Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1539

30 Days of Gratitude - day 16

What about my body am I grateful for?

That's a tough one.  I've always had a healthy dislike of my body.  I have always been too chunky, my hair too frizzy, my skin not clear.  Self-esteem is not my strong point.

In many ways I feel like my body has let me down. 
I've had two miscarriages.  I've had Lyme Disease.  I've had cancer.  Now I have lymphedema.  I'm not strong or fit or thin or athletic.  I am scarred.  I have a ton of gray hair.  My skin still isn't clear.

What I am most grateful for is that despite all of that, my body is healthy!  I may not be a size 2 or have long silky hair, but I am alive.  I am able to do everything I want to (except play golf..... need to get back out there!).  I was able to walk dozens of miles in Vegas.  I have no blood pressure problems, no cholesterol problems, no digestive problems.  I DO NOT HAVE CANCER!

So while my hate-hate relationship with how I look continues, even at age 44, I love the fact that my body is able to endure what life has thrown at me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1538

30 Days of Gratitude - day 15

Oops.... I just realized that I read the picture wrong and I used today's on day 12.  So today I will do day 12. 

What texture am I grateful for?

I'm grateful for fleece.  When it's chilly outside and I'm just lounging around the house, my micro fleece pants and/or my fleece blanket are SO cozy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1537

30 Days of Gratitude - day 14

What sight am I grateful for today?

I'm grateful for the sight of my husband and children waiting for me at the airport.  When you are a wife and mom 24/7, and then you are away for 5+ days, it's relaxing to be away but a relief to come back home.

I'm so thankful to have this time away with my friend.  Eating what I want, going where I want, sleeping as much as I want, with some fabulous food and some gambling thrown in..... absolutely divine.  S and I have had the BEST time.  Even though we haven't seen each other since last year's trip, it doesn't matter.  It's like no time has passed.  We are great travel companions and fun roommates. 

There's only so much time "off" I can take, though.  Literally and figuratively.  I couldn't wait to see my children's smiling faces and get a hug from my Hubby.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1536

30 Days of Gratitude - day 13

What abilities am I grateful for?

I am grateful for the ability to walk.  I'm in Las Vegas for my annual trip with my girl S, and part of that annual trip is walking the Rock n Roll 5K.  (We tried walking/jogging last year and that didn't go over so well!)  Despite the fact that we are both NOT conditioned at all and have done zero "exercise" walking in months, we did the 5k AND we got faster each mile.  Rock on!

We did not rent a car for our trip, so aside from a cab ride to the hotel and a few trips on the monorail, our feet are taking us everywhere we want to go.  It's a good thing, because I need to walk about 10 miles a day to burn off the food and drinks we're consuming! 




Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1535

30 Days of Gratitude - day 12

What season am I grateful for?

Autumn is my favorite season, by far.  I love crisp fall weather.  I love football season.  I love wearing boots and jeans and sweaters.  I love baking.  I love the holidays that fall leads up to.

I live in Texas.  Spring starts early, is WINDY and rainy, and doesn't last long.  Then summer blasts in, and it's just HOT and WINDY.  For a long time.  Winter is a crap shoot.  Sometimes it's mild and dry, sometimes we get five inches of snow. 

Fall is the best, hands down.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1534

30 Days of Gratitude - day 11

What holiday am I grateful for?

Since today is Veteran's Day, I am grateful for that.  My dad is a Viet Nam veteran.  My stepson is a veteran.  A lot of my friends are married to active duty military or veterans. 

There's a lot of hate in the world right now, and there's a lot of craziness that makes me worried for the future... but one thing that remains the same is that I'm forever grateful to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Those are not just words from a song to me.  Even on a bad day, compared to other parts of the world, we have it so good here.  I'm thankful for everyone who serves our country so we can continue to live free.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1533

30 Days of Gratitude - day 10

What taste am I grateful for today?

I'm grateful for mint.  I love everything mint.... gum, chocolate-mint, life savers, candy canes.... but most especially MENTOS!

Mints saved my bacon during chemo.  Did you know when you get your port flushed, you can TASTE  the saline flush?  It's horrible.  I learned about halfway through if I popped a mint in my mouth before, I could make that better.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1532

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 9

What place am I most grateful for?

This one is easy today. 

VIVA LAS VEGAS!!!

