Thursday, June 30, 2016


two days in on the higher dose steroids again.

the aggression/anger is back full force (that did not take long) and it actually feels harder to control this time around. but i am trying hard. really hard.

i gained 5 pounds of weight over night on the first night i took the higher dose, and a lot of it went to my legs and joints. the aches are back.

last night at about 8pm the tidal wave of nausea came back. and i was down for the count for the rest of the night. i had a 103 degree fever throughout the night which finally broke at about 6am. i also had charlie horses again in both feet which is so painful. so it was a long night and i barely slept. which made today a really long day.

but before the nausea hit, we took the picture above. at our new house. it is finally all ours.

we are super excited to start new memories there. at the same time, it is going to be hard to say goodbye to our home. so i am feeling all the feelings for sure about this move. but i think that this new beginning will be really good.

tomorrow i go in for bloodwork followed by a doctor appointment to talk about the results. they also want to talk about these nausea/fever episodes i continue to have to see if we can figure out what is going on.

i will do a quick update tomorrow/saturday with what we find out tomorrow.

thanks for all of the ongoing love and support.

you all are the best.

happy friday. xo

Monday, June 27, 2016

angry and toxic

well it has been an interesting couple of days around here.

on friday as i was driving home i got hit with another massive tidal wave of nausea. i could barely make it home.

by the time i did, i was shaking so bad from the start of the chills coming on that i needed help to be able to get into my pjs. my teeth were chattering so bad that i was pretty sure that they were going to break off at the gums. i quickly spiked to a 103 fever and was in absolute misery and out of it for the rest of the night. at some point during the night the fever finally broke. my clothes were soaking wet and i had to change again due to the fever and the sweats. i also got charlie horses in my legs and feet throughout the night which was really not fun at all since i already felt like hell. a long night.

by the time later saturday morning rolled around, i felt better - but like i had got the absolute crap kicked out of me. it was a low key day for sure. sunday was the same, good but low key.

today i had bloodwork. and my veins were a pain in the ass again and they must have moved that damn needle in my arm no less than 35 times to get the line in. not their fault because my arms have not been cooperating the last few weeks. i think they are tired. i totally get it.

and when they called me back into the room, the news we got is that my liver levels shot up way higher than they were last week.

pretty damn devastated.


like as soon as she said the words and i saw the numbers, i could feel the tears welling up.

this isn't supposed to be happening. i was originally supposed to be off the steroids tomorrow.

now i am going back up on the dosage. which means i will be on them even longer because i will have to go back down to the level i am at now eventually. and then go down to the next dosage before they will take me off.  frankly i have given up even wondering when i will get the hell off of these drugs. it seems pointless to invest any amount of hope in dates anymore. it just sets me up for disappointment.

so tomorrow i increase steroids again. cue up all of the side effects that come with the increased dosage again.

then friday i go back in for bloodwork to see if the liver levels are trending down. and then i go back in on tuesday. and we will see if we go with scans on friday.

one of the blood tests can be a tumor marker and it shot up higher than the amounts the liver levels did. but we aren't going to jump to conclusions yet, it could be that particular marker is reacting to the steroids in the same way that my liver is. but i won't say that it doesn't scare the absolute hell out of me. combine that with the fact that i went through two days of nausea hell and high fevers out of nowhere last week and it doesn't make me rest easy. at all. i can tell you that.

so i feel really sad.

and i feel really angry.

and i am tired.

and i don't feel like picking up any gloves. i don't feel like putting a brave shirt on. i don't feel like cheerleading for myself. i don't feel like looking for the good in this. i don't feel like thinking this will all work out. i don't feel like getting my head in the fight.

i just want to sit in my anger and sadness for a while. and hang it out with it for a while.

some days that is about all i can do as dark falls.

and i deserve to feel angry and sad. and for to be ok. and for me to not make that better for myself.

i am 40 years old with a 7 year old girl.

angry and sad doesn't even actually start to capture it.

f*ck cancer.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

the lone star state

our trip to texas was so, so good.

we got to check out the magnolia silos and that place was as awesome as we expected.

the market was ah-maz-ing and i am personally proud of myself for only shipping one item home that i couldn't fit in my luggage even if i tried;) a wall in our new house will thank me when the piece is hung up above the fireplace. i could have wandered around through the shop all day, it was like continuous eye candy with the displays, the products, just all of it.

