afternoon because it is burned in my brain.

my appointments that come close to my diagnosis anniversary always find me a little raw. this time of year is always tough for me. the balance between being here and alive four years after my original diagnosis, the thought that i can keep on kicking cancer in the ass. the balance between being here and alive four years after my original diagnosis, the thought that i am getting closer to the point where they tell me it isn't good news and i don't have any options. i of course don't let those later thoughts creep in too often, but i can't say they aren't there. when you feel like you are living on borrowed time, the reality of it all sometimes leaves you sad, angry, scared, helpless, unsure, and petrified of whether the black beast is lurking just behind you in the shadows. on the worst days, all of those emotions came in swinging at the same time and it feels like you are gasping for air.

when i was keeping beth company the other night, she asked me if i think about cancer everyday. of course i would have liked to tell her no, but i am not going to be anything but honest with her. i do think about it everyday, some days more, some days less. but i always think of it the moment i walk into the bathroom in the morning, look in the mirror, and see the scar on my collarbone that always shows itself just above my pjs. the first reminder of the day that i will carry that one and so many more scars without me throughout the day, many the eyes can see, many they cannot.

wednesday is surgery day for beth. we got to see her last night at a dinner party that her parents threw for her close friends in the seattle area, it was a really nice evening. i wish that i could have been there with her for any other reason than cancer. please send your love, mojo, and prayers to beth tomorrow as she goes through surgery, and then on through the stages of recovery. i got her permission to share her latest update, as i thought it would be good for you to hear how she is doing in her own words on this evening before surgery. as you know, i think that the stories we live and share are important, and hers deserves to continue to be heard.

"I am sitting here in one of my superman t-shirts trying to get some strength for what is to come. My check in time is 6:15 AM tomorrow. uggh. Surgery will probably be around 8:30 like my surgeon told me at our appointment, but won't know for sure until I get there. Lot of surgery prep, put in the epiderul, go through the checklist, take my vitals, etc. It can take awhile. I figured I would be the first surgery, since it will be quite long. Probably 5-6 hours.
I am not looking forward to it. I don't think anything will go wrong with the surgery, but I am not looking forward to the recovery. I will be in a lot of pain. I won't be able to sit for a month. I will also have 5-6 incisions in my abdomen, so those always hurt and take awhile to be able to bend and move without pain, and the worst part will be what the plastic surgeon does. He is moving a muscle from the inside of my leg to the tumor area to bring healthy tissue to that area. So that will be really painful, and I won't be able to lift my leg for a few weeks because of that. So no stairs, can't step into my shower, will have to be careful about sleeping. I was thinking about that last night. I am finally able to sleep in 5+ hour stretches because I can move around again when I sleep. And I am going to go back to sleeping in short stretches probably for the next month or so.

Last night my parents threw a party to thank some of my "team" for all they have done for me so far - from visiting, to being my radiation buddies for those first couple weeks, to staying with me while they were gone, or taking me out, bringing me Gatorade, and the list goes on. There were more people who should have been there who have been helping - people at work, and people who aren't in state and others. But we tried to capture what we could. And that was so kind that they wanted to do that.

It was nice to be in a room of my friends and my parents. People who have been there for me and want to be there for me through this year and beyond. I tried to give a speech to thank them. I of course cried and didn't say nearly all I wanted to. But I hope everyone realizes how thankful I am for the support and how thankful I am to have them in my lives. I don't know if words can really convey that feeling. And that goes to all of you reading this. I know you all can't see me regularly, but you have conveyed you are cheering for me wherever you are.

And I had a lot of fun and I could still eat! Which is great. Today of course is clear liquids for surgery prep. But I got that night, that night to be in a room full of wonderful people. After I wasn't quite ready to go home, it was my last night like that for awhile, where I could do whatever I want and feel good. So Ken and I went to grab a drink and we sat outside at this restaurant by a fire pit on the edge of Lake Union. And it was a nice evening. And I got a little sad. Because this summer I don't get a lot of these nights. I don't get to make plans for the 4th of July, or go out on a friends' boat or to a BBQ, or do whatever I want. And that makes me sad. I have so enjoyed getting back to my "regular" life, working, doing things, spending time with friends, making lots of plans. So I am grieving letting that go right now. Before I was so sick so the last surgery just felt like an extension of everything else. But this time I am having to give up the life I want again for a bit. And then comes 4 months of chemo and I will likely feel sick from that, nauseated, tired, and have weird association with food/smells. It may be different, but those side effects are likely.

