Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wiggin' Out!!!

It pains me to admit this. I am kind of tired of fighting already, and the war has just begun. I've already had won some battles, but they have depleted me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am so thankful for all of my friends and family, for each thought, prayer, and message gives me enough strength to face the next moment. If I am silent, it's because I only have the energy and strength to take the next step. And that's only because of your love, and the love, grace, and mercy of our wonderful God. I know that God has so much more in store for me and my future, but I have to concentrate on getting myself well, so that I can do the work He has set before me - helping others!

I haven't slept the past two nights, which is not abnormal for anyone nowdays. I'm sure it will take a little while to get settled in the new place, but I do love it here! My port is still tender, and it just kind of drives me nuts (like my expanders did initially). I didn't realize how far up the body the port catheter goes, and it's driving my neck bonkers! But it will be way better than having IVs, I know.

But I don't want chemo. I don't want radiation. I felt so strong and empowered, and now that I know I will start chemo in a couple of weeks, I don't want to start. Having been through chiropractic school, where we firmly believe in all things natural and only natural, the thought of WILLINGLY injecting some serious toxins into my body for an entire year makes me cringe. And makes me want to cry. And scream, and throw myself on the floor and have myself a little 31-year-old hissy fit (a lot like some of the kids in my best friend Ashlea's preschool class!).

However, I know that I need these toxins to continue to fight this war. I've thought about it and prayed about it, and I know this, with God's help, is what will give me victory. Sometimes, when I'm thinking about (ok, freaking out about) all the chemo drugs, I think about all the other crap (there's no better word choice there, I tried to think of one but I got nothing at 4 am!) that I've put into my body. Years upon years of poor nutrition (I should have won the most un-healthiest vegan award many years ago), lack of exercise (ok it'll give myself credit, I exercised on multiple occasions throughout the years...just not consistently), drank my share of alcohol (those bottles of wine weren't going to drink themselves! And I shared on occasion...). The worst was probably the sugar addiction. All those boxes of Little Debbies that claimed to have 5 or 6 servings, but I only saw 1 serving per box! Same with Oreos...who gets more than 2 servings out of one if those packages?!?

But I digress.

I've willingly cleaned up my diet, and have felt better than ever; yet as Chemo Day 1 approaches, I want to give up on that and just go to Connie's Cookies, get a dozen of those amazingly soft and delicious cookies, and eat them all. For breakfast. Then there'd be a stop at a Panera bakery for some pastries for lunch. Maybe through a bread bowl of soup in there, just to make sure I get my carbs. But before I plan my dinner, I'll just stop with my fantasy, because I know now that I can resist these temptations. Thank goodness for Christ, helping to set us free from our sins!!! (Gluttony, in my case...major gluttony!).

I feel like I initially set out to have a point with this post, but I don't remember what it was now! So it's time to finish my Bible reading for the day and spend some time in prayer, so that I can have the strength to face the day. Thank you all again for everything...God bless!!!

Ooo, and I did go wig shopping with my momma, and we had a blast!!! I picked out two wigs: one for "daily" wear, and the other for fun. I am no longer worried about losing my hair!!! 😀

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Infusion Center

So they finally gave me a number: Stage 3 cancer. Now when I can say I've beat cancer, I can say I beat stage 3 cancer - take THAT cancer!!! My medical oncologist (whom I love dearly) gave me my treatment plan yesterday: Chemo every 3 weeks for one year, starting December 4. Most importantly, I will be able to still enjoy adult beverages for all my holiday festivities!!! After the appointment (tons of info), we got to see the infusion center (where they administer chemotherapy).

The Infusion Center. I don't know what I was thinking it would look like, but as my mom put it, it felt like the control center in Houston or something with all the hubbub of nurses running to and from, attending to the various patients. The infusion center was a large, long room with recliners lined up along all four walls. The recliners all faced towards the center of the room, where the "command center" was. This was a large, oval desk where nurses worked urgently over computers and other medical thingies. Each recliner had a patient, hooked up to bags of IVs, resting in it. The demographics of the patients were all female, age 50+. None of the patients nor visitors were talking, yet the room was loud with emotion. The energy, not good, was palpable; not entirely negative, just gloomy, and laced with fear, sadness, and lonliness.