i was kind of in creative love there. so fun.

oh, and as you can see below, i found an "a" for my craft room in the pile of old letters they had on sale that day. major score for this kid. as you can see from the pic, i was just a little bit excited.

in addition to drooling over the silo grounds (including the awesome seed and garden shop that my mom, nerd and i were the first people in on friday and had it to ourselves for 15 glorious/super fun minutes), we checked out the good local food at the food carts there. yum.

for those of you that are "fixer upper" fans, we also went to clint's store  where his shop is and it was also so good (aka i kind of wanted one of everything). i probably walked around the store 5 times just to see everything he had. the shot below of all of the wooden numbers/letters was from his shop. oh man, letters and numbers get me every time. there was an "h" that just jumped in my hands so i had to bring it home with me. and maybe one or two other things that i had been eyeing from some previewing on the website before we flew down;)

we ate really good food. we checked out great shops with combo of new items and antiques. we ate ice cream at a local creamery (two nights in a row) and from a local ice cream truck (so good). we checked out the iconic suspension bridge across the river that runs through town. we swam at the hotel pool for hours and malena was in swimming heaven. our mermaid could stay in the pool all day long if we let her. we checked out local coffee shops to grab some green teas. we went to the saturday market and it was such a good one. they even had gluten free crepes, and yes, of course i had one. and i savored every single bit. and they had gluten free macaroons that were so tasty. and yes, of course i had one. ooops, i mean two. we put our feet up and relaxed. we read. we slept well.

it was all so good.

so thankful that the fates were kind to me and i felt good enough to go on the trip, and that the side effects were manageable for me while i was there.

i would go back to waco anytime.

anyone want to go?

i can be packed in 15 minutes.


happy weekend y'all. xo

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

on the other side----


think i am officially on the other side of the hell that was the last 24 hours.

definitely low energy and tiiiiiiiiiiired but i can walk and talk thanks to the nausea and fever going away so i am pretty happy about that.

had a long work day and then ended the day with "finding dory" and some green tea and popcorn with the other two hansons and our buddies.

good times.

i am now going to bed to get my rest up for another day, my big brother will be happy about that (although i can hear him already telling me i am late since it is past the 10pm curfew he tends to focus on).

but before i do, one thing that i saw earlier and LOVED (capital letters so you know this is big) this week was this post by elise. she had reposted the canvas on instagram and i instantly knew that i needed to make it. because there are definitely times when i think that i can't do this, but then i immediately think that i am going to do it anyways. because there isn't any other option now is there? we all know the answer to that. so it will be a great reminder to see each and every day. might be the newest piece of art that i add to the new house. definitely on my list of to do's as soon as we get settled in.

and with that, i am going to make my big brother happy (or happier than he would be if i rallied to bed at 11pm) and call it a day.

we are half way through the week peeps.

yes, we are almost there.

we can do this.

i know we can.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

plans change

i will definitely be writing about our great trip to texas, but am feeling really sick today and can't write about a fun trip when i am feeling like hell.

either due to meds or a bug, i am down for the count today. last night i got hit by a massive tidal wave of nausea to the point that i could not move. had a fever throughout the night/into this morning, and feel like i just got my you-know-what kicked. but i think that the fever has finally broke so that is good news.

i had bloodwork yesterday and my liver levels are up again above normal levels. not as high as they were at the start of the steroids, but a little bit above the normal range. which is frustrating since the levels were all good last week.

so that means i don't get to do any further tapering of the steroids this week.

so that means i won't get off of the steroids next week as planned.

so that means i will be on the steroids longer than we hoped.

which is pretty frustrating for me.

but it is out of my control so all i can do is keep taking the steroids, dealing with the side effects, and hoping that next week my levels come back down again.

we are going to do scans on july 8th. we will then get the results on july 11th. pending those results, we may start treatment on the 11th.

so hopefully i feel better soon and feel like writing about something much more fun than steroids and fevers.

hope your weeks are off to a great start. xo

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

down time

" and every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling "this is important! and this is important! you need to worry about this! and this! and this!" and each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "no. this is what's important."
(iain thomas)

i am going to take a couple of days off of the blog this week.

