Monday, August 30, 2010

The first counseling session....

We had our first counseling session today. It was with a wonderful guy at our church who does Christian counseling for a living, but works for the church on the days he's not in his private office. Let me say, we were a little scared of the unsure.... We weren't sure what he would ask us, or really what we would get into. He deals mostly with crisis and family situations.

There were a few tears shed and a few tough questions. Like "what is your prognosis?" to which I answered "I don't know...they won't tell me" which then brought up "What do you think will happen?" and I answered "I know I'll be OK. God has already healed me, it just might take a yr for it to show up on the medical equipment. Between prayer and the chemo, my tumor is already shrinking, I just don't know how much until I get my next ultrasound". But, after talking with us for over an hour, we walked away with this:

"Y'all are awesome. Your marriage is very strong. I love that you can laugh about your situation. I love that you don't have fear. Fear and Faith are often equal in our lives and you both have chosen to let Faith be your option instead of Fear. You are doing a great job with the kids, answering their questions with just what they ask and nothing more, and answering honestly."

He was very shocked at my attitude and strength during this whole situation. Most people let fear consume them and focus so much on the negativity surrounding the word "cancer" and I showed nothing but the opposite. He loved that because I am not able to scrapbook right now, I am at least keeping a blog so that "just in case" my children will always have something FROM me about this journey, followed quickly by "but I think 20 to 30 yrs from now, you'll look back on these moments and laugh about them and reflect on them in a positive way". He agreed that laughter was the best medicine and he loves that we are able to laugh about it all. He liked my poker hand analogy a lot.....about how I have a hand of 4 aces and a King high....How can I not go all in and win?

He was amazed and humbled by Chris' strength and ability to just come home and pick up the pieces and fill in where I can't. He loves that he is focusing on me and the family and not turning his back out of anger or resentment. He actually told Chris that in the future, he feels like he could be a HUGE positive reinforcement in other men who need to "man up" in certain situations and he could teach them a thing or two.

He asked if we were mad at God. Of course, we answered honestly...."we are not mad at Him. He did not give me this sickness. He did know about it before I was even born though, because he knows every hair on our heads before we are even created. He knew I was going to have this fight, and He knew exactly when it needed to happen. I needed that big red stop sign on June 29, 2010! I needed the summer to get all the testing done. He already knew when it was going to happen, and he was able to control the events all leading up to it and the pieces all fell together in perfect HIS timing." (he was speechless) He said I am going to be a HUGE testimony and a HUGE influence in the future.

We are still not sure why us....why me....why now... and we may not ever know. We haven't really asked those questions since the first day of my biopsy. But, we are using this time to allow God to teach us what it is that we need to be taught, and allowing God to use us in whatever way he needs us in order to be completely drawn to Him and totally in love with Him. Whatever mission is ahead of us, we are ready to accept the task and succeed.

When asked about my fears....Death is the only fear I have. It used to be Death and Cancer, but now only death scares me. "Scared of dying or scared of leaving your children?" Both, but mostly of leaving my children too early and not having enough time with them. That's why we are taking our situation one treatment at a time and not looking into the future. Only God knows the future, and until that time comes, there is nothing we can do to change the outcome. He already knows the outcome, and I believe in my heart and I have Faith in Him that I will walk away cancer free and with no relapses!

We already know that we have drawn ourselves nearer to Him during this and we have put more Faith in Him than we EVER have. With everything we went through with Grayson, we thought we had learned our lesson.... to not take anything for granted and to enjoy every moment with every special person in our lives. But apparently, there is a new lesson to be learned. We don't know exactly what it is yet, and we don't know when or if we will ever know the exact reason for all this, but what we do know is that TOGETHER, WITH THE HELP OF GOD, WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS.

All in all...we are doing GREAT! It was nice to hear from someone who didn't know us before we walked in the door. He really didn't need to offer us any "advice" per-say, just told us to keep up the good work. He was really impressed with our attitude, strength, our marriage, and our Faith.

I also learned something about Chris today that I never knew in our 10 yrs of marriage. I won't go into details publicly, but WOW....he almost shed a tear. (For those who know him, that is a HUGE feat for him to overcome....he has never cried in front of me)

So, there is our confidential counseling session cliff notes version. Haha. I really am a good secret keeper, but I think there were a few things that I haven't touched on before in my blog, so I figured...what the heck...why not. It's all public, and I'm glad that I get to share my journey publicly and help someone else who needs to hear that laughter is the best medicine, and if you have Faith in God, you have everything, because with Him, nothing is Impossible...