This gloom was in stark contrast to the lighting of the room. It was bright, SO VERY BRIGHT. And I'm the girl who loves a lot of light! But this light just seemed over abundant, as if extra bulbs had been installed to illuminate any shadows within the patients. Dark places that we like to keep hidden deep within us; away from the world, and away from ourselves.

We went on in and proceeded to schedule appointments for my chemo sessions. The woman who was scheduling me seemed to be confused that I was there scheduling visits for myself, as she kept trying to talk to my mother. I looked around the room as we waited for her to book my appointments. It felt more like a hospital than any place I've been so far, and I realized I hated it. I immediately hated it so much. I felt as though I didn't belong, and having felt that way many other times throughout my life, I hated it even more.

Later, after my second appointment, I tried to picture myself sitting in one of the recliners. For some reason, that seemed to help. I thought hey, if it's a recliner, I belong in it!!! Lol. And I visualized my mom helping me get comfortable and making sure I was settled, and that all the IVs were correct. I visualized doing my favorite past times (music, coloring, games, etc), and friends and family coming to visit. I visualized myself receiving the chemo drugs, and I visualized myself being strong and fighting every step of the way. This little exercise seemed to help, because I realized that I do belong there. I have cancer, and I need to go there to save my life; and hopefully brighten the lives of some of the others along the way. I believe it was Buddha who said, "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will never be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." Even though that place is bright with physical light, I must still be the light in the darkness. And I can be the light! 💡

Thursday, November 5, 2015


WARNING: "Graphic" Photos Below! I've included some pictures of my drains, so that if anyone is reading this and getting ready to have them, they can see that they're not too scary! The first picture is where the 2 drain tubes on my left side are sutured in to my body, and the second picture is one of the drain bulbs (these collect the fluid being suctioned out of the body, preventing seromas and what not). I'd much rather have all this stuff being sucked out of my body, than staying in it!

My second week post-surgery is almost complete! I have not had any real pain over the past few days, other than some tenderness where the drains insert. It's been nice to be back at work part-time, but I have been very tired. Yesterday, I must admit, I was pretty cranky; the result of PMS, exhastion, and a body that desperately needed a shower. Fortunately, a long nap and a saran-wrap assisted shower helped tremendously, and I feel much better today!

I am getting ready to head to my plastic surgeon to:

1. See my plastic surgeon for the first time since my initial consult (I mean, you could say I "saw" her during surgery, but, not really), which is exciting!

2. Hopefully get my drains removed!!!!!!! I must admit I've almost gotten attached to them (emotionally...I'm already attached physically, hah!).  It's amazing how emotional this journey can be, and sometimes it's with the most bizarre things!

3. Get my first fill! This should be interesting, because it amazes me they can just keep adding saline to the tissue expander every week...

Then off to work! Assuming I get my drains removed today, I cannot wait to shower tonight!!! I've never been more excited to get clean lol! 😉

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Blue Snow Day!

I went back to work yesterday for half a day, and it was nice to be back! It felt good to get out of the house, be productive, and talk to people. The one thing driving me nuts is these drains...I am almost ready to rip then out myself! They are just getting annoying and itchy, but they are still collecting a fair amount of fluid, so I suppose it is good to have them!!!

I did have an appointment with my surgeon yesterday, who gave us some good news! My tumor, which they had been measuring at 3.5 cm, had shrunk to only 2.5 cm! And only 4 of the 9 lymph nodes removed were involved! Thank you all SO MUCH for your prayers, they have made a huge difference...Praise the Lord! Now I continue to rest a bit, then towards the end of the month I will go have my port put in, and keep rolling along from there! Woo hoo, the party is just getting started!!! 😀

After my half day of work today, I came home and read my Bible (after eating a huge lunch of delicious leftovers, of course!).  During my "quiet time" with the Lord, I really got to thinking about how blessed I am. I have done nothing to deserve these blessings that God has given me; if anything, I have not taken good enough care of them. I think of how I am blessed with a healthy body. I may have cancer, but I am able to walk with two legs, hug with two arms, hear with two ears, see with two eyes, laugh loud and proud, etc etc. Health is a blessing, and I am so thankful I am health enough to fight like a girl!

I am also blessed with amazing friends. I know lots of people say they have great friends, but mine really are amazing. They are the most selfless, kind, generous, funny, and beautiful people ever!  That might be one of the worst sentences I've ever written (I should really go back and proofread these before I post them), but no words can fully do them justice. They light up my life in ways they will never know.  I am so blessed and so thankful to have them to journey beside me!