i am headed out on a quick girls trip and am looking forward to some down time and just getting to be on an adventure for a few days with my mom, malena, nerd and my niece.

we will see how my body cooperates with me over the next couple of days, hopefully it plays nice and is not too much of a pain in my you-know-what. i won't hold my breath but you never know.

i am excited that i am feeling well enough to make this trip. when i started treatment, i hoped that i would not get so sick that i would have to cancel out. so i am thankful that i feel good enough (all things considered) to be able to make it and kick off our summer with some fun.

for those of you peeps who watch the hgtv show "fixer upper" we are heading to waco to check out the magnolia silos and explore a little bit of texas. we are pretty excited as we love that show and decided earlier this year when i was recovering from surgery that we would make the trip happen. because we knew it would be fun, and that the only reason we needed.

have a good rest of the week y'all. xoxo

Monday, June 13, 2016

next steps

i had my bloodwork appointment today and we got good news.

my liver levels are back to normal.

to ensure that they don't spike again, i will start decreasing the steroids tomorrow with the goal to be off of them by june 28th entirely if my bloodwork keeps coming back good.

i am more than ready to be off of the steroids.

they have been pretty unbearable to deal with. the aggression really started to kick in last week and it has taken just about everything i have to maintain a calm personality. it is crazy how much they have affected my personality and how hard i have had to work to override all of that and keep myself calm and not absolutely lose my patience and snap at anyone and everyone that has come in my path. because that is honestly what i have felt like doing in the last week. in addition to the aggression, i have had a ton of water weight swelling that has been super uncomfortable and has made walking really painful for me. it  really hurt to walk that 3 miles yesterday for the shore walk, by the time we got home, all i could do was lay down and put my legs up over the couch they hurt so bad. i am hoping that the swelling and the pain starts to go down as i start to decrease the steroid levels.

once i am off of the steroids, we plan to take another scan during the first week of july to see how the tumors look.

we will get the results of the scans on july 11th. if the tumors have not shrunk, we will start treatment again with one of the drugs on the 11th. if my body can handle the one drug, we may introduce the second drug back in again in the future but at a lower level. the goal will obviously be to get some amount of treatment but not at levels that turn my organs toxic again.

if the tumors have shrunk, we may decide to hold on treatment and see what happens in my next round of scans.

but at this point, i am happy to know that a) there is an end in sight to get off of these steroids that are making me crazy/miserable, and b) there is a plan for next steps with scans/treatment.

as you know, i do much better mentally when we have a plan - and so to feel like i have one again really helps me.

i am headed to bed to put my legs up on on the 5 pillows it takes to now sleep comfortably to get the swelling to go down at night so i can walk again in the morning. i just have to manage to get my legs up the stairs to make that happen.

thanks for all of the continued good thoughts and prayers and love that are getting sent our way. i really, really appreciate it and makes these days when i feel like hell and am out of my mind on these meds a little bit more bearable.

keep sending my liver those good vibes, getting the all clear to get off the steroids on the 28th is the next goal.

i am more than ready to make it happen.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

cancer you can suck it

"when i was a boy and i would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "look for the helpers. you will always find people who are helping."
(mr. rogers)

on this day when i woke, i learned of the news in orlando.

absolutely devastating and i just don't understand this world that we live in, and am scared for the world that my daughter is growing up in.

but i remembered this quote. one of my favorites. look for the helpers.

and the helpers were in force today as we met at 7am to kick off the annual shore walk to raise funds for cancer research.

beth and i co-captained our team "cancer you can suck it" and we knocked it out of the park again this year.

we had just about 40 team members this year for the 5k walk/run which was awesome.

it was a gorgeous blue sky day (thank you weather fates) and so we had a great view of lake washington to keep us company as we walked the route.

our team raised the most funds of any team in the entire event --- over $6500 dollars for cancer research at fred hutchinson (thank you to all of you who donated to our team). how awesome is that? yes, completely awesome.

and as i looked at all of my friends and family gathered there with us to walk today, and all of the people that we there at the starting line, i thought about how they were all helpers. helpers there to support loved ones, to honor loved ones, to support cancer research that will fund cures for loved ones.