I love Vegas.  I love sightseeing and people watching and eating good food and gambling. 

Hubby loves Vegas, too, but he won't fly.  And we have kids at home.  And he has a full time job.  So know what that means? 

GIRLS TRIP!   😍😍😍

I'm meeting my good friend S there and rooming with her for a long weekend.  I haven't seen her since our Vegas trip last year, which is way.too.damn.long! 

I'm hopefully seeing some of my KCA girls while I'm there.

I'm hopefully seeing my brother.

And I'll be running the Rock n Roll 5k (ok, let's be honest, I'll be walking it and complaining the whole time) in honor of my friend, my fellow warrior, my KCA sister Nichole.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1531

30 Days of Gratitude - day 8

What book am I most grateful for?

Can I just say that I am grateful for books.... period?
I can't narrow it down to just one.  I'm a reader.  I've always been a reader.  I used to be able to read hundreds of books each year.  Then cancer happened and chemo brain turned me into a tween with ADHD and Alzheimer's.  It's incredibly hard to focus for any length of time, so my progress on my to-be-read piles is very slow.

I don't care.  I still love to read, and unless it's football, Dancing with the Stars or the CMA Awards, you will always find me reading instead of watching tv.   It just takes me a little longer (ok, a lot longer) these days to get through a book.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1530

30 Days of Gratitude - day 7

What memory am I grateful for?

Memories are made much easier to reminisce about thanks to "On this day" in Facebook!  ha ha   For someone with chemo brain who can't usually remember why she walked into a room, looking back each morning on what happened that day in previous years is a neat little time travel trip.

Today my "On This Day" was filled with the high school state marching band competition from last year.  It was an incredible experience.  For my son to participate and compete at such a high level with his band in his freshman year was amazing. 

They didn't make it to the finals, but just to make it there, experience the trip with his bandmates, have his family there watching...... incredible.

Unfortunately there is a dumb UIL rule that bands can only compete every other year.  So no state competition this year.  Something to look forward to.... and more memories to be made!



Monday, November 6, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1529

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 6

What in nature am I grateful for?

I am grateful for sunshine.  On that note, I make a lot of jokes about "godforsakenwesttexas", but I'm grateful to live in Texas where sunshine is abundant.

I have a lot of friends who live in the pacific northwest, and I honestly don't know how they do it.  I know it's gorgeous up there (they've told me).... but when the majority of your days are cloudy at best and it rains all of the time....I would be so depressed.

The only time I'm not thankful for the Texas sun is in the summertime.  One hundred degrees in the sun feels like two thousand degrees.  No thank you!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1528

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 5

What sound am I grateful for?

Although I'm not hearing it right now because she spent the night at a friend's house, I'm grateful to hear the sound of my daughter playing the clarinet.

She's a beginner, and sounds very much like a beginner (ha ha), so the sound isn't always pleasant, but she is enjoying it so much.  I loved band when I was in school.  Her big brother loves band and is in his fifth year of playing.

I'm very sentimental, and it touches my heart that my girl is learning to play the same clarinet that I played in school.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1527

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 4

What food am I most grateful for?

I'm grateful for salad.  Not only because I love salad (especially if someone else prepares it!), but because it contains some of the few vegetables my children will eat.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1526

30 Days of Gratitude - day 3

What color am I grateful for?

I'm grateful for the color brown.

Three of the most important people in my world have brown hair and brown eyes.  They are so beautiful to me.

Monday I have a hair appointment, and I will be so grateful for the brown hair color that will cover my chemo-given gray hair.  I had quite a bit of gray hair before cancer, but if I didn't color my hair now, I would be 75% gray.  Uh, no.

Brown is the color of wood, footballs and chocolate. 

Brown is the color of my favorite boots and my favorite sweater. 


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1525

30 days of Gratitude - day 2

What technology am I grateful for?

I am grateful for every single bit of medical technology that helped my physicians find my cancer.

As I said the other day, mammograms have been used for decades, but in my case the mammogram wasn't enough.  Since I was diagnosed, I've had ultrasounds, biopsies, x-rays, CT scans, bone scans, PET scans, MRI.... you name it, I've had it.

And I'm so thankful that I live in an age when those kinds of tests are available.  Thirty years ago, doctors may have kept looking at my "sort of" clear mammograms and not done anything else until it was too late.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1524

Happy November!

