Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wow Me Wednesday #138

Welcome to the party!
It's my favorite day of the week,
and I'm so excited to see all your fun projects!
Grab the WOW button,
check out other entries that catch your eye,
and leave a little crafty comment love along the way!
Ready, set, GO!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chemo: Round 1

A week ago I was dancing on my chair at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor.
I had just received my stage 4 diagnosis, but was still confident that cancer had nothing on me!
I had no idea how powerful chemo really is.

I arrived Wednesday for my first chemo treatment full of excitement.
This was the day I began zapping the beast within.
This was the day I had been waiting for since I heard the word CANCER.
I was ready.

They started with a bag of saline in my IV and some benadryl in case I had an allergic reaction 
to any of the 3 medications: Docetaxel, Trastuzumab, and Pertuzumab.
Of course I had no reactions to any of them, but reacted badly to the benadryl!
It made me terribly sleepy and dizzy but with the worst restless legs and arms!
I was a mess.

The whole process took 7 hours, since they took time to flush out the line 
in between each medication and wait for a reaction. 
Next time will be shorter thank goodness!!
I went home tired, and very sore in my cancer sites.

The next day I woke up not quite sure what to expect.
My husband stayed home to watch me, but the only reaction I had was sore teeth.
I thought to myself, I got this.

Friday I started going downhill.
My sister came to do my laundry and help with the kids.
I began to hurt and nothing sounded good, not even my trusty chocolate!

The weekend was miserable. 
My stomach was all crampy and it felt like I was being stabbed all over my body with dull knives.

Saturday I managed to get to my daughter's dance performance but was down for the rest of the day.
Sunday I went to church for a little while, and was glad I did.
The message was clearly for me, and the fellowship did me good.
But I was done.

I messaged my cancer girls and they told me not to suffer in silence.
I contacted my oncologist and we are working together to manage my pain.
Things don't seem quite so hopeless, I can do this!

I'm looking forward to figuring out what works so I can be prepared and fight off the pain.
Life is too short to lie in bed if I can help it!

I look around me and everyone looks so alive.
So vibrant and well.

It seems so strange that I would take a medicine to make me better but it actually makes me sicker.
And in getting sick, I am actually getting well. 
Because having cancer didn't make me feel sick, I felt incredibly well.
But in reality I was being eaten alive from the inside from the beast cancer.

I hate cancer. More than I thought I could really hate anything.
I'm mad at it. And I'm going to kick its butt. 
Because I want to dance again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wow Me Wednesday #137

Welcome to the party!
It's my favorite day of the week,
and I'm so excited to see all your fun projects!
Grab the WOW button,
check out other entries that catch your eye,
and leave a little crafty comment love along the way!
Ready, set, GO!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Diagnosis...

If I've learned one thing, it's that nothing ends up like you thought it would.

When we had our "big" meeting with the doctors, we were given a lot of info, but no further diagnosis.
I needed chemo right away, that much they agreed on.
They wanted to place me in a clinical trial, and my favorite part...
I am very young!
This was very important for me to hear as I was celebrating my 38th birthday 
and feeling close to 40 and most definitely not young!

My husband decided we needed a trip to Disneyland before chemo started.
It was a beautiful day and I wanted to remember every moment of it forever!

My best blogger friends threw me a fantabulous surprise party 
and surrounded me with love and handmade goodies. 
I especially loved my pink hoodie they all signed to wear to chemo!

The next day was my liver biopsy. 
The CT scans were inconclusive and showed suspicious gray areas, 
so the oncologist ordered up another biopsy.
The blankets were warm and the sedation was dreamy.
I got to spend a few hours alone with my husband and I laughed a lot.
It was a good day.

My actual birthday was the day after the biopsy 
and the church ladies pulled off a surprise brunch for me at the park!
Cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cookies, and some very thoughtful gifts!
I felt so lucky and loved.

All week I came home to little surprises on my doorstep.
I loved them all, but am especially fond of this necklace from my friend who understands sadness 
and is an example to me of never giving up and pushing forward.

This morning it got real.

Just when I got to school with the kids, I got the call.
The liver biopsy came back positive with cancer.
This is a game changer.

We met with my sweet oncologist a few hours later.
She explained that I have Stage Four infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the right breast, 
estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, 
Her 2 neu positive with mestasis to the liver.

My cancer will never be fully cured, only controlled.
I will have 4 months of aggressive chemo, once a week, with 3 medications.
Things will never be the same.

