Friday, March 26, 2010

Jodie's crazy ride

 This is my very good friend Jodie and we're at my recent birthday party.  She's laughing because I made her wear an apron so she wouldn't get dirty doing her "craft".  Jodie doesn't wear aprons but I do.  And she doesn't do crafts.  It was my party so she wore an apron and she did the craft.  Anyway, Jodie is a amazing wonderful crazy nut...and an incredible friend.  Jodie was a professional surfer for quite a long time.  In the years that have followed, she's been a broadcaster for Fuel TV,  the X Games, and has also done some stunt doubling (the camera likes her).  But what she recently has decided to do absolutely stunned me - and honestly ticked me off - when she first called.  On Sunday, March 28th, she is going to take part in a stand up paddle race but instead of being part of a race team, she is going to be riding solo - which has never been done before by a female - to raise money for breast cancer.  She's doing this in hopes of keeping me encouraged to continue the fight.  The race is almost 40 miles long.  It begins at Catalina Island and ends at Dana Point Harbor.  It will likely take her 9 hours...non-stop on a paddle board...40 miles across the ocean.  There are sharks and other scary things in the ocean!  Ugh.  Even though I was ticked at first (it's pretty dangerous), I have gotten to a point where I am totally humbled by what she is doing.  I will be in the chase boat encouraging Jodie and passing her food but I would love to ask that you please pray for safety and endurance as she completes this crazy ride.

If you want to know's a link you can follow to get her perspective

Thanks so very much.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


March 25, 2010 ... scan day

So, apparently, I'm only going to be able to squeek out a handful of productive days this week.  Oh well.  Yesterday was productive but in an extremely (for me) unusual way.  I spent hours and hours reading the blog of "The Pioneer Woman" :/.  For some lame reason yet to be realized, I was awake virtually the entire night Tuesday making yesterday an enormous challenge.  You know what I mean...the "I'm so tired I can't move and my eyes burn unless I close them" kind of feeling.  So, I got up "early" pushed through much of the tireds and was able to get a decent amount done until I totally 100% crashed and couldn't move off the couch.  What do you do when you physically can't get up?  You pick up your computer thinking that maybe, just maybe, you can get caught up on your bank statements.  Instead, I facebook stalked and came across the blog that I read the entire afternoon, evening,  night...up until I simply could no longer pry my eyes open.  Aaaahhhh sweet, sweet sleep.  Sleep is so yummy.

Well, yesterday I didn't really believe that sitting and reading the stories of another female whom I'd never even heard of before a few days ago was something that I would have called productive.  Oh how wrong I was.

Scans...oh how I HATE them.  I literally hate them so much that when I go in to have a line put in, I am so stressed out that nurse Autumn has to talk me off the ledge.  She gets me giggling (she has the greatest way of describing commercials) and calms me down so that she can find a vein without causing me to pass out.  Today was no different.  Maybe even worse in some ways.  I slept pretty well last night but I woke up in a really, really sour mood and I kept taking it out on Reed.  He kept apologizing to was my fault.  I didn't have any desire to talk about "how I was feeling" even though Reed kept asking.  I knew I would begin crying and wouldn't be able to stop.  It was far easier to be mad at Reed.  During Autumn's "talk" today, she wanted me to think of a place that made me happy.  Literally, the only place I could think of was Heaven.  Reed reminded that I like the beach too...during the off season when there are FAR fewer people around.  Oh yeah. was my turn to go into the little room with the bed type thing so that I could have radioactive isotopes put into my body - after I was fortunate enough to drink this horrid tasting contrast gunk.  All of this on an empty stomach.  So much fun!!!  And then...after the radioactive stuff is put into you, they hand you another cup of contrast gunk, turn off the lights and close the door.  You lay there for an hour and pray that you can go to sleep to speed up the wait.  Your mind starts wondering to places unknown and you start thinking of the most bizarre things.  Many of those thoughts are related to radioactive isotopes running and jumping through your veins.  You know, no big deal kind of things.  I tried to fall asleep.  Not successful.  I tried praying.  It wasn't working.  But I had to do something to keep my mind occupied.  You're not allowed to read, listen to music, make phone calls, text...NOTHING.  You have to lay still...really a pitch black room.  That's when I realized that the blog I spent hours reading actually was HUGELY productive.  I thought and thought and thought about what I had read.  It kept me entertained and kept me from going totally insane.  Gotta love productivity no matter the shape.

When will I have the results of the scans?  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe Monday.  I just don't know and I'm very much ok with that.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chemo is weird...

