Friday, December 7, 2018

Day 60

Two months in!

Hey there everyone, just checking in!  I can tell you I started getting super grumpy Wednesday night about going into chemo yesterday.  Mostly because I really don't look forward to the stupid feeling that sets in for the first five days.  However, besides the grogginess yesterday and a really exciting and brief occurrence of neuropathy in my right leg, I am feeling pretty fantastic today.  So that's really great!!!  And I had some pretty awesome company for the infusion too =)

I was kind of disappointed yesterday to find out that there's nothing that can be done about the sores erupting on my lips (hot, I know) and the incision in my neck that I can't seem to heal up from my port surgery on 10/29.  I have learned that my body can't deal with the knots they put in the dissolvable stitches to tie off, so I am trying to eject this little knot of sutures out of my body and I really wish they could lance it, but it could contaminate the port, so nothing to be done unfortunately.

But, I am happy to have the remainder of my chemo scheduled out.  I have one more round of the "Red Devil" on 12/20 and then I start the Taxol on 1/3.  My last chemo (hopefully ever) should be on 2/14 so what a great Valentine's Day present that will be!!  I would much rather get flowers, dinner, and chocolates-just putting it out into the universe ❤.

Everything else is going just fine, kids are good, puppy is good, and I even got some Christmas swag put up in the house!!  I wasn't really feeling the holiday vibe to be honest, but I decided it would be the best to bust out the xmas paraphernalia and maintain some normal.  Which, as it turns out, was pretty awesome because when the kids got home from school I was running around showing them all the stuff that was out, and that felt really great for everyone!  

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!.

Love! XOXO πŸ’—


Friday, November 30, 2018

Day 53

Meet my new life partner.


Bad news boys, I am officially off the market.  I know 😒

LOL, OK I am just kidding, but, I would like to introduce you all to my new BFF in life, Finn.  She is the most amazing 9-week old chocolate lab puppy in the entire world and I love her so much!  She is so smart and perceptive and snuggly!  She does leave a little to be desired in the puppy breath department and she is very mouthy (meaning everything in her mouth) and we are still working on the potty thing, but she's already sitting on command at 9 weeks!  What a smarty pants!  And, as a proud mom does, I will continue to brag and tell you some of her older siblings work with PAVE so she was bred for emotional intelligence, not something superficial like color or head shape (check out the 'My Links' section for more info about the PAVE program-it's amazing).

I know you all may be thinking, "umm, so you are a single mom with cancer, don't you have enough on your plate?"  I am clearly at my limit but bear with me for a moment.  I can tell you mentally and emotionally this has been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life and I have been through some pretty bad stuff.  I was trying to keep my chin up but it was a constant struggle, and I consider myself a hopeless optimist, so yeah. My head space was just pretty whack.   

Some history.  Way back when I was 8 years old, my dad got a lab puppy when he was going through cancer treatment.  I was sitting at the table having my morning coffee a few weeks ago and all of a sudden it hit me and I completely understood why he did that.  I needed a puppy!  That very same day, I went to pick out my new puppy.  Or rather, she picked me.  Her three sisters were climbing all over her and I lifted her out of the pen and she climbed up my chest so she could get her nose right in my neck, and then she fell asleep.  That was it for me.  

Finn is my hiking buddy for next year and for many years to come.  I am so looking forward to all the adventures and fun we are going to have now and after I have recovered.  And, since many of you have scolded me for hiking alone, now I won't be alone anymore!  You're welcome!  =)  

My head is where I need it to be now and I have a perfect distraction and renewed sense of purpose.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that simply fighting for my life and to be there for my kids was not enough, because it definitely is enough and it is by far the most important thing.  

It's kinda like I just needed a reboot.  Now my head is pulled out of my rear-end and I've stopped going down every rabbit hole of worse case scenarios.  Now I'm looking forward.

And for those of you that are rescue dog people and hate people like me for going to a breeder, I really tried to go that route first.  This was the right choice for me and my family.  This little girl is such a gift to us all.

So look out my friends for my IG and FB to blow up with pup pictures (shocker) and I am fairly certain the hiking pictures will now include my new BFF in addition to the standard repertoire.

Love you all, have a fantastic weekend!