I have heard from many people that you give up a year of your life to cancer. And I only want it to be a year. I don't want cancer at all, so I don't even want to give it a year. I don't want this in my life. But it will be a part of my life, forever. But I hope it won't be a part of my life that makes me repeat this year, and I hope it becomes something I don't think about every day.

I bought concert tickets for a show at the end of August. I have no idea how I will be feeling, I will be on chemo by then. But I want to look forward to things, be with people and try to make plans and not let cancer and its side effects control my life. Because I hate that, and yes I mean to say hate. So I need to work on that for the latter part of this year.
My emotions are running high these days. I am grieving having to give up feeling good for awhile again.

I have enjoyed the past few weeks. I have crammed a lot in, coffee and lunch dates, plans in the evening, doing as much as I can and things that I enjoy. I have enjoyed being back at work and throwing myself into things. I did the best I could to get everything in place to be gone again for a few weeks. I am so appreciative of people at work who are picking up things for me while I am gone. I found out they are still holding my bi-weekly staff meetings, that made me happy they were still getting together like that. For World Cup we did a u pick 'em where we draw teams to cheer for. I have Cameroon and Columbia as my teams so I will watch a lot of World Cup over the next few weeks.

As I go into surgery and the next part of treatment, as scared and anxious as I am I want to try and hold on to the good memories, the people and that I will get this part of my life back.
My mom will update the site tomorrow night to let you know how surgery went. And when I can I will get back on.

As always, and never stop, thank you for your love, support and prayers."

have a good wednesday peeps.

send your love to beth.

do something fun on this day simply because you can and the day is yours to make it what you will.

make it something good.

beth and i both would really like that. xo

Sunday, June 15, 2014

this weekend

starbucks friday morning date with my girl (and maybe the date included a rice krispy treat). a 6.5 mile run in the rain.  time spent catching up with a friend at our favorite coffee shop. shopping and dinner with one of my most favorite dates. good food. laughter. sleeping in. picnic in the park with friends.  solo time in the car, there might have been some outloud singing. just maybe. celebrating dads. time in craft room making some happy mail. pancakes with strawberries. all good things. goodbye weekend, hello monday - i hope you are kind.

+++ this was one of my favorite posts i read today, the time spent together is what always means the most

Thursday, June 12, 2014


here are a couple of things that i have been liking lately:

+++ ali's blog about the summer has my wheels turning -- i am so loving the focus on slowing down

+++ i loved every word of this post about the greatest secret to productivity

+++ i am such a sucker for awesome tape to use on happy mail

+++ ok, this one isn't for me, but i know that there are a lot of you out there that love cantaloupe (i personally kind of hate it) so here is a little summer recipe for you (ps, you can eat my share)

+++ i think that this will be my mantra for the summer

+++ totally inspired by this idea and this one

+++ definitely going to plan on having some wild card days soon (tomorrow sounds good)

+++ i am a sucker for a good list, and for paper, so this notepad is basically the best thing ever

+++ this class would definitely get the photo mojo going -- the more pictures the better

+++ i kind of love every card in this shop

+++ there is no way that a shop called you are awesome could be any better than this one. i pretty much want to order these personalized prints for every gift that i give from now on. i might just do that.

+++ definitely think that one of these sweatshirts is going to be on my birthday list (to someone reading this post who happens to be married to me, yes you, this is an official hint)

+++ ummmmm, i kind of drooled scrolling through this cookie post. yum, yum, yum.

+++ i think that the idea behind this cookbook is awesome, could there be anything much better than homemade cookies every friday? i don't think so.