Tuesday, March 23...I know I don't need to give the date but it feels more journal like if I do so you're just going to have to deal with it :).'s a weird thing.  BIG SHOCK!!!  But when you get a teensy tiny break from it you really, really realize how weird it truly is.  Let's just use this week as an example.  For many, many months, I've either had chemo on Monday and Friday or just Monday.  I didn't get the thrill of the I.V. yesterday because of my pending scans on Thursday.  Chemo messes up scans, often giving off false positives.  I've got enough positives on my own so the fewer the better.  For some strange reason, the daily chemo pills that I am also taking don't mess up these scans.  Huh??  Who knows.  It sort of, kind of makes sense though because the pills don't weird me out either.  They just cause all my levels to be totally stripped of all that is good.  Anyway, it's been 8 days since my last I.V. and I'm thrilled to report that the last two days have been insanely productive!!!  Oh my...if you only knew how normal this makes me feel.  I'm not a true type A but I'm pretty close.  I "need" to be productive in order to feel worthy.  God has forced me to recognize that my worth doesn't come from my productivity.  It comes from Him.  However, I am EVER so thankful when He allows me to have days like the last two because it's a bit of the old me that I so miss.

So, here's to hoping the rest of my week is obscenely productive because my "I'm way behind on this" to do list is SO LONG!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Today is Sunday...March 21st.  This weekend has been emotionally brutal.  God is forcing me to deal with a couple of realities that are insanely painful.  Both realities produced such an immense amount of tears that my eyelids pooled to the point of flooding my cheeks and my chest was heaving with sobs.

The first reality happened on Saturday afternoon when I attended the baby shower of one of the dearest people in my life.  I was already an emotional mess - a hangover from Friday - so I should have put up my guard a wee bit more.  I didn't.  The shower was light hearted with lots of laughter.  The day was beautiful...sunny, breezy, sunny California amazing.  Together that should have been enough to draw me out of my funk but as I was sitting listening to the laughter and conversation, I found myself slipping further into a funk.  It wasn't that I didn't have a legit I was sitting and listening, I was feeling the pain that comes with cancer growth.  So no matter how amazing the surroundings were, the fact that I could feel the growth set the tone for me.  I loved watching my friend enjoy her day and as I watched her face light up with the fun surrounding her, it hit me hard that she literally has life growing in her and I literally have death growing in me.  Literally.  No pun intended.  No cute phrase used.  Literal meaning of what I am saying.  Life vs. Death.  My reality.

My second reality happened early this morning before we left for church.  I was lying in bed trying to wake up and through a series of God led thoughts I realized that I am harboring some resentment towards my two youngest children.  This freaks me out to recognize and admit because I've ALWAYS wanted to be a mom and I've ALWAYS wanted a large family but let me explain.  Child number 4 was ten months old when I found the first lump in my breast.  I was determined to nurse him for a year before I had a biopsy.  This didn't make my doctor happy but I didn't care.  It was incredibly important to me that I nurse my baby until he was a year old.  The biopsy was done...the cancer diagnosis was made...a lumpectomy was performed...and chemo treatment began.  This was 11 1/2 years ago.  My relationship with my little guy was altered from what it should have been but I didn't recognize what had happened. 

I was cancer free for five years which is the milestone all doctors look for.  My doctor was no exception exclaiming that I could now get pregnant.  That was the furthest thing from my mind so of course that's exactly what happened.  Here comes baby number 5.  A couple of years later, here comes the cancer, right back in the EXACT same spot.  And here comes this journey that I am now on.  One that has no end in sight.  What I recognized this morning is that even though I don't actually believe my boys are responsible for giving me cancer, to some degree I am blaming them.  It's really sick and it horrifies me.

To add to the emotions of the weekend, I can literally see that the chemo I am currently on is no longer working.  I have certain areas that my doctor uses to monitor how well the chemo is working.  Things were definitely looking better but over the last week, it has become incredibly obvious that this is no longer the case.  I have scans on Thursday so we'll see but so far I've had a pretty good batting average when it comes to what's going to be on my scans.

So tonight I'm in a place where I've already thought through the "if-onlys", "why didn't God..." and "maybe I heard God wrong" thoughts and I end up where I've been for 5 years now.  God gave me a promise and He will keep that promise.  The current part of this journey is incredibly hard but I know and I believe that the LORD will get me through it all.  And thankfully...the weekend was filled with lots and lots of laughter with friends and family.  That's the balance and that's what has kept me off the ledge.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Up/down, up/down...