XOXO



Monday, November 26, 2018

Day 49

Chemo has me feeling so sexy πŸ‘Š

Hey everyone!  Had my second round of the "Red Devil" the day before Thanksgiving and I am slowly digging my way out of it.  Everything a bit harder this time, from the initial stick in the chest to the rotten feeling in my stomach.  Seems like its about five days before I start to feel human again, and it was back to work today with everyone else!  I did miss Thanksgiving dinner though so if anyone has leftovers, I am down!!  πŸ—

Since my first chemo earlier this month, lots of cool stuff happening with the bod.  Lost a toenail, got sores in my throat that felt a lot like strep but without the fever, my GI system thinks it's WWIII, and my hair is falling out in cool little globs (not to say that it wasn't expected but I am seriously having Silkwood flashbacks-apparently that movie traumatized me for life). 

And, since I am feeling full of chemo glam tonight, I wanted to share my not-so-great-moment that I had this weekend.  Definitely hit a low point and I am going to overshare because that's why I am doing this blog.  I've asked you all to virtually hold my hand with me as I fight my way through this, and not just for the fun stuff.  So, your hair.  On chemo.  You know it's coming out, but you take for granted that you are a grown up with hair like everywhere.  Then you take a bath and holy shit all your hair is jumping ship.  Moral is, don't take a bath on chemo, or you could end up crying over your tub with liquid plumber.  Not fun.

And, on a lighter note, (you may have already seen this on my IG or FB already), but I wanted to put this out into the world again because it's really just so mind-blowing for me still.  I lost a bit of weight earlier this year and needed to rebuild my wardrobe, and I fell in love with Stitch Fix.  I really don't enjoy any kind of shopping and use Click-List, Amazon Subscribe & Save, whatever I can do to never have to step foot into a store.  So with chemo happening and not so much high fashion needed at the office, I drafted a little note to my personal stylist at Stitch Fix in the little box on the app, you know, the one that you think no one ever reads.  Just wrote something really quick and simple like, "hey, starting up 4 months of chemo, can you please send me some comfy stuff for a few months?"  And then something amazing happens.  

These show up at my house.  With a card!



Then I get my super comfy fix with another note.  




I am seriously crushing on my stylist.  I ❤ you Rachel!  But seriously, how many companies would even take the time to do this?  It's overwhelming.  This whole journey has been overwhelming. Full of bad and good, disappointment and surprise. But this, all the feels.  Team Boobie is growing and hopefully bringing some awareness and action.  

It was important to me to leave you all with that happy note after my little pity party a few paragraphs up.

Sidenote, as I sit here trying to write this, meanwhile literally struggling to choke down some water and swearing at the most awful case of chemo-induced acid reflux, like ever, I am wondering do any of you suffer from this and what in the heck makes it stop?  Like if I eat bread will it soak this shit up?   I am on Prilosec from the doc but it's not touching it.  Any help greatly appreciated!!!

Have a great night friends πŸ’—!  

XOXO 

p.s.  Two chemos down, six to go.  I've got this!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Day 37

Proof of Life =)

I swear I am here!  It has been a whirlwind week between my first chemo and the big party and work and life and all that good stuff!  

I am doing pretty good, very up and down.  Mostly tired and nausea.  And in a real life episode which aired today of, "What the Shit, Life?", I also have cramps.  Ask me tomorrow how I feel about Tylenol, but tonight I am accepting chocolate donations LOL.  

OK! Enough of this boring stuff!!  Yuck!!!  


Without further ado, some pics from the party.  Look at all these wonderful people that came to support me!   I cannot thank you enough for coming out.  I am so grateful to have each and every one of you in my life.

The company was great and the pizzas were amazing and a big hit!  Many many thanks to my pizza hero, Scott!!  Check out that spread!

  

Not only was there head shaving and pizza (as if that wasn't enough!), we unveiled the new "Team Boobie" t-shirts and hazed some of the newest members, also some of Scappoose High School's finest young men.  You may recognize the hashtag 😍  

Thank you Chad.  You are amazing to put the idea together and just run with it.  I love them and they make me smile and laugh.  And as you know, that's how you actually kill cancer =)   Can't wait to dazzle the infusion room next week rocking my new threads.







Also, had a little victory today convincing someone to schedule their very procrastinated mammogram.  Please do not wait.  I'm lucky I didn't. 

I hope you enjoy all the pics, sorry so long away!  Talk at you soon πŸ’—

XO


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Day 30

What my kids think I look like right now
'Twas the night before chemo.....

...and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a - OK let's be real.  I am stirring.  Hardcore.  At least this nervous energy is focused on being productive!!  So much laundry getting done!

I  had every intention tonight to author a more thoughtful post, giving a shout out to another one of the folks that did something wonderful and unexpected, but that will have to wait until another day when I am going a little less nutty cakes and much more lucid.
Me, now.  They're not too far off lol!

Asking (again) for you to send good vibes my way for my first chemo tomorrow.  Anxious and excited to get it started and start fightingπŸ’—πŸ’ͺ, but hella nervous because I have no idea what to expect!!  