+++ my friend kimberly has some amazing prints and cards in her shop, and malena has this one in her room

+++ i might need to stay home all day tomorrow to get crafty with some (ok, maybe all) of these ideas

+++ i love amy poehler, so i am pretty sure that i am going to love her book

i hope that you all have a great weekend. ours is starting out with a thursday night campout, since as malena says "tomorrow is friday so it would be a good night to have a campout night". i couldn't agree more, sounds like a great reason to me. let's get this weekend started.

please continue to send your love, prayers, and mojo to rabi and his family as he finishes his fight like the champ he is. xoxo

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

the 6 month list

between now and my next round of scans, the following are some of the things on my to do list:

+++ go to disneyland and live it up at the happiest place on earth for four days.

+++ take malena on a surprise trip that is going to make her beyond excited (i can't tell you or it wouldn't be a surprise now would it? but you know i will tell you all about it when the time is right).

+++ turn 39. damn, that is going to feel good. 39. another year. i could not be more thankful.

+++ mark the four year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. four years since that fateful phone call. four years of fighting both physically and mentally. that will be a tough day, but it will also be a day when i will be so thankful to still be here, for still being in the fight for my life.

+++ get to watch malena lose more teeth, and be excited for that sneaky tooth fairy to come.

+++ pick out malena's halloween costume, carve pumpkins, and watch her go trick or treating.

+++ celebrate my niece graduating with her 2 year degree, and watch her leave for a new college to finish her final years. i will also get to celebrate her turning 21 years old, which seems to so hard to believe as i remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.

+++ run a 10k, and i will train hard over the next three months. i am also considering adding in an 8k this summer just for fun. run alli run.

+++ have picnics in the park.

+++ document our life through pictures.

+++ hang some favorite pictures and prints in our living room for my first collage wall (jenny meyerson thank you for the inspiration).

+++ celebrate friends and family's birthdays and anniversaries.

+++ watch my friend chris marry her soulmate.

+++ eat monthly monday night dinners with chris, rounding up our total to about 187 dinners in the last 16 years.

+++ drink a ton of green smoothies.

+++ meet with my nutrionist and continue to work on my goals for keeping my immune system in as good as shape as possible.

+++ try new recipes.

+++ read books. (sidenote - i can tell you one book i will not be reading which is "the fault in our stars" -- i can't wait until the media blitz is over on that book and movie. i am sure it is good and there is a message in there that helps people to see a different perspective on cancer, but for me, being constantly bombarded by the news and hype about it is like being constantly kicked in the gut with no preparation)

+++ give a ton of hugs.

+++ laugh.

+++ smile.

+++ cry (there will be tears, that is a given).

+++ go to bed by 10pm (this one is for you stevie).

+++ slow down (thank you kelly for the reminder).

+++ have campout nights every weekend.

+++ watercolor.

+++ make cards.

+++ send happy mail.

+++ go on a rock climbing date night with my husband.

+++ enjoy movie nights with my favorite movie date (you know who you are).

+++ support my fellow cancer fighters, here is a new favorite pic of me and beth from last night.
+++ watch "frozen" at an outdoor movie night at the park in july.

+++ eat gluten free rice krispy treats at starbucks every once in a while (a girl needs a treat every now and then).

+++ jump on my trampoline and give my lymph nodes a good workout.

+++ watch the horse races on the sunday of labor day weekend like we do every year. yearly traditions, i love them.

+++ look up in the sky to see the fireworks on the 4th of july.

+++ say my thanks for the wonderful dads that i will get to celebrate on father's day.

+++ go to the DMV and get a new driver's license. the current picture on my license is from when i was pregnant and i had long blonde curly hair. that girl doesn't exist anymore, so it is time for a new picture.

+++ watch malena swim, do gymnastics, dance, play, sing.

+++ help my friend move to a new home in seattle for an exciting new start.

+++ drink maybe a hard cider or two.

+++ do some trip planning, i would love to go back to nyc this year.

+++ feel so excited and proud on malena's first day of kindergarten (that for sure might be a day with tears).

+++ write in this space.

+++ dream.

+++ hope.

+++ believe.

+++ love.

+++ say my thanks for every big and small moment i am given.