the helpers were out today.

they are always, always there.

you just have to look for them.

i am so thankful that i never have to look far to see them.

they are with me everyday.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

fight club

"when you find yourself tipped over by the gusts of life;
when you fall to the floor and shatter.
there are those who will walk around your pieces,
lest they cut themselves upon the scatter.
but others will pick up your broken bits, they'll cherish all they can gather.
these are the ones to whom you must hold on forever ---- not those who forsook you
-- but the ones who glued you back together."
(shakieb orgunwall)

there are just so many good people in this world.

i am lucky to know a lot of them.

today i got a great surprise when i learned that friends coordinated together to create melanoma "fight club" t-shirts to raise funds for our shore walk team this year.

combined they raised over $2,700 for our shore walk team.

that is a lot of t-shirts.

how awesome is that?

yep, pretty damn awesome.

i am a very, very lucky girl to have so many people who care so much about me and my family.

i knew that before i was diagnosed with cancer, and before this latest round began, but i am continually reminded of it every single minute of every single day.

and for that i -- and every piece of my scatter that gathers at my feet --- are forever and humbly thankful.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

because if it isn't one thing.....

"those mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb."
(naswa zebian)

+++ the swelling has now got into its own cycle --- the elephant legs start to kick in at about 7pm, and at about 9pm i take benadryl (usually what feels like my 30th pill of the day) and prop my feet up on about 10 pillows. by morning the swelling is down and we begin the routine all over again. good times. but it is what it is so i am just rolling with it like everything else. and if late at night you think the thunder is rolling in, nope, it just me getting a glass of water. boom boom boom.

+++ because there isn't quite enough going on with us getting ready to move, me constantly not knowing how i will feel from one moment to the next, now our fridge decides to go out. so we are officially trying to figure that problem out and have fans going, shelves pulled out, you name it. yep, looks like total chaos around here -- but at this point, all you can do is laugh and go with it. dinner out every night until we move? yep, sounds good to me;)

+++ and because things go from everything will be ok to everything feels totally *(&! i wanted to note that emily mcdowell has launched some new goods. as you know, i love - love - love her empathy cards. i now also love this magnet and you better believe i will be ordering one and putting it at the top of my fridge (where 7 year old eyes can't quite see it;)). from her collection, i also love this card which i got from a friend and i will be framing, and this print (swoon). i also (because i could keep going pretty much all night) think this manifesto is the best (insert thumbs up emoji here). so good. oh, and this card;) or this one (the hamster part cracks me up).

+++ had a hair appointment today and was pretty happy to still have hair to get cut. jeremy (my hair angel) could tell right away where my hair has started to fall out. it is probably only obvious to the two of us. i told him that i was just happy to still have enough for him to cut;) since i will still be on steroids for bit i should have hair by the next time my appointment rolls around so that is something to look forward to. i love the routine of being in the salon, reading a magazine, and having two hours to just kick it by myself.

+++ this weekend is the annual shore walk and beth and i are again co-captains for team "cancer you can suck it". the weather is looking good so far so hopefully we have a good day for the walk/run. there is still time if you want to join our team or donate to fred hutchinson cancer care research on behalf of our team and you can do so here.

+++ my awesome friend liz is having a great sale in her shop. if you are looking for a really special piece of jewelry or a little heart talisman or some other goodness she carries, click on to her site and make your day or someone else's a little brighter. i have a handful of the talismans that i carry with me to all of my appointments and scans, they always bring me comfort and i hold them in my hands for the drive over to seattle.

have a good thursday peeps. minus the 10+ hours of work that mine is going to include, it is also going to include some time with friends and some time with my sister and niece. looking forward to all of that (minus the work part).

make it a good one.