Get some sleep for me!  πŸ’€

Goodnight and I will check in with you all tomorrow!

XO

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Day 29

So much love happening!

I can't even cram it in to one blog post!!  I don't even know where to start!!  If you know me personally, this will (hopefully) make you laugh out loud.  To make things easier, I will just alphabetize all the awesomeness that has been surrounding me lately.  When you quit laughing at me, please read on =)

First up this week:  Becky.

Look at what this beautiful amazing woman did out of love and support for me!!

To really appreciate this (yes, it's possible to find even more great things about this act), allow me to take you back 36 years ago to River Grove Elementary School.  Becky and I were backyard neighbors and 1st and 2nd grade BFF's.  When my dad remarried and we needed to relocate, I remember being so devastated to say goodbye to Becky.  Like it was the end of  my 8-year-old-Barbie-loving-little-girl world.  When I moved to Salem, new friends were made and I didn't see Becky anymore.  She had moved from the now to the then. 

Fast forward 24 years.  I had just reentered the workforce after staying home with my daughter for a year after she was born.  We were currently living in the Eugene/Springfield area and I had just got my "big break" as an Invoicing Specialist at Richardson Cap Co.  I was training with a co-worker and I noticed a very familiar name on the employee roster.  I was thinking, "OK, I know that's not a common name at all, but this can't really be happening".  So!  I had my coworker take me down to introduce me and holy shit it was Becky!!   It was so great to catch up and learn about what she had been doing, and her own battles.

Me and Becky (I think 7??)
Then as life and change happens, we moved back up to the Portland area, and for the most part lost any sense of meaningful interaction (translation: FB friends only).

Fast forward 12 more years.  (Taking a minute to let that settle in.  Time goes by so fast!!).  I shared my diagnosis on my social media accounts, after agonizing a bit about whether to do so (see my Day 1 post), and Becky was the first to reach out.  She is a cancer survivor and is wearing her battle scars proudly (and loudly after the recent haircut-thanks Mike 😊).  She has come with me to doctor appointments, provided support, understanding, and love.

I think I get the message that some people are just meant to be in your life.  And, if you are lucky enough to have Becky in your life, you have been blessed. 

Love you girl.  I told you I was gonna dish on you ❤

XO

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Day 26

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

Groan, I know!!  

I have so many things to talk about, but I decided I'd better get the invite out there first.

So, I'll cut to the chase.  I am having a party to shave my head.  The kids will do the honors but I would love to have my friends here to support me when I do it.  It'll be hard to cry when I am laughing!

I will provide non-alcoholic drinks and flatbread and sauce for pizzas, so bring your favorite pizza toppings and/or favorite side dish or dessert.

Here's the link to RSVP!  Hope to see many, many, of you there! 


Talk soon!!

XO

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Day 24

I have been assimilated.


OK, the sci-fi geek in me just can't resist indulging in the parallels.  But seriously, this tube running down my neck, bump in my chest, and hole in my neck are making me feel like the unwilling subject of some alien experiment.  I know I will get used to having the port and it will be so great to have and save my veins from many many pokes, but it's kinda grossing me out right now.  Humbly asking for a grace period on adjusting to my new cyborg bling.  I'm sure it took Picard a few days too.


I also got the call from the oncology scheduler today and I start chemo next week!  So exciting and scary all at once. Wednesday I will go in for an EKG, and then Thursday morning the battle begins for reals!  

I hope you all had a lovely evening!  

XO

p.s. Thank you Chad for the Star Trek inspired words of encouragement 🀣


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Day 23

A good news call....finally!!

Happy Halloween everyone!  

Just wanted to give you all a quick update because I am so happy/excited/thrilled/ecstatic/over the moon/all of the above to report that I got the results of my MRI and CT scan back about fifteen minutes ago and there is no other cancer in my body other than my left breast, so it hasn't metastasized anywhere!!  

Yay!!!!! (understatement)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Day 21

Jealous much?


You know you want a pair =)


Getting poked and prodded
As promised, here's the post-op update!  I made it through the surgery just fine and now I am the proud new owner of a Smart Port®.  So grateful they have these so I don't have to get an IV put in every two weeks for the next four months.  

Strangely, the hardest part of today was the caffeine withdrawal headache coming out of general anesthesia.  They asked me how I was feeling when I woke up and the first thing I said was, "can I please get some caffeine?"  LOL!  The nurse was so sweet and hooked me up with some Coca-Cola and Fentanyl to help, but it took until about 9pm tonight to disappear.  Crazy because I only drink one cup of coffee a day, but if  I don't, boy howdy!  