For a while now I've wanted to blog about my journey. The update emails I currently do can get overwhelming because I tend to wait so long between updates that I feel a need to share everything that you've missed since the last update. But that's just me...when I tell a story, I like to give lots of detail. My hope is that if I blog, it will be more journal like and more frequent. For years, I've been a journalor so this seems like a natural next step for me. The difference obviously will be the amount of detail I'm willing to share. So...welcome to my first attempt at blogging. I'm quite certain this will be an ever changing process but likely you don't care.

Today is March 17th...St. Patrick's day and the second day after chemo. I'm not wearing green. I'm Irish so I don't have too :). I am dealing with what I commonly refer to as "chemo tired". Chemo tired lasts about 48 hours from the time the I.V. chemo is put into my body. It's the type of tired where your eyes hurt and your muscles feel like they can't breathe. They...your muscles that is...only want to function at about 1/2 of their potential. During the first 24 hours all I want to do is lie in bed. I have to remind myself that it's necessary to eat and then find something that sounds good but doesn't take long to fix. During the second 24 hours all I want to do is sit around. You have just enough muscle energy to pull off a few chores as long as you rest frequently. But you are ever so thankful that your mind is thinking clearly.

It is now March 19th...obviously I don't have this blogging thing down...or maybe I do. Maybe it really doesn't matter. Today is an emotionally rough day. I've always dealt with insecurities related to female relationships and today, those emotions are soaring sky high. I am always weakest in this area whenever I feel discouraged in other areas, especially in regards to my health. I am discouraged in general today. I would love to share why but I think it would be discouraging to you too. Maybe next time.

Anyway, today is a really lonely day and it really doesn't make sense. Other than I'm feeling sorry for myself. I have a love/hate relationship with facebook. I love it because it allows me to feel connected to and get engrossed in a world that is not my own. I hate it because I get to see what all I'm missing out on or not included in. Unfortunately for me, I spend far too much time stalking others because I have so much down time. There was a day when I would have turned this down time into an opportunity to do an easy bible study, journal more, read...something productive and encouraging that I could do while sitting and that would keep the lies at bay. But what do I do instead? I record and watch hours of old movies and facebook stalk.

I love to read...but reading has now become a chore. I NEVER use to begin a book and not finish it. I've started and not finished at least 6 books. I enjoy bible studies and have several lying around tempting me...ummmm....ain't gonna happen. Instead, I dwell on all the things I'm missing out on and wonder what I've done wrong to be excluded. This is a never ending cycle with me and I hate it. I want to just be confident in who God created me to be and not who satan is telling me I am. I have far too much time to be analyze. And when you're dealing with cancer, you're forced to think about things that you've never thought about before. This is why I watch old movies. It takes me out of my own mind and in some ways saves me from myself.

Cancer is such a demon and adds to my insecurities. I have tons of help because friends WANT to help. But, on days like today, I believe they only want to help because of a "feeling sorry for me" type of mentality. I love, appreciate, and have desperately needed the hands on help but there is another kind of help that I am loosing out on. Just normal friendship. People who can continue to be my friend without always trying to take care of me. I miss having friends in the traditional sense. I'm sure I'm more sensitive about it today because I'm in a funk and because we had a great time with old friends last night. The type of friends who, even though they've moved away and we haven't seen each other in years, you pick up right where you left off. Just being really good friends. It brought to surface the loneliness of dealing with cancer. I am pretty excited though because this is an unusually high friend weekend for us. Far more than normal. My current social life mostly includes my medical staff and friends who come by bringing dinner.

I don't say all of this in hopes of being put on everyone's social calendar. I'm just being real about my insecurities and the reality of cancer loneliness. Plus, that's not really what I'm getting at or want. I'm not even all that social but I, like most women, crave really good friends. The type of friends you have silly conversations with and laugh so hard your drink comes out of your nose. That call you for absolutely no specific reason (oh...btw...I totally stink at calling people) just to have a fun and/or deep conversation and you don't need to explain what you meant because they know your heart. Or who feel like it's ok to drop by your house "just because". I feel like our society has lost the art of just hanging for the fun of it. Everything has to have a reason behind it. So...what am I getting at? I am incredibly blessed to have a lot of friends, friends who will drop anything if I call and need them. And if I plan some type of event they will come. But I can honestly count on one hand without my thumb the number of friends I have who are still just "normal friends".

On the flip side - because there always is one - I've met more amazing people during this journey than I would have ever met otherwise. But, of course, I'm going to focus on what I feel I don't have. And like I said at the beginning-ish, it's an emotional day and I'm feeling really discouraged. Really discouraged. So, if I could just sit and cry right now, I would.

Welcome to my blog :).