I'll leave you with the 2 scripture verses and 1 positive breast cancer note on my 3 new bracelets (Thanks Megin, Lisa, and Amy)

2 Corinthians 12:10 ~ I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Phillipians 4:13 ~ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Healing Ribbons, Have Faith, Nothing is Impossible, Expect Miracles. (I love the "Expect Miracles"...don't just pray and ask for miracles...EXPECT them)

I wear these 3 bracelets on one arm every day, and on the other arm are my 2 pink bracelets ("Cancer Sucks" and a pink ribbon bracelet) and my Pink ribbon watch.

I love them all, and they are all so encouraging on my journey that I can't just pick I'm all jewelried out....(is that even a word? Oh is now)

Ta-Ta for now.....Enjoy! and as Bon Jovi would say.... "Keep the Faith!" Hahahaha

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I figured out my pattern...

Wednesday's chemo was easy-breezy. (come on, you know you're singing "....beautiful...cover girl") I have finally figured out my rhythm and patterns to my side effects. Even though minimal, I do get a few.

So, here goes:
Wednesday: Chemo day....WIRED, chatty, and can't sleep well, even after sleeping pills.

Thursday: TIRED and can't usually sleep much because....I'm a Mom first, and I have kids.

Friday: EVEN MORE TIRED because I still haven't caught up on my 3-5 hrs of sleep from
Wednesday night, even though I nap when Grayson does. Headaches start to set in on Friday night. Toe tingling and numbing sets in.

Saturday: ACHY knees, achy joints, and sore neck. (Probably from holding up this big ol' head of mine) I get exhausted easily and can only handle about 4 hours of errands, or fun time before needing a nap. I also get a little irritable on this day. Not bad, but probably because I'm tired and cranky and don't feel like "myself". Headaches become a little more intense. Toe tingling extreme. Can't feel my toes usually and my toenails hurt.

Sunday: TIRED...TIRED....TIRED.... I can't say it enough. It's all I can do to muster up enough energy to go to church, and after Sunday School..... I am ready to go home and nap the day away. Headaches start to go away, and joint pains start to go away. Toe tingling is minimal.

Monday and Tuesday are my 2 "normal" days. Repeat process.....

Also, in case any of you are curious......LOSING HAIR MAKES YOUR FREAKING HEAD HURT!!! Yes, I know...yelling (in caps) doesn't make it any better, but I do feel better now saying it. I can't even explain the feeling. It's not like "pre-cancer" when I would lose a few strands, or even after I gave birth and lost quite a bit. My scalp feels like my hair has been in a ponytail ALL DAY LONG and hurts. Then, the little stubblies that are left are poking my head and whether I wear a scarf or my wig, they poke me. If I lay down (like to take that much needed nap) it hurts even more. It feels like I'm laying on a porcupine. Night caps, and I'm not talking about a shot glass of liquor before bed kind of night cap, the hair loss nightcaps.......they don't help. I've tried that. It also just hurts to touch my head. It feels like I'm poking a jello mold or something. My head is soft and mushy, but then prickly and hard at the same time.....I know that doesn't make sense unless you've lost your hair to chemo before. I just never knew it actually hurt to lose's dead already...that makes no sense to me.

I made it back to the gym this week! YAY! I only went 2 days, but it is a start. I actually RAN on the treadmill Thursday...the day after chemo. Not for a long time, but I 5.0 speed ON AN INCLINE of 5.0 who cares for how long...right? (it was over 5 minutes....just not gonna say how much over 5 minutes) I also did enough weights that I actually made my abs sore....(which needed it BAD). I guess you could say I'm "in training" for the Susan G Komen race on October 2nd, so I gotta keep it up so I can do the whole 5K without getting too winded....or throwing up, or passing out. HAHAHAHA (Hope my team is ready.....)