Unfortunately this month is not starting out on a stellar note for our family.  Hubby is still down and out with pneumonia.  I have something.... not sure what, but I'm achy and have a sinus headache that won't quit.  And K texted me at lunch saying she was sick to her stomach, so Hubby had to go pick her up.  She came home and slept for SIX HOURS!  😲

So....on this first day of "30 days of gratitude".... what smell am I thankful for? 

This might sound silly, (but if you are in love with someone you'll get it) I'm thankful for the smell of my hubby's neck.  💕

He's been practically bedridden for a week with pneumonia, and with me having a compromised immune system, I've been keeping my distance.  Now that he's been on antibiotics for a week AND I have my own set of germs, I finally gave up being careful and hugged my husband.

That clean, masculine scent that is all him when I press my face into his neck?  That's the smell I'm grateful for today.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1523

October 31 - Getting a mammogram can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer by 30 to 40% among women ages 40 to 70. 


I will be the first to say that you should not rely on mammograms alone.  I had my first mammogram at age 38, my second at age 39 and another right before my diagnosis at age 40.  None of them clearly indicated breast cancer, even after I'd found a pretty sizable lump.

However, this routine test has been used for decades to screen for breast cancer, and mammograms have saved lives by detecting cancer that women did not find themselves.  My sister-in-law is one of those.  While you should not rely solely on one specific test, especially if you feel that something is 'off', please get your mammogram every year.  It's an uncomfortable ten minutes that could save your life.  

Today brings us to the end of PINKTOBER.  
For me, every month is breast cancer awareness month.  


Oh, and Happy Halloween from my kiddos!





Monday, October 30, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1522

October 30 - Only 5-10% of breast cancers occur in women who have a genetic predisposition for it. However, women with the gene mutation run a lifetime risk as high as 4 in 5 of developing the disease. The risk of developing ovarian cancer also rises to 2 in 5.


That's not confusing at all, is it?
Let's break it down.  Basically "they" are saying that only 5-10% of all breast cancers are hereditary.  So 90 out of 100 people who get breast cancer do NOT get it because it was passed down through their family....they get it because of other risk factors or just dumb luck.

However, if you carry a gene mutation (for breast cancer), your risk increases to about 80% (as opposed to the 1 in 8 for people without the gene mutations).  So while the majority of breast cancer incidences are not caused by hereditary gene mutations, being a carrier of one of those gene mutations increases your risk of developing breast cancer.  A lot.


That sucks for my children.  They have a 50-50 chance of being carriers of the same gene mutation as me, and if they are positive, their risk of cancer is MUCH higher than average.  

That's something to think about, be aware of, and take precautions for, but not something we can do anything about right now.  They can't even be tested until they are 18.  So.... we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the meantime, speaking of my children.... here's some great advice that's been floating around Facebook (and not just for daughters):

Rules For My Daughter:
1. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
2. Send Thank You cards for every act of hospitality — except another Thank You card.
3. Travel light through life. Keep only what you need.
4. Put cinnamon in your coffee, and twice as much when you miss me.
5. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
6. If you’re going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.
7. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
8. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
9. 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast food cheeseburger.
10. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.
11. If you’re staying more than one night, unpack your bag.
12. Never walk through an alley.
13. Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
14. Can’t is a cop-out. Don’t want to is perfectly acceptable.
15. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
16. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
17. Never lie to yourself.
18. Your body, your rules.
19. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
20. Study your curiosities and practice your passions.
21. Ask for what you want.
22. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work.
23. Don’t skimp on good sheets.
24. Fall in love often. Particularly with ideas, art, music, literature, food and far-off places.
25. Fall hard and forever in love with nothing but yourself.
26. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
27. Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are.
28. Naps are for grown-ups, too.
29. Question everything except your own intuition.
30. You have enough. You are enough.
31. You are amazing! Don't let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does....walk away. You deserve better.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1521

October 29 - Between the years of 2006 to 2012 the overall 5 year survival rate for ALL breast cancer patients is 89.7% according to the SEER database.


Survival rates can be confusing.  Not only do they take into account the varying stages of cancer at diagnosis, but also the grade, the hormone receptor status, and the patient's age at diagnosis.  

