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!!


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!


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! 


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!


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"
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!!!  😍


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.


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

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! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Day 8

You might want to grab a tissue.

No pretty pictures today.  Just black and white.  Hoping perhaps that will help the reality set in a little bit.  Because what the shit is going on?!?!

Here's the scoop:  

Had the call from the intake nurse at the oncology center today and learned that apparently, there is a good kind of cancer to get,  Who knew?  It seems I didn't hit the cancer lottery and have a very particular and special kind of cancer.  

I mean if I am going to do this shit, go big or go home.

Here's what I know:

  • I have a rare sub-type of cancer, called triple negative breast cancer.  This means that I do not have any of the common receptors on my cancer cells, making it more difficult to treat (because many treatments target those receptors to destroy the cells).  Also, a higher likelihood of recurrence.
  • I am doing genetic testing tomorrow to check for two cancer markers that will determine the surgical strategy.
  • I am going to start two-ish months of a, and I quote, "really big round of chemo".
  • After that, surgery.
  • Based on the pathology of that surgery, I'll either be done or need more chemo.
So yeah, that happened.  Today was a day I allowed myself a lot of grace.  Tomorrow I need to pick it back up and think about how I maintain a new normal, which I think I will chat about tomorrow.

Chin up.  Eyes closed.  Got to get some sleep.

I am going to be OK.  

Monday, October 15, 2018

Day 7

Today.  Not great.

I'm not going to lie or sugar coat it.  Today sucked.  I'm having a little (OK, a lot) of anxiety about this week, and coupled with not sleeping very well, I am tapped out and it seriously got the best of me today.  I'm not proud of it but wanted to put it out there so I can stay accountable (with some help from you all) to keeping myself positive.

I also wanted to take a moment to thank all the folks that have reached out to me throughout this, and especially the kind and well-timed words tonight.  The messages are particularly comforting right now.  I am grateful to have you all in my life and on my team.

That said.....I am going to cash in some of the "Mom Bucks" that my daughter made for me.  I love them and the picture makes me giggle.

My options are:

  1. Breakfast (in bed or not)
  2. A drink card, good for six drinks (I am assuming for coffee)
  3. A massage card, good for four foot massages and four back massages
  4. Do chores
  5. Make dinner
  6. Five-ten minute hug

I know which one I'm picking tonight.  Which one do you think it'll be?

Goodnight friends!!  Tomorrow is a new day.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Day 6

Press Ctrl-Alt-Del.

Preparing for the week ahead and the two appointments that I learn exactly what I am up against.  The past week all I have really known for sure is I have a 1.2 cm mass in my left breast and it's cancer.  This week is when the rubber really hits the road.  

I am full of dread to hear the details, yet so eager to finally know and have a plan.  It's an interesting place to be.

It's been almost a week since I've learned that I have cancer and I am still swinging from complete disbelief to an all-encompassing fear.  Do you remember when you would be on the teeter-totter with your friend and, for a laugh, they would jump off and you would come crashing down?  And then just as fast they would jump back on and you would fly up and lift off the seat and you likely would have flown off had you not been holding on?  Yeah, kind of like that.  I get occasional moments of peace and acceptance, and I am sure as I go through this, I will visit that point of balance more often.

So today, I hit the forest, as I try to do every weekend. To reset.  To prepare.  To clear my mind and choke out the fear that is trying to take my breath away.   

I'll leave you with a few of my favorite pics of my 7-mile hike through Forest Park today.  October in Oregon has always been my favorite and today was just about the most perfect day ever. 

I hope you all had an amazing day today and were able to give yourself some grace.  It's important.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Day 5

Help!  My boob is trying to kill me! 

Dear Left Boob, 

Am I missing something?  I thought we were friends.  I will admit, when we first met, I wasn't sure I liked you very much, and you made me a little uncomfortable, but eventually you grew on me.

As a good friend does, I did my very best to take care of you.  Dressed you up in pretty things and took you to the doctor.  I will admit that you were very good to me too.  You were kind of picky about clothes but I didn't mind.  And even though you got grumpy with me on a pretty regular basis it was OK because you fed my children and made sure they were big, chubby, happy, healthy babies.  You brought me happiness and I am sure you did the same for others.

And now I have discovered you are a traitor.  How am I supposed to feel now?  I can tell you I have been devastated, angry, stunned.  People have said just get rid of you, I'll be fine.  But you are as much a part of me as an arm or a leg.  There is a part of me that is scared of what life looks like without you.  The woman that I identify with is partly because you are here.  My girlfriend and I were talking the other day about you and she made a joke, but in many ways it's true.  She said "I don't know who I am without good cleavage".  It was funny, but it stung because I know that I may have to say goodbye to you.  I'm not ready for that quite yet and I'm not sure it's going to happen, but regardless, I have been preparing for it.  If you do stay, we need to sit down and work a few things out.