Monday, June 6, 2016

livers + scans + elephants

my liver counts are down, that is good news. i will go back in for bloodwork next monday to confirm that the counts are still trending down. as predicted, i will probably be on steroids for a month or so until i can come off of them. we will see, four steroid pills  (in addititon to the other 10 or so things i am needing to take a day) and i will take it as it comes.

best news of the day is that beth's scan results came back clear! woot woot! she will go back for scans in 6 months. so she gets half a year off from scans, that is so great and i am so, so, so happy for her;) we knew those results were going to be good but i was so happy to see her message come through this morning. huge, palpable relief. thanks for all the love and support you have been sending her way.

for some reason, maybe the steroids, my legs and and ankles/feet are insanely swollen. and they hurt so bad. if you hear a distance thunder in the background, it isn't really thunder, it is me just walking around my house. i am currently writing this with my feet propped up trying to lesson the pain and hopefully decrease the swelling. it is crazy how bad swelling hurts. ugh.

my mom asked me to tell her how i am feeling in the morning.

i told her she will be able to tell by how loud my walk sounds in the morning.

she lives two hours away.

i am pretty sure that she will able to hear me from there.

ok kids, i am taking my two trunks, i mean legs, to bed in hopes they decrease overnight.

have a good tuesday.

boom. boom. boom.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

survivors day

yesterday we got the key to our new house and got to go in and take some measurements and finalize some paint colors before we move next month. it was the first time that malena got to go inside the house, and she finally got to pick out her room. buying that house was 100% the right decision for us. i love new beginnings, and i can't wait to start to build our memories there. the weekend highlight for sure.

so today is national cancer survivors day.

to be honest, i didn't think about it too much today and that was intentional on my part. clearly i am in the thick of surviving cancer right now, so i decided earlier this week that i was going to just hope that i felt well enough to have a good day today.

and i did.

i had some breakfast with friends. printed off a bunch of pictures so i can work in our photo albums. watched kiddo swim laps at her lessons. got a cold green smoothie that actually tasted kind of good (that was a big deal as my tastes buds are so out of whack at this point. even water tastes like metal. ugh). i picked out some new luggage for a little girls trip it looks like i  will feel ok enough to go on next week (whew). we had a picnic at the park with our buddies, and i got to watch malena laugh and laugh and laugh as she played in the splash pad.

that all makes for the best kind of day.

please keep sending your vibes and love to beth as she heads in tomorrow morning for her scan results. no doubt about it those results will be clear.

i look forward to hearing the good news from her.

happy monday all, i hope that your weekends were great ones -- may this new week get off to a good start for all of us.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

the day after + vibes for beth

the day after.

the day after getting tough news is kind of like living outside of your body. for me anyways.

all day i felt like i was watching myself try to move through the day.

got kiddo to school. filled out some paperwork for a new doctor i was seeing today that focuses on nutrition for cancer patients going through treatment (oh, the irony of the timing). hung out with my sister and my parents. went to my favorite place for lunch with barrett. did some work. had my appointment. ran some errands. went to the talent show at malena's school. had my hot sauna appointment. went to the pharmacy to go through some questions on my meds. a lot for the day. but as predicted, i did not want or feel (thank you steroids) like sitting still for one second. not one.

with the doc today, i had to start off the conversation by telling him my situation i thought that i was going to explain to him today was totally changed on me less than 24 hours ago. but he gave me good supplements to take to focus on my liver, and i like that --- because it is a plan. and getting off of these damn steroids and getting my liver back in shape is goal number one for me right now. i do not like how the steroids make me feel. he said that drinking green tea is one of the best things for my liver, so clearly, i have that one already down in spades.

my sister (aka nerd for those of you reading this blog for long enough) came over from pullman yesterday to kick it with me for treatment day. when we got the news, and i had tears streaming down my face, i looked over to her as i laid in that bed and she was sitting in a chair on my left. she simply looked me in the eyes and mouthed "i know." and i knew that she did. and i realized in that moment that maybe that was the entire reason that fate had her come for that appointment after all. because the fates knew it wasn't going to go my way, and they did me the kind favor of having her be there.

those fates can be crafty when they want to be. the shit with the joy.

so needless to say, i look forward to this weekend. simply because it will bring downtime and very few plans so i can lay low, breathe, and try to rebound a bit.

monday i go in for bloodwork at 8:30 and meet with the docs after that to see how my liver is doing.

tomorrow is the day that beth goes in for scans. so all of my good vibes, love and prayers will be going her way tomorrow. she has labs at 10 and scans at 11. on monday she gets her results at 8:30.

at the exact same time on the same day we will both head in for appointments. this has happened a few times since beth was diagnosed. i like to think that it is good luck for both of us. even though we will be at different centers, the vibes will be flowing and i know that monday will bring news my liver is heading in the right direction and her scans are crystal clear.