To break it down as simply as possible, here's a look at the current 5 year survival rate by stage at diagnosis:

Stage of breast cancer
Stage 0 100%  5 year survival rate
Stage I 100%  5 year survival rate
Stage II Around 93%  5 year survival rate
Stage III Around 72%  5 year survival rate
Stage IV 22%  5 year survival rate

Keep in mind that aside from all of the factors mentioned above, cancer is a very individualized disease.  One person who is diagnosed at Stage III may live much longer than someone diagnosed with Stage I.  And with treatments ever changing and improving, survival rates will continue to improve.

That's good news for me, because I'm not too fond of the 72% Stage III survival rate.  Actually, I'm not overly fond of the 5 year rate theory at all.... because who has a goal of only living five more years?  I was 40 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I'm sorry, but I'm planning to live to be much older than 45!  



With that being said, five years seems to be the magic number.  Even though anyone with cancer has goals beyond five years, meeting that goal is a big deal.  275 more days to go for me!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1520

October 28


Nobody likes going to the dentist (except my son, who actually looks forward to it!).  But let's face it.... oral health affects more than just your teeth and gums.  

You know the drill:  brush, floss, see your dentist regularly.  

Friday, October 27, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1519

October 27 - The youngest known survivor of breast cancer is Aleisha Hunter from Ontario, Canada. At only three years old, Aleisha underwent a complete mastectomy in 2010 to treat her juvenile strain of breast cancer.


I'm glad October is almost over.  I'm pretty much done with providing facts about stupid dumb breast cancer.  

With that being said, as awful as having cancer is, I'm overwhelmingly grateful that it was me and not either one of my children that got sick.  I can't imagine watching my child go through what I went through, or worse.  Back in the spring I went to the funeral of a girl who passed away from cancer.  She was a little younger than J.  I didn't know her or her family (my only connection was that her mom was J's teacher the year before).  A lot of my friends knew her though, and of course being a part of my children's school community, I followed her story.  I have to say, that funeral for a girl I never met was one of the most gut-wrenching things I've endured.  

Her older brother was in the high school band, and the band was invited to play "It Is Well" at the service.  Oh.My.God.  That song gets me every single time when the band plays it after football games.  Listening to that amazing band (including my son) performing that beautiful song for a girl taken way too young...... there are no words.

On a lighter note.... know what makes me happy?
This guy.



Everyone knows that children are a product of their environment, and that good parents raise good children.  Hubby and I must be doing a hell of a job, because our son is a fine young man.  He's lazy and a loner and hoards empty water bottles in his room like they are worth something.  He leaves his towel on the floor, doesn't care if he combs his hair and would rather sit home playing xbox than go to a school dance.

But he's polite.  He's clever.  He's incredibly funny.  He's sensitive and kind.  He is his own person and doesn't care what anyone else thinks.  He's scary smart (like.... he has a 3.6 GPA without EVER studying or even doing one page of homework).  There's a lot to be said about a teenager who still hugs his mom, even in the middle of his high school cafeteria.  

He's just a GOOD kid.  
I'm a proud mom.  Most of the time I'm a busy softball mom.
Tonight I was a (freezing) band mom, and I enjoyed every second.

It Is Well.





Thursday, October 26, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1518

October 26 - The first operation to use anesthesia was a breast cancer surgery.


I've been under general anesthesia nine times.... seven of those since my cancer diagnosis.  I've never really had much trouble coming out of it, although I do remember being very nauseous after my mastectomy.  Many people have much worse reactions to anesthesia.  My good friend S has to have the nausea patches every time she has surgery or she spends the next 48 hours throwing up - and that's never fun after surgery!

However, there have been studies involving general anesthesia and both the immediate and long-term effects on the brain and the body.  Since August 2013 I have had general anesthesia seven times.  Two of those surgeries were 8-10 hours or longer.  That's a lot of hours to be asleep during surgery.  

With that being said, I'm very thankful for the invention of anesthesia.  

In 1810, the daughter of John and Abigail Adams, Abigail “Nabby” Adams Smith (1765-1813) was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a grueling mastectomy—without anesthesia. 

I'm sure there was some type of drug administered to keep her out of it, but could you imagine??  
No, thank you.  Anesthesiologists are some of my favorite people!