But really, life is ever evolving.
I know that this is my time and season to experience cancer.
I still choose to fight for my life!

But it feels very heavy, and so I still ask for your prayers.
Your smiles and hugs boost me up and give me renewed energy and purpose.
I thank you with all that I have for your support!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wow Me Wednesday #136

Welcome to the party!
It's my favorite day of the week,
and I'm so excited to see all your fun projects!
Grab the WOW button,
check out other entries that catch your eye,
and leave a little crafty comment love along the way!
Ready, set, GO!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

5 Reasons You Should Get Knott's Berry Farm Season Passes!

Since our kids were small, one of their favorite places to go is Knott's Berry Farm!
We have made so many fun memories together there as a family.
Here are a few of our favorites!

We love Knott's because it's a place where Daddy and the kids get to spend some quality time together. 
Being a stay-at-home-mom, I spend a lot of time with our children, 
so this is a great chance for Daddy to join in on the fun!

One of our favorite seasons to go is in the fall!
The kids love wearing their costumes to Knott's 
and trick-or-treating with their friends in Camp Spooky!
My husband loves to go back at night for Knott's Scary Farm!

Our favorite show at Knott's Berry Farm is the Wild West stunt show!
It is full of corny fun, and the actors are always ready to take a picture with their young fans!

One of our favorite things to do is ride the Butterfield Stagecoach!
The horses are beautiful and it gives us a chance to see the park from a whole different view!

But our #1, absolute favorite thing to do at Knott's Berry Farm is the Timber Mountain Log Ride!
We are all smiles on the way up and all screams on the way down!
It is 100% fun for all of us! We love to ride it over and over again!

Last month I had the opportunity to check out Knott's Berry Farm 
decked out in pink to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. 
Knott's is donating a portion of the "pink ticket" sales to Susan G. Komen Orange County.

Just a few weeks later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and have a new appreciation 
for all that Knott's Berry Farm is doing to help in this important cause.
I am excited to return next year with my family 
to celebrate with my sister survivors on the roller coaster of life!

Knott's Berry Farm annual passes are a fantastic deal for your family!
With monthly payments starting at just $14, you can afford a pass for everyone!

Knott's Berry Farm annual pass benefits include all of the following and more!

  • Unlimited visits in 2014 with no blackout dates!
  • Early ride times on select rides in the summer!
  • Food and Merchandise discounts throughout the park!
  • Knott's Hotel Discounts!
  • Scary Farm Ticket Discounts!
Knott's Berry Farm is giving one lucky family a chance to WIN 4 Season Passes on Facebook!
Enter now for your chance at this great opportunity!

If your family is anything like mine, they're going to love Knott's Berry Farm!
It has something for the whole family, and you are going to have so much fun making memories together!

Friday, March 7, 2014


I took this picture on the beach at a bonfire with friends.
We were all having a great time and every time I look at it I smile!

Many people have marveled at my ability to stay positive through the breast cancer diagnosis.
I had one friend ask me if it was just a front.
Although I do have moments of fear and uncertainty, of being overwhelmed with the changes in my life,
I really do feel calm and positive.

It's YOU!

You buoy me up with your smiles and love.
Anytime I'm feeling like this really stinks and I don't want to do it, I get a message or a visit from a friend.
and all of a sudden it's okay again!

Never underestimate the power you have to make someone's day with your smile!
You have changed my day for the better many times.
Thank you friends.
And keep SMILING!

Print this sheet and send a card to someone who needs to know 
how they have blessed your life with their SMILE!

(Download HERE)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Testing...testing...1,2,3 testing

After my diagnosis the cancer treatment coordinator called me 
and set me up with a long list of appointments.

I was so grateful to have a plan of action, 
even if it was just tests and we hadn't gotten to the treatment yet.

Day 1: Bone Scan

I had never been radioactive before and thought it was pretty cool.
That is until they told me I couldn't be near my daughter until the next morning!
Not cool.

That scan was kind of like a day at the spa.
After I was injected, I had to wait 2 hours to let the tracer work it's way through my body.

My husband took me to The Cheesecake Factory for a belated anniversary celebration.
It was raining outside and cozy with just the two of us eating without any high maintenance little people.

When we returned to the hospital, they wrapped me in a warm blanket, swaddled me like a baby 
and slid me back and forth through the machine on a vibrating table.

Piece of cake.