but please continue to send her good vibes, prayers and love through tomorrow and the weekend. we need to let cancer know that we aren't messing around and they better plan to stick to the plan of staying clear of beth.

i hope that you all have a good weekend. go out and do something fun. make the most of it. try something new. do something you have been putting off for a while. take a nap. read a book. call someone. hug someone. send someone some happy mail. do something for you. do something for someone else. just do something. you know what they say ---the days are long, but the years are short. trust me. that is right on.

see you on the flipside of the weekend peeps.

thanks for all the love -- beth and i both appreciate it more than you know.

anywhere we fight, you fight. xo

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


this is the shirt that i chose to wear to treatment today. seemed fitting on this day when i was heading in for round 2.

the day did not go as we expected. that is an understatement. and i definitely did not expect to have to "adult" as much as i have had to today.

everything was routine until i got checked into my room on the infusion floor.

my bloodwork from today had not come back when i met with the doctor, but they won't start infusions until they confirm that my bloodwork is ok.

my bloodwork was not ok.

my liver levels were 10 times the levels they should be.

long story short, and many tears later, i can't continue this treatment plan.

we are devastated.

they injected me with steroids and i will be on steroids for probably a month. the goal of the steroids is to bring my liver levels back down to normal.

the side effects of the steroids will be jitters (feeling like i had the maximum amount of caffeine my body could handle), trouble sleeping, aggressive behavior, and other issues. not fun.

the steroids will override the triggers between my stomach and my brain, in addition to just being tough on my stomach.

to combat that, i have to take meds each day to protect my stomach, which (shocker) come with their own side effects.

so my routine will be taking my stomach meds on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. then 30 minutes later i will need to eat a big breakfast to then take the 4 sterioid pills i need to take. this will be my new routine to start each day.

i will go back in at the start of the week (and probably every week for the next four weeks) to have my blood drawn, make sure my liver levels are going down, and meet with the doctor.

once my liver levels are back to normal, we will determine if there is a different treatment option i can do. apparently the two drugs i am on will no longer be options for me because they were so toxic to my body.

devastated is putting it lightly. this treatment plan was my plan. i was going to do it. it was going to work. that was where my head was, i was in the fight, and was going to fight  like hell to make that plan work with everything i had.

now i am back to not having a plan, other than taking care of my liver, and crossing all of fingers and toes that this one dose worked and did something to kick melanoma'a ass.

i feel numb and defeated at this point. i am very angry and very sad. i guess i am feeling all of the feels.

i don't know where we go from here. only time will tell.

i am a girl who loves having a plan and then kicking the shit out of it.

i am going to have to regroup and get my feet under me.

thanks for all of the love and good vibes --- as always, we are going to continue to need them.


round 2

"our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us"
(david richo)

well today i go in for round 2.

i had the best intentions of writing last night but got hit by a nausea tidal wave around 4 and never recovered. by the time i got home, i was down for the count for the night.

nausea came on strong again on monday. i thought that i might be able to sleep it off but no such luck. i went to bed at about 10 and was freezing cold (nausea makes me really cold) and then finally got up and took some meds so that i could try and sleep. got about 2 hours of sleep and woke up and was soaking wet. this is kind of a constant routine, i got to bed freezing cold so i wear warm clothes and then wake up a sweaty mess. by the time i crawled out of bed to face the day, i felt a little better but not great. that continued until the 4pm tidal wave and then i was down for the count until this morning. woke up not feeling well and took one of my nausea meds that works well but makes me super drowsy, so as soon as i finish those post i am going to take a nap. i can barely keep my eyes open at this point.

i got my new meds to help with nausea that should not make me drowsy, and as expected, they come with their own list of side effects. so i am going to use those only when i feel like i have to as i don't want to deal with those side effects on top of everything else. a vicious little circle.

so today i check in at 12:45. then i have bloodwork and iv. then doctor appointment. then counseling appointment. then the first drug. then the second drug. should leave there sometime between 7-8 i would guess. it will be another long day.

i am sure that my sister or barrett will write a quick post tonight to let you know how things go today.

thanks for all the love.

anywhere i fight, you fight. xo