I want you to know I now have a "Breast Team", a panel of experts trained in dealing with back-stabbing boobies.  I will advocate for you because you are part of me, but if it comes down to it, I will choose me over you, every day.  I have three big, healthy, happy, not-so-much babies anymore that need me.  And I need me. 

Whatever shape that takes.

With love from your breast friend, 



Friday, October 12, 2018

Day 4

Does this tumor make my butt look big???

Seriously people.  
Asking for a friend.

Here’s why:  I have been comfort/stress eating for the better part of three weeks since I had my “routine” mammogram and it’s time to reel it on in.  My sturdy yet small 5’3” frame cannot sustain and I am preparing for the marathon of my life.

To be more specific, I am looking for recipes.  Healthy and easy recipes that can be made in a relatively quick time frame. I am sure that means different things to different people.  For me, healthy is not a huge amount of carbs or fat (hence the butt joke), easy is any recipe that doesn’t have a gazillion different ingredients and require hours of prep time using my favorite Ginsu knives or busting out the Cuisinart (yes, I have a Cuisinart), and by quick I mean preferably no more than an hour from start to finish because after I get home from work I have three hungry teenagers staring at me saying mom, mom, mom, mom....... I don’t think I need to explain that more other than quicker is definitely better 😅.  

I would super ❤ if you would post in the comments your favorite recipe(s) and/or email it to me using the contact form below.  I think it would be really so great to roll up all the yummy ideas you send into a ‘quick links’ area on the front page for me (and everyone else) to tap into later.

OR, if you have a recipe and you want to come over and bust open a bottle of 🍷 and show me how to whip up your favorite dish and have a few laughs, I am totally down with that too! 

P.S. Preferential treatment is given to those that promise to bring their very best Julia Child impression.  

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Day 3

To blog or not to blog, that is the question.

Hi friends!! I've had several friends suggest that I start a blog to share my journey and encourage others. I love the idea of writing down and sharing my experiences to connect to you all, to help others, to keep my head clear and focused, and to really keep me accountable to me to stay positive. 

So here we go!  Are you with me?

Day 2

Life goes on. Differently.

Sitting at PDX earlier waiting for my flight to Seattle and reflecting (a luxury I likely don't afford myself often enough). I always knew I was on to something when I say perspective is one of the greatest gifts someone can receive. But that theory continues to be validated. 

My life, my family, my friends, everything I see, feel, experience, seems like it's been cast in a new light. My interactions with others even seem different, with more deliberate attempts to make each exchange more meaningful and thoughtful.

In this particular moment, thinking about how much I love the smell of my kids stinky heads. How I'm so lucky to have pretty much the best friends in the entire world. You know who you are 😊 To let the warmth of those bonds wash over me and truly understand that I'm not alone. And how absolutely overwhelmed I am by the response to my Day 1 post. I cannot thank you all enough for reaching out and taking the time to send that positive energy my way. I'm not sure you'll ever know how much it means to me. 

And be warned, if you offered, I'm cashing in 😊

Day 1

Bad news brownies.

I really struggled about whether to post this because I didn't want to 1) be vulnerable and 2) turn it into anything remotely resembling a pity party. I'm fully committed to tackling this with humor, positivity, and grace (it's a real effort right now but I'm seriously trying).

I did ultimately (and obviously) decide it was the best thing for me to put myself out there and go through the exercise of sharing my journey through pretty much the scariest moment in my life. My goal is to take my fear and turn it on it's head. To take the dread that has haunted me pretty much my entire life, the thing that has taken the lives of the people most dear to me, that has now become my reality, and turn all the energy that has gone into that fear for so long into something positive and meaningful that I can draw strength from, and hopefully offer the same kind of comfort to others and touch a few lives.

I also want to bring some awareness that hopefully is semi-uncomfortable and hits close to home, and within that reaction causes some sort of positive action, whether it's a conversation, a self exam, or finally getting around to scheduling that mammogram.

And finally, I really want to connect with others that have been, or are going through, the same thing. Quite frankly it's hard to wrap my head around the reality of this right now considering two weeks ago I was the vision of good health and feeling pretty effing invincible. If you've been here before, or are here now, I'd love to connect for support/crying/laughing/whatever, but always with the goal to move forward, stay positive, and keep the end, the win, in sight.

Or if you want to just send good vibes, I'm cool with that too