♥ We celebrated our 10 yr anniversary last weekend. I have the best husband in the world. He is really freakin' awesome and does so much for our family. I don't think I'd have half the strength I have today if it weren't for his big shoulders to cry on, or his muscular arms to pick me up when I'm falling down. We have so many memories, so many laughs, and so many fun times together. I'm so glad he chose me, and I'm so glad I said YES! ♥♥ Happy Anniversary Babe! ♥♥

Finally, this picture CRACKED me up so I had to share.... my friend Amy sent me a box of goodies and this hat was in it. Grayson (my 2 yr old) put it on and was wearing it around the house, he WANTED me to take his picture and was so proud of his hat. But....I had a friend come over later that day, and I told him to go answer the door with his hat on....he looked out the window next to the door, stripped off the hat and threw it down before he answered the door....he was embarrassed because the friend had her (7 and 9 yr old) daughters with her..... it's already starting...

I know....He is beautiful!!!He melts my heart.




Ta-Ta for now....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Keep on Truckin'.....

Today I had round 5 of chemotherapy. I have to say, I don't know if I was so distracted by such great company, or if I am that immune to this stuff, but I didn't feel a thing. Usually my stomach gets full and heavy towards the end of treatment, and I get hot insides and chilly bumps on the outside. I normally get so loopy that I can't focus.

This time, I felt like she gave me water in my IV. Seriously....that's it. I got a little warm on the ride home, but hello....we are in TX.... We were thrilled that it was only 93 outside! That's out of the ordinary for us here.

I also got to meet Deana today. One of my "pink sisters" from this journey....

She was down at MDA for an appt and stopped by and gave me some info that was interesting and very helpful. (I got to see her "rack" too...haha) I got to see what a fresh mastectomy looks like. She has been off Chemo for a little over 8 weeks and you can see how much hair she has back already. She is about 6 months ahead of me and is friends with Moni, my other "pink sister" who has almost an identical cancer to mine. Deana has the exact opposite cancer as me. She is triple positive, where Moni and I are triple negative. We all have a common friend between us and are all 3 on the same journey, at different stages, all under 40, and all strong fighters! We've all emailed, but this was our first face to face meeting. (Moni and I are supposed to meet next week when she's down there for radiation)

So, Megin and I (my friend that took me today) stopped at WhichWich for a late lunch on the way home and as we were leaving, another customer came up to me and was just going on and on about "OMG, you look so beautiful, I don't know what kind of cancer you have, but you are just radiating and shining...yadda...yadda....Keep up the fight, you are gorgeous". (She races in the Susan G Komen race and does all kinds of research participation...mentioned some pink party, and some other foundation, but she talked kind of fast, so I didn't catch them all....but basically...she supports the boobs!) So, of course, it made my day to have a complete stranger tell me that. It was the first stranger who "knew" I was a cancer patient and acknowledged it so beautifully. We get a little self conscious. Is the wig crooked? Can you tell it's a wig? Is my baldness showing? Does this scarf look OK? Are my dark eye circles showing? Does my port button look like a third boob in this shirt? You know....stuff other people don't have to worry about on a daily basis. Not to mention, we usually carry a little extra weight from chemo, and we can't remember anything so we feel fat, lost and jumbled most of the time, so to have someone address the issue in such a positive light was refreshing. I hope everyone else along my journey continues that way.....

So, yet another great day at MDA, good friends, good laughs, and great times....
(Thanks Megin for the ride, and thanks Eva for watching Grayson and for dinner!)

Ta-Ta for now....

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's nothing but GOD

Today, I had an appointment at MDAnderson for a followup checkup. The visit yielded nothing new to talk about, except that the lump they found in my last mammogram came back as non-cancerous. YAY! (This was the one they found at MDA that brought on the 3rd biopsy on their machine)

But, today I got to meet Logan face to face. Let me tell you about Logan..... Years and years ago, I went to school with a girl named Shawna. We weren't very close, didn't know each other very well, but she has an unforgettable face. When I was in the hospital having Grayson, the hospital photographer came in to take his pictures. Lo and behold, it was Shawna. I didn't recognize her at first, but she had to come back a second time because I was nursing Grayson when she came originally to take his pictures. So, the whole time I was waiting for her to return, I thought she looked familiar. I put 2 and 2 together and asked if she went to the same middle school as me. She said yes and we caught up a little bit. Almost a yr later, we re-connected on facebook. I wasn't looking for her, she wasn't looking for me, but she happened to post on someone else's page and I remembered her and sent her a friend request, which she accepted. We emailed back and forth a little bit about Grayson and his surgery, and also for my inquiries of becoming a surrogate (which now is out of the question). But, I believe God re-connected Shawna and I at a more perfect time. You see, her 13 yr old daughter Logan was recently diagnosed with a germ-cell tumor about the same time as I got diagnosed with Breast Cancer. We've been both fighting a similar situation, but on a different level. It's so difficult to watch your child go through something so traumatic, but Logan has that fighter spirit in her, just like I do. Shawna says it helps her to know that her daughter is fighting so hard. Logan and I are both at MDA and we usually have chemo on the same days. Logan's got delayed this last time due to blood counts, so we didn't get to meet up last Wednesday. Logan put a hot pink streak in her hair just like I did before it fell out and her and her Daddy had a similar "shaving" situation as Chris and I did, almost on the same day. Logan is one of the strongest 13 yr olds I have ever met. You can read her story here.