Day 2: CT Scan

This test was harder for a lot of reasons.
First I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything for a few hours before I arrived.

Then when I arrived I had to drink this enormous cup full of tracer liquid.
It tasted like some sort of lukewarm sewer water.
It was awful.
I wanted to throw it up, but I kept thinking then I would have to start all over.
So I kept it down.

The CT tech gave me the most painful IV I have ever had and slid me through the machine.

I had diarrhea for 2 days.

Day 3: Pre-Op Intake Meeting

I had to undress and then the PA and medical student felt my lumps.
After that they took pictures of me in nothing but a pair of tiny disposable underwear.

I felt like I was in a bad Lifetime sex trade movie.
Not my favorite, but there was no needle or fasting or disgusting liquid.

Day 4: MUGA Scan

I was getting pretty tired of needles by this time.
This scan was to see if my heart was strong enough for chemotherapy.

The tech was exceptionally wonderful and skilled with 40 years of experience.
I wanted to tuck him in my pocket and make him do my IV every time.
He kept me entertained with stories about his life and played the Beatles while I was scanned.

Today I meet with 4 doctors.
A general surgeon, a plastic surgeon, a geneticist and a hematologist/oncologist.

I am anxious to hear the testing results and treatment plan.
And hopeful I will be comfortable with it.
I just want to zap this beast cancer!

Stay tuned for the results...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wow Me Wednesday #135

Welcome to the party!
It's my favorite day of the week,
and I'm so excited to see all your fun projects!
Grab the WOW button,
check out other entries that catch your eye,
and leave a little crafty comment love along the way!
Ready, set, GO!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

So I Have Cancer #BreastCancer

This week I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I wanted to share my story in hopes that it will help others.
Here's Chapter 1.

A couple weeks ago I noticed a pain in my side by my underarm that felt like a bruise.
Since my daughter, who is 5, still climbs in our bed at night and kicks, I thought that must be where I got it.
But then a week later, the pain was still there.
And I started poking around, feeling it and wondering what was going on.
Then I felt the lump.
And I freaked out.

That night I was fortunate my doctor's office was having late appointments and I squeezed in.
The doctor I saw was very nice, but told me that it felt like a swollen gland and I would be fine.
But just for my peace of mind, she set up an appt for a mammogram and ultrasound for me.
The soonest I could get in was 2 days later, and I spent those 2 days obsessively feeling the lump.

The morning of the mammogram I dropped my kids off with a friend and headed by myself to the hospital.
I had found a second lump and was feeling anxious to get this all checked out.
The mammogram was cold and painful.
The ultrasound was warm and lovely.
And then the doctor said she was concerned and wanted to biopsy.
I laid on the ultrasound table and silently cried as I thought about my babies that I didn't want to leave behind.
They biopsied 3 spots. The two lumps and a lymph node.
I picked up my kids and stayed in bed the rest of the weekend.

The next week I was on pins and needles waiting for the lab results.
The few friends I had told about the lumps assured me that it was probably nothing, like the first doctor said.
But really I knew. I had cancer and I just needed them to confirm it so we could make a plan.

Wednesday came and we went about our normal school routine.
On the way home I stopped and bought strawberries from a stand.
I love when the strawberry stands come out, but I usually don't splurge on them.
I was feeling like life was precious and I should just buy the strawberries.
After that I got the call.
I was driving and knew I shouldn't answer the phone, but I had been waiting for so long to know.
She told me I had breast cancer. 
And I felt calm and peaceful.
The wait was over. And now I could act!

I called everyone I could think of that had been waiting with me and then put it out on Facebook.
It was such a relief to share the burden and to feel the support of so many.
Because although I felt calm, it's never fun to hear that you have cancer.

People wonder why I feel calm.
I believe it is a great gift of faith that I have been given by my Father in Heaven.
My life is a like a little slice of heaven. Imperfect but oh so wonderful. Peaches and cream.
I have felt for some time that something was coming, a trial to rock my world a little. Or a lot.
And so I have been talking to my Father and asking him in prayer to please let it not be my children.
And He has granted my request, which I am so thankful for.

I am not afraid to be sick. I am not afraid of the process.
I only want to LIVE.
And this is my fight.

Thank you for all of your support.
If you are the praying kind, please send some my way.
I have a whole series of tests and scans coming up to determine if the cancer has spread.
I find out on Thursday what the plan of action is, and I'm excited to zap this beast and be well!



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