 
My new bling

The youngest members of Team Boobie ❤
Now just a pretty stiff neck, but not too sore.  Tomorrow will be different I'm sure but feel pretty darn OK now.  Thank you to my kids and Team Boobie for taking such good care of me and not smacking me when I seem to want something every time you just get sat back down.

So, according to my surgeon, I am good to go to start chemo anytime.  Hoping to hear from my doc soon and get it started.  I want to start fighting!

I hope you all had a great night, and thank you everyone for all the good wishes.  I appreciate you all so much!!

XO

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Day 20

Business as usual....

....this week.  For the most part .  

I feel like I am running a sprint to get ready for surgery tomorrow (eeeeek!) and chemo starting shortly after that. I have been going through the motions of preparing although I still feel like I am in some nightmare and hoping that I wake up soon.  I think tomorrow will be another one of those moments when reality settles in, or rather, punches me in the face.

I had some great laughs and wonderful talks with friends this weekend, one of which I have not seen in way too long.  I snuggled the brats and kissed their cute faces.  Took some time to do my girly lash thing, which at this point seems a little frivolous, but I kinda don't care.  Oh and you remember the big hill I slid down on my butt? Well I threw my back out doing that and I've been walking around like a grandma with a penny pinched between her cakes for the better part of the week. It's times like these, when you can't take ibuprofen or Aleve before surgery, that you really appreciate how ineffective Tylenol really is. Super hurty but totally worth it. Also!! Had my credit card number stolen.  True story.  Got that call from the bank Saturday afternoon.  So, new credit card on the way and since all my bills auto pay to that card, well you get my point.  Not the most convenient thing and I really had to laugh at myself because had that happened a month ago it would've been super stressful, and yesterday I just shrugged, said, "well shit", and I'll deal with that when I get the new card.   

And today what I should have done is laundry, cleaned the house, done the dishes, and done a little grocery shopping.  But I didn't.  Even though I know that the new, but temporary, normal is coming faster than I can prepare myself and my kids for and I have been scrambling this past week to stay ahead of it all.  But not today.  The chores went on the back burner and I went on a hike with my daughter.  It was super rainy but so wonderful to be in my favorite little place in Timber, talking to her and and watching her excitement as she spotted a little newt.  It was just what I needed.  I am going to miss that place for the next few months, but I will be back for sure.

Now I just got done eating a cheeseburger and ice cream (my favorite things EVER) since no food after midnight due to the surgery tomorrow.  If you know me, you know that I am going to be super hangry come surgery time tomorrow afternoon.  


I truly missed the blog this week.  I just have been burning it at both ends, while I still can, but I promise to update you on the surgery tomorrow.  Please think good thoughts, send happy vibes, butterflies, and rainbows my way.

I'll talk to you all tomorrow post-op.  I hope you had an amazing and restful weekend.  I'll leave you with some of my fave pics from the hike today.  I hope they make you smile!

XO  


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Day 14

One day at a time.

We all know that everyone deals with things at their own pace.  That knowledge still doesn't prepare us for when things hit, or how.  Today the reality hit my daughter smack in the face.  Everyone has their breaking point.  Mine is being a single mom with cancer, (like in WAY over my head). For my daughter, her little lizard died today, and with that on top of everything else, it was just more than she could take.  

Today was a crying and hugs and reassurances kind of day.  I sensed that she was almost relieved to be able to cry and feel, and I was thankful that she could.  That's one wisdom that I have tried to instill in my kids in general, and I really have been drilling it in lately.  Allow yourself to feel and learn how to express yourself in a healthy way.  And let me show you how to do that by how I handle myself now. Not perfectly, but vulnerable, accountable, and positive.  It seems like a lot of pressure sometimes, but ultimately I see it as an opportunity to help them be better humans and partners.

So, lots of funny faces before bed time so I could send her to sleep with happy instead of sad.  Now she's snoring in bed beside me and that makes everything in the world right.

Mission accomplished.  For today.  

Goodnight my friends! 

XO

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Day 13

Self-care Sunday.

Today I knocked out one of the hikes that I have been wanting to do but procrastinating.  It was breathtaking and challenging, and there was a point that I wanted to give up.  I had to laugh out-loud at myself as I walked up the steep incline at how my little Sunday adventure had transformed into such an obvious metaphor of the reality I am now facing.  

But it did, and it was a good thing.  As I made it to the top of the knoll, I was filled with confidence and the satisfaction of knowing that I was up for the challenge right in front of me, and the one yet to come.  Not as much confidence (and a lot less grace) as I slid back down the hill on my butt, but I was smiling the whole way.