+++ live.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

around here

+++ around here i was very happy that mary's surgery went well on thursday. the surgeon took out two areas in her leg but the surgeon didn't see any melanoma in one of the spots. mary also apparently had some public service announcements that she provided to people that she saw with tans when she was under the meds;) super happy that she is doing well on her recovery and i know that she will be back up and running in no time.

+++ around here malena lost her first tooth! big milestone for us. i was so happy (yep, there were tears) that i was here to see it. i love all of the big and small moments of each day, but man, those milestone moments are pretty great. we were all excited to have the tooth fairy visit our house on friday night, she sure is a quiet fairy as she didn't wake any of us up:)

+++ around here we had our weekly starbucks date on friday morning. they now have gluten free rice krispy treats that come individually packaged. rice crispy treats for me for the win!
+++ around here i got my first 6 mile training run in for the 10k which felt awesome. super excited about that, three more months of training to go. i think i've got this.
+++ around here we had family at our place for the weekend which is always a good time. it was great weather so the kids got to enjoy the kiddie pool. fun cousin time (with of course lots of sunscreen on) for hours and hours and hours.
+++ around here we had the shore run/walk today and alli's angels was a big team this year. we raised just under $2,000 for cancer research which is awesome. i wore a tribute patch with the names of those friends and family that have fought cancer, those 3 miles were for them.

+++ around here we had a picnic at the park in the late sunday afternoon sunshine.

+++ around here i will get to hang out with beth again tomorrow night so there will be no post on tuesday morning. here is the latest update that beth sent out today..

"Life is filled with ups and downs. I see that more clearly now than ever. And I feel deeply, so I experience those highs and lows. And this week has been no exception. There was a shooter at Seattle Pacific University this week that killed one student and injured three before he was stopped by a "hero". In this tragedy what we are focusing on more in the news coverage is not the shooter, but the hero that jumped in and the faith, love and community of SPU. That is such a nice reminder in the middle of this tragedy. I have known many people who have studied and graduated from SPU, who teach there or have family there now so this hit close to home this week.

Not that I need a reminder of how precious life is but you never know what may happen. We really have no control and that has been a hard reality and reminder for me. And all we can do is control how we respond to things that happen in your life. As my friend Nikki put it to me, I am good at my job because I think I can control things, but the rest of the world is just flying by the seat of their pants. So now I am like the rest of the world.

I went to a support group event night this week. My nurse had wanted me to come and told me she would drive me there if she had to! I did show up and there was a reason I was meant to be there. I met quite a few nice people, seems like a nice group and we were all different ages and had different stories. I am definitely one of the youngest there.....My nurse had a few key people she wanted me to speak with and they were helpful and encouraging. But there is one person she wanted me to speak with because I could help. He was debating and doing too much research into surgery and making some decisions for himself. He has been through a lot over the past 11 years, fighting making decisions that could help save his life. He recently met with Dr. Fichera, my surgeon and was debating on using him. He also met with 2 surgeons I had met with, the one who gave me my diagnosis and the one who made me cry as I call him. So I was able to give him honest feedback about my opinions of the surgeons and I said I think Dr. Fichera is the best. He also asked me how I made some of my decisions. And I said I didn't feel like I Had a choice in some of my decisions, that this is what was going to happen to treat cancer. But then I told him that was my choice. I am young and planned for a long life, so the choice I made was to live. And I guess that was a choice. Because I certainly don't like all the things that this cancer does to me in the short and long-term, but I would never choose not to fight because I want to live a long and fulfilling life. So maybe it didn't look like a choice, but the choice was easy and I didn't have to think about it.  

 I never thought I would be able to help someone else in the middle of my cancer year. But this man said he was meant to meet me and was so glad, and he has been corresponding with me wanting to stay in touch. They say things happen for a reason. And I don't know yet why I got cancer this year, why me, why now. I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on it. Or why Alli got cancer, because she is one of the best people I know. But it is nice to know I maybe helped someone else in a brief moment, in an unplanned way, decide to make a choice that could save his life, at least for awhile. And it's my cancer diagnosis that made that happen. Actually Alli has always been an inspiration to me, despite her fight, when we have gotten together before I got diagnosed she always made sure to find out what was going on in my world. It felt like she made it a priority to ask me everything about my life before we even talked about her. And I want to try and be like that as well, I don' t want 2014 to be all about cancer, I want to have good memories too of being with friends and family, and that there is laughter and joy despite this terrible disease. And I want to be there to support them, because they have things going on in their lives too and I don't want to diminish that.
I also met with a cancer buddy this week. I have gotten matched with people who are similar age, or have similar diagnosis, etc. and have been communicating with them over the past couple months. This week I met up with one and she is so positive. Almost too much and I never considered myself a negative person. :) But she does help me think about things in a different way. I felt like I had a lot of encounters this week about that.