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1517

October 25 - Minimize alcohol intake to control risk. That means one glass of wine, one beer or one hard liquor drink per day. (Drinking seven drinks in one day and none the rest of the week is not OK.)

Ok, this might be a tough rule to follow today.
I went to the doctor this morning.  In my pjs.  Without brushing my hair OR my teeth.
Good thing it wasn't for me....I was just the driver.


Batten down the hatches... I have not one but TWO sick men in my house!  Lord help me.
My son has been dealing with congestion and a sore throat for a few days, but no fever.  He's allergic to everything and always has sinus issues, so I wasn't really that concerned.  Until he woke up today sounding like death warmed over.  

Hubby went to bed feeling ok last night.  I woke up at 4am with him tossing and turning (and moaning)... and none of that was in a good way!

me:  Are you ok?
Hubby:  Noooo. Ugh.
me:  What's wrong?
Hubby:  101.6 fever.  Everything hurts.
me:  Did you take something?
Hubby:  No.  Didn't know what I could take.

Commencing nurse duties immediately!  I doled out meds for his fever and headache and went back to bed.  Got the kids up two hours later, breakfast made, lunches packed, phone calls for sick Hubby not going to work made..... and then I took a look at my son.  I made him take his temp and when it showed a little fever, considering what was going on with his dad and the way he sounded, I figured he'd better stay home, too.

Luckily I got them in to see the doctor this morning, so they've both already had their first doses of antibiotics.  Strep and flu were negative (which shocked me.... I was positive J had strep and Hubby had the flu).  Diagnosis:  bronchitis for the young man, pneumonia for Hubby.  😷

Given that I've had Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus AND breast cancer in the last five years, it's an understatement to say my immune system is slightly compromised.  So the prescription for me is to stay far, far away from the germ guys.  And maybe have an adult beverage or two.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1516

October 24 - Lymphedema is a potential side effect of breast cancer surgery and radiation therapy that can appear in some people during the months or even years after treatment ends.

I miss wearing my wedding rings.



Lymphedema is annoying.  It's uncomfortable.  It can be painful.  Mostly it's frustrating.  

Mine isn't severe.  It's limited to my left forearm, wrist and hand.  But that means my rings don't fit.  And that upsets me.  I cried in the hospital when I had to take my rings off long enough for surgery...it does not make me happy that I haven't been able to wear them in months.  MONTHS.  


There is no cure for lymphedema.  Once it shows up, you're stuck with it.  It can be managed and hopefully get better, but it doesn't go away.  Since mine appeared back in June, it has not gotten better.  Despite many, many hours of therapy, stretches, exercises, and wrapping, it's still the same.  Despite thousands of dollars spent on appointments, a lymphedema pump, custom sleeves and gloves, and bandages, it's still the same.  Whether I do my pump therapy every day or not at all, or whether I wear my compression garments or I don't... it's still the same.  Actually my new "custom" sleeve and glove seem to make it worse!  How fun is that?

There is an experimental surgery that involves transplanting lymph nodes, or rerouting the lymph vessels that both my lymphedema therapist and my doctor have mentioned.  I didn't jump all over it because yeah... another surgery?  And the success rate right now is about 40%.  But....

There is a lymphedema institute in Dallas that I may add to my list of places to visit.  

If you had surgery for breast cancer, lymph nodes removed and/or radiation, please please PLEASE take precautions against lymphedema.  I don't know what set mine off, but it took almost 4 years to do it.  Unexpected, and unwanted.  I hope it doesn't happen to you.
                

Monday, October 23, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1515

October 23 - Women with high breast density were found to have a four- to six-fold increased risk of breast cancer compared with women with lower breast density.

If you've been told you have dense breasts, insist on something other than (or in addition to) mammography.  I wish I had.

I had weird symptoms going on for almost two years before my cancer was found.  Why wasn't it found?  Because it wasn't big enough to feel, and my dense breasts hid it from three different mammograms.  Scary, huh?

I wish I had asked for an ultrasound or MRI, and I wish my doctor had informed me that those were options.  My cancer might have been caught a whole lot earlier than Stage III.

Hindsight.

It doesn't help me, but it can help you.  If you have dense breasts, don't rely on mammograms alone, especially if you feel like something is "off".  Be your own best advocate.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1514

October 22 - Exercise reduces breast cancer risk for women of all body types – even lean women, according to Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., director of cancer etiology at City of Hope.