I'm also blessed to have a good job with great coworkers, and an even greater boss. These people have already been so helpful and merciful to me on my journey. I also have blessings like my cat (LOVE HER!), my boyfriend (he could take up an entire blog post himself...or even an entire blog! Lol 😉), and my location (oh yeah, I live in Kansas City, home of the 2015 World Series Champions, our beloved KANSAS CITY ROYALS!!!). But I think my biggest blessing in life is my family.

I have a lot of awesome family members, who have stepped up and helped me out more than I could have imagined. The most amazing ones are, of course, my parents. They are, hands down, the most amazing people I have ever known. They would do (and have done, and are doing) anything and everything for me. Having to spoon-feed your 31 year old requires great patience, especially when that is only one of many things needed of a caretaker (thank goodness that specific need only lasted about 24 hours!). Driving me around for appointment after appointment...Keeping my medications and supplements organized so that I take them at the right time...spending sleepless nights with me at the hospital and at home...I think if I were a caretaker, I would go crazy! I do not know if I will ever understand what being a parent is truly like, and I don't know I will ever understand that great unconditional love that parents have for their children. Parents are so unselfish and self-sacrificing that I literally cannot comprehend it. (Confession: A parent's love literally blows my mind! It's like when I think about how the universe is constantly expanding. Ok if it's expanding, what's it expanding INTO? Into nothing? But nothing then has to be SOMETHING, because the universe is expanding INTO IT!!! *MIND BLOWN*). Ok end rant! 😉

That infinite, merciful love that parents have for their children is amazing. What is even more amazing is that this is how our God loves us. Maybe you have not had an earthly parent who treated you well, but please know that God loves you with all of His heart. You are loved no matter who you are, or what you have done, and He is always waiting for you with open arms.

I always wish I could show my parents how much they mean to me, and how amazing they are, but nothing I can do can compare to how much they have given me. Love you mom and dad!!! ❤❤❤

And now that I'm all teary-eyed and emotional (seriously PMS, could you just hold off until I don't have cancer anymore?!?), I have to remind myself that there are too many other people out there who are not as fortunate as I am. It's my job, my God-given purpose, to give those people something to feel blessed about. I must find them and love them!!! And to end on a high note...how 'bout that parade today?!?!?! 😄😆😉⚾❤

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Ahhh, a lovely weekend! 😆 Had some AMAZING meals this week (thank you Gilroy Gals!!!), and lots of good company! Got to see some old friends and other loved ones, which is just awesome. I can't believe how much more I treasure each of my relationships now days!!! Watched The Halloween Tree yesterday with dad, and enjoyed looking at all the pics on FB of everyone's costumes!

Today was a busy day! I am thankful that my pain levels were low. I am so thankful that God is healing me, and has reduced my pain!!! We watched the Chiefs game this morning, and had company this afternoon. Ashlea came over to color  (hehe) and hang out, and my aunt, uncle, and cousin came by for a bit as well. And they all brought me Starbucks! 😄☕I'd been craving it! Barb also came by to bring dinner from the Gilroy Girls again! I swear, those women are amazing!!! Then I took a shower (shhh, don't tell my surgeon, my drains aren't out yet! Lol), and dried my hair, etc. I am physically exhasuted, but it feels good! Ooo, and I even went up and down the stairs today, too!!! Conquered the stairs today; tomorrow, the world!!! 😉🌏

It occurred to me today that this (surgery) is/was only the first step. I feel like I need to mentally and emotionally pace myself, in a way, as if I am doing a marathon. And I guess in a way it is a marathon - a marathon to save my life. I told this to a friend and a BC survivor, and she reminded me that there are other people running this race with me, and even more cheering me on from the sidelines...thanks Pam!!! 😀 I love that reminder...it's my race to run, but I'm not doing it alone!!! 💟

Tomorrow I am heading back to work!!! Going to go in for a few hours before my follow up appointment with my general surgeon. Kind of nervous about both things, but I know work will be good (and I'm excited to see my friends!), and I know regardless of what my final pathology report reveals, I will get treatment and I WILL SURVIVE!!! 💪

And now, let's go Royals!!! 😀⚾❤

P.S. The blue scrubs pic...I was trying on my mom's old scrubs to see if they would be looser than mine for work tomorrow...I'd say they were loose alright!!! Lol!!! I'm a replica of Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!!! Lol!