I have made so many strides this week in my energy and moving around. And it has been good for my mood. I have had full days of work and fun, I am walking faster and more. I feel like even since last week it has been a dramatic change. I feel more like "Myself" than I have since the diagnosis. And people have been commenting on it. Everyone keeps telling me how good I look too, I am guessing with how sick I have been I do look so much better than I did. And I don't look sick right now. And it's even better now since I got my hair cut on Friday! (I love you Karen!)

You all seem to enjoy knowing what I am up to. So here are some highlights from the week and weekend, with pictures. I worked every day this week. Not full days but some were fuller than others. I went to a client project meeting and it went well and my client seemed so genuinely glad to have me back and engaged in the project. I had coffee with one client and he also was so kind telling me how great it was to see me, how good I looked and again offering his help. He told me he would bring me groceries or whatever I needed, which is so sweet. I am trying to fit in and connect as much as I can in this next week with colleagues and clients.

I worked our company booth at a conference this week. Just for a few hours. But ran into so many people who were genuinely happy to see me. I also saw my very first supervisor and one of my friends from my first real job in Minneapolis. It was so great to see them, they haven't changed. I still get so excited to see people and when people are happy to see me, because it feels like so long since I have been actively involved in the outside world.

I hung out with different friends each night this week. And we went out and did something each night, and I think they were all pleasantly surprised that I felt up to it. So we were out grabbing dinner, or frozen yogurt (my favorite treat which I eat almost daily), shopping at the U Village Sidewalk sale. It's been nice to catch up and spend one on one time with these people who are so important to me and I love dearly. And I want to do these things while I feel good.

So this weekend was what my friend Heather would call "A Beth weekend". It's the last weekend I get like this for awhile, I am feeling good, the weather is great and I get to do what I want. So I filled it with things I enjoy doing and spending time with friends. Friday night I went out in my neighborhood for dinner and dessert. It was nice to be out and enjoying the vibe of Capitol Hill. And we walked because it was such a beautiful night. Then Saturday morning we walked to one of my favorite bakeries and got pastries. My favorite, chocolate croissant. And ate breakfast outside. I am doing my best to try and gain weight by eating things I enjoy and not caring about the calories. Shockingly slow going. Saturday afternoon I went down to the waterfront and Olympic Sculpture park with a friend, pictures below. And then a pedicure and a fun, silly movie. Today I had brunch with a friend. And am now enjoying some time on my balcony as I write this and tonight I will be hanging out with a friend and likely going to go see a band, something I Haven't done in awhile.

This week brings more of the same. I plan on being at work every day. Tuesday morning I have an early morning meeting. I have to be there by 7:30 am, uggh! But the president of our company is in town and we have a breakfast with him where I am one of the people chatting about my program. So it is important to be there and I want to be there. As you have heard me say I want to make sure I don't get replaced and do as much as I can when I am feeling well. So I am back to my feisty self.

I am meeting with my nurse and my surgeon tomorrow afternoon. We will talk about the surgery, surgery prep and recovery. I am not ready for the surgery, it is coming too soon. This time of feeling good is so short. And my parents come back next Saturday, another reminder that the surgery is near.

And we will see what else this week brings, because you never know. Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers."
+++ around here please send some love and mojo to my mom-in-law on monday as she has an outpatient surgery to help relieve some pain that her back has been causing her.
+++ around here i hope that you have a great monday and tuesday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

mary + beth

thursday is surgery day for mary.

at about 3:30 wisconsin time she will go in for surgery to remove the melanoma tumor in her leg.

so send your love, mojo, and prayers to her - i know that all will go well and she will be back up and running in to time at all. go mary go, my "f*ck cancer" chants are already all fired up and at maximum strength.

tomorrow i get to hang out with beth and i wanted to share her latest update.