As with most other breast cancer "facts", this one aggravates me.  You know why?  One of my KCA friends was incredibly active.  She ran half-marathons.  She taught yoga.  She loved to go horseback riding. 


She passed away today.

Everyone knows exercise is good for you... good for your body, and good for your mind.  But it frustrated me when something like this is listed as a fact, because it makes people think if you exercise you won't get cancer. 

Wrong.

Do what you can to take care of yourself.  Go for a walk, take the stairs, run a marathon.... whatever floats your boat.  But don't think you will get cancer if you don't hit the gym every day. 

RIP Nichole Taylor.  You were one of a kind.
My prayers go out to your beloved Matthew.



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1513

October 21 - No matter what happens, whether the cancer never flares up again or whether you die, the important thing is that the days you have had you will have lived.- Gilda Radner


Happy 77th birthday to my dad.  💙💙💙

Three years ago we didn't know if he would ever leave the hospital.  His heart attack and stroke changed his life drastically..... but he makes the most of what he has.  He enjoys his lady's cooking, watches golf on tv and spends a lot of time sitting and walking outside, just enjoying nature.

Tonight the kids and I called him to sing happy birthday, and when we finished, Dad added on (in a singsong voice) "and many moooooorre!"  Ha ha.  I just love that.  Sometimes I look at him or talk to him and all I can see is this new person that the last three+ years have created.  In so many ways my dad is very different than he was.  And yet, inside, he is still Dad, and that shines through.

Whether you spend your days watching squirrels fight over the bird feeder like my dad, or horseback riding along the beach like my friend Nichole, make the most of what you've got.  We get one shot at this thing called life.    

Treat it like the gift it is.



Friday, October 20, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1512


I'm blessed to still be living the life I love.  Having gone through what I've been through the last 1500+ days, I count my blessings all the time.  Life IS amazing.

And then it's awful.  
I don't have an October breast cancer fact today.   I can't do a mundane "about breast cancer" post.
My mind is stunned, my heart is heavy.  
One of my friends.... a KCA buddy who was in the chemo trenches the same time I was in 2013 (and again this past year).... I learned last night that she has almost reached the end of her fight.  I know miracles happen all the time.... but her doctors think she has only days left.  DAYS.

I'm mad.  I'm sad.  I'm so disappointed in modern medicine.  I'm baffled that someone who can run half marathons and teach yoga can be brought down by f****** cancer.  I'm scared, because the farther out all of us get from treatment, the more I'm hearing about my friends and Stage IV incurable cancer.  It SUCKS.

I'm also selfishly dealing with survivor's guilt.  It's a fine line to walk..... enjoying every second and being grateful for what I have, while at the same time being filled with sorrow over my friend not having that chance.

Please pray for Nichole.  Pray for her husband of 25 years.  Pray for her family and friends.  Pray for those of us who met her under horrible circumstances but are blessed by knowing her.  


Life is amazing...because of people like her.
And then it's awful.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1511

October 19 - The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports a higher risk of breast cancer in women who take multivitamins.


Unless you live under a rock and exist on water and seaweed, you probably eat something, drink something, wear something or are exposed to something every day that someone somewhere has discovered causes cancer.

As an obsessive researcher, I know all about just about everything that is considered "dangerous" as far as cancer goes.  Stay out of the sun.  Don't eat processed foods.  Don't heat up plastic in the microwave.  Don't grill foods to "well done".  Don't freeze water bottles.  Avoid parabens in everything.  Don't eat sugar.  Don't smoke.

The list is endless.

I know people who live by these guidelines.... strictly.  I know people who don't follow them at all.
I'm somewhere in between.  I try to make healthy choices, but I also try to live my life.  I did everything right for the first forty years of my life and I ended up with cancer anyway.  I don't smoke.  I rarely drink.  I love fruits and salads.  I drink water or tea.  I buy hair products that are paraben-free.  I wear sunscreen (because face it.... I live in Texas, I can't exactly avoid the sun).  

But if I want a cookie, or a piece of chocolate, I have one.  I eat grilled chicken.  I love bacon.

There's a fine line between overly cautious and overly reckless....and for each person that line is different.  Be smart and find what works for you.