Also, I have been looking into less strenuous hikes so I can continue to do what I love so much throughout my treatment.  I have heard that Hoyt Arboretum has some really great paths.  Let me know if you have any shorter, easier, hikes that you love!  

I hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed the amazing October we are having.  I know I did!  Remember to take care of you, hug someone you love, say something kind, and give yourself lots of grace.



Goodnight my friends!

XO



Saturday, October 20, 2018

Day 12


Look out Rapunzel....

The winner
Took the day off from blogging yesterday.  I had a few people check in on me because they missed the daily blog, and I can assure you I was not drunk in a ditch, but dang, I was P-O-O-P-E-D.  Not like the regular pooped, but a spelled out-loud kind of pooped.

Today was so much fun!  Made the best of a not so awesome thing and went wig shopping at Kay's World of Wigs with the girl and the BFF.  I am not convinced either way yet if I will wear a wig going into this (or just scarves/hats/bald) but I found one that I really love that is light and I think flattering, all things considered. 

Even though I'm not sure how much I will wear it, I have heard that's it's best to get a wig pre-chemo 1) while I have energy and 2) so the shop could help me find one close to my natural hair. 

The "ummmmm, no"
The "blonde Parker Posey"
The "can I speak to your manager"

The "Beyonce"
Nom-Nom
Some pictures of the shenanigans today and the post-wig celebratory cheesecake at Konditorei.  Always fun to go because Kevin and I worked there together once upon a (long) time ago and we were the most entertaining cake cutting, milk foaming, quiche cooking baristas out there.  It brings back such funny stories and memories.  

Plus it's cheesecake, so....

Have a great night everyone! Heading out for a hike tomorrow.  This weather!!!  😍

XO











Thursday, October 18, 2018

Day 10

The Princess and the Pea.....Sized Tumor.

Light reading anyone?   I can assure you, nothing in either of these binders begins with "once upon a time".  Kind of a bummer.

So today was a huge and tiring day at OHSU.  I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted and at the same time feel reinvigorated.  I feel one thousand times better after the appointments today than I did walking into the oncology clinic this morning.  There is something fantastically reassuring about your doctor telling you that even if everything goes wrong, you are still going to be OK.

Here's the scoop.  I have a baseline MRI and CT scan next week.  Then, the next week, I will have a port put in, which they do under general anesthesia.

Then...wait for it...

Four months of chemotherapy.  And I get one of the most aggressive cocktails (aka brutal) out there.  Thank you special tumor with the "nasty biology" (my least favorite thing said today).  Then depending on the genetic testing, no mutation means a lumpectomy because the mass is so small, or a bilateral mastectomy if the marker is there.  I'm not sure I have ever wanted a genetic mutation so badly.  It would provide a peace of mind that I wouldn't have if I didn't have the gene and just grew a spontaneous tumor.  Either way I will be good (my most favorite thing said today).

After the surgery, I'll have a biopsy of the breast tissue and the sentinel lymph node.  If the biopsies are clear, then I should be done and they will monitor me, I think pretty much forever.  If not, then more chemo, this time of the oral variety.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have a plan.  It's exactly what I needed.  I have a long, bumpy road ahead of me which is likely going to be harder than I can imagine.  I am ready.  I can do this.  And I will.  

I am sure I will have days that I am convinced I can't do it and want to give up, and that's why I am so glad to have you all to kick me in the ass.  Thank you everyone for the positive vibes, keep them coming!!  

And finally, a big shout out to Team Boobie for coming with to the appointments today and taking notes and asking questions and handing me Kleenex. 

Have a great night everyone.  It's time for me to redeem my Mom Bucks for a 5-10 minute hug.

XO


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Day 9

It takes a village.

Today was a good feels kind of day.  On the medical front, had the blood draw for the genetic testing, and tomorrow is the big appointment day.  Update on that to follow.

But for right now I am going to focus on all the happy vibes.


LOOK WHAT I GOT TODAY!!!  Someone very special dropped these off for me and just.....wow.


And!  I connected with an amazing woman today with a genuine passion and meaningful vision and I am excited about the chance to maybe tell you more about that here soon.

I have to say friends, I am the worst person to reach out for help.  I admit it.  I guess it could be considered a good or a bad thing.  I just didn't live that life as a kid or as an adult; circumstances dictated that it was me that counted on me. I internalize when under stress and I need, and am asking you all, please keep reaching out.  I need it.  Nag me, blow up my phone, show up at my door.  I need you all.  

Thinking happy, positive thoughts.  Goodnight!