"It feels like a lot has changed in the last week. I feel like I am getting back to my life. I only wish my time like this wasn't so short as my next surgery is coming in a little over two weeks.

My mom left last Wednesday. As I said transitions are tough and I was very anxious about it. But I am doing ok. I have spent some time by myself and that has been ok and I am getting used to it again. I thank my friends who are keeping me at company at night, each night while my mom is gone. That is so helpful. Nighttime can be hard, my mind wanders, so it's nice to know someone is there.

I have been going to work. People have been so excited to see me which is sweet and told me how much they miss me and they are glad to see me around. That has been so nice to hear and I need that reinforcement. I held a staff meeting today and getting more engaged in my projects. I have client meetings this week and am working our company booth at a conference one day. It feels good and energetic to be back there. I felt like myself, pre-cancer. Except I get more tired..... last week when I had a full day and evening I definitely felt it the next day. I was so wiped out. So I need to monitor how I expend my energy.

I have heard from some clients recently. One sent me a card which was so kind, letting me know he was thinking of me and missed me at a presentation. One has sent me emails to let me know he was thinking of me and offering his help in anyway he can. We are going out for coffee this week. I got a card from someone who works for me and his family today as well. I continue to be blown away by how people support and care for me. That has been a real bright spot in this year and it continues to move me.

This weekend I drove to Ellensburg by myself to spend time with my niece and nephew who are visiting my sister-in-law's parents. It was so nice to be there and I thank the Lundy's for always being so gracious and welcoming. It was relaxing and fun to see those kids who I adore. I mostly just watched them play because they have so much energy even healthy it is hard to keep up! I have attached some pics from the weekend.

Last week I had two appointments. First I met with my oncologist. Checking in and we talked about what to expect from my chemo after the surgery. We will meet again after my surgery, but I will start chemo 4-8 weeks after my surgery depending on how I am doing. I will have a port put in, it will be more intense. And I expect to get the extreme of the side effects again.

I also met with my radiation oncologist. A wrap up in some ways. We will meet again after I finish chemo. He reiterated how the tumor had responded so well to radiation.
As always thank you all for your love, support and prayers through this very tough time."

happy thursday -- hope it is a good day for you and that you can see friday peeking out, and i hope that it looks good.

+++ i loved this post and am pretty sure that i will never look at laundry again, and i think that is a really good thing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

go doctors go

every day i am thankful for all of the advances that are being made in melanoma research.

every day i am thankful for all of the doctors and researchers that dedicate their lives to finding a cure.

every day i am thankful that there are new articles like this one.

every day.

every single precious day.

i am thankful.

Monday, June 2, 2014


that word.


sometimes i like it. sometimes i am not a fan hate it.

on the days that i am not a fan, i feel like the word gives an impression that you are just barely hanging on and cancer is lurking in the shadows just waiting on its chance to pounce.

as you know, i prefer words like fighter, warrior, a*# - kicker.

yesterday was national cancer survivor's day.

so regardless of how i feel about the word itself, i see it as a day to acknowledge all of those affected by cancer - including those that have finished their fights, those currently waging their fight, and those that love someone who has fought cancer (because caretakers and loved ones fight their own battles as well).

although there were the usual chores that we could have done around the house, i thought that we should make the most of the day. we had breakfast at our favorite place. we spent hours and hours (and hours) at the zoo. we fed elephants bamboo. malena got her face painted. we had a picnic lunch outside in the sunshine. we ate frozen yogurt. we watched malena get soaked while playing in a fountain - which led to us filling her pool when we got home so that she could play some more in the water. we played crib (don't ask barrett who won). we watered our beautiful flowers. i went on a three mile run (btw, personal record set on friday when i logged a 5 mile run - woot woot!).

we thrived, not just survived.

+++ if you are doing the shore walk this weekend, and you haven't heard from me about packets, let me know - some peeps that signed up aren't showing up on my team list so get in touch so we can coordinate. xo