Logan is such a sweet girl, who loves to cheer and has a wonderful personality. Her story is so touching to me and I hope we continue to stay in contact over the years. Read her story and you will be touched, just as I was.

So, it was a great day at MDA but for much different reasons. I'm glad I got to meet her and say HI in person. I know God puts people together for seasons, and for a reason, and I believe in my heart that he re-connected Shawna and I at the most perfect time and I am thankful for that.

Love ya Logan! Hang in there!

Your "Big Cancer Sister",

Friday, August 20, 2010

Team Tiffany Shirts

Just a heads up, I am almost out of most sizes of shirts. I will be placing a shirt order by mid week next week, so if you are wanting to order, please get your order to me before Wednesday. I try to order a few extras to keep on hand, but I can't guarantee I'll have your size unless you let me know ahead of time.

I changed the screen print shirts also. I no longer offer the organic tee because I really couldn't tell much difference for the price increase. So, it's available in womens sizes now also. The womens shirts are true to size, but taper in at the waist just a tad instead of being boxey, and the shoulders are not as broad as a mans fit.

The fight like a girl shirts are a BIG hit, but remember to order one size up on the fitted shirts. The 3/4 sleeve is regular fit, true to size, but a bit on the boxey side. If you're like me, and busty and hippy, I would even suggest going up 2 sizes on the fitted shirts so it's not super tight, it's comfortable. The girl shirts are true to size. It said they were fitted, but they are already over sized, so M is a M and L is a L. I added the numeric sizes next to them so you could decide which size would be best for your girl.

I also have raffle tickets available that my husbands work is doing. They are raffling off a 42" HD TV flatscreen (approx $600 TV). Tickets are $20 each or 6/$100. 100% of the proceeds of that go to our medical expenses and anything left over will either be donated to cancer research, or we will find someone in our community going through a similar situation and "pay it forward". These are not available in the store, so email me if you would like to purchase those. The deadline is September 23 as the drawing is September 24th. (email is Just remember, you'd have to pick up the TV from either Magnolia (via Chris bringing it home) or from Cypress at the plant if you are the winner.

One more event coming up is the Susan G Komen race for the cure on Saturday, October 2. Many people have asked if I am actually walking and YES I am. You can donate to my team, or sign up to be a walker with us that day and raise your own contributions which ALL goes directly to the Susan G Komen foundation reasearch for a cure.

Both of these tabs are available on the left hand side of my blog. Check them out.

Thank you all for the outpouring of love and compliments on our emotional day we had this week. It really touched my heart and lifted my spirits to hear all the encouragement. I love you all!

Ta-Ta for now.....and moving forward.....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I was NOT prepared for this.....

This morning I woke up as usual, but something told me "check your pillow". No, not for tooth fairy money, although I would have made a KILLING if I got paid for each individual hair that was left ON my pillow. So, with a tear (or two), I scooped up the 50 or so hairs that had fallen out last night and threw them in the trash. I hung my head over the counter in our bathroom and ran my hands through my hair a few times and each time, just had gobs of hair coming out. Not like the previous days when I would run my hands through and one or two would fall out.....GOBS of gross hair just fell on the counter. I got into the shower, now mind you.....they told me "your hair will thin on Taxol, but not completely come out... and you have a little longer"....... I WAS NOT TOLD it would freaking come out in clumps on day 21! I was soooo not prepared for the clumps. I could feel it running down my back as I showered. I washed my hair and looked down at the shampoo-ey hairy hands of a gorilla. Of course, the tears started flowing again. I knew at this rate, I was not going to have much hair left by this weekend when all my friends would be available (maybe) for our "pink pajama shaving party".

So, my wonderful, beautiful, sister-in-law Kay had already signed up to come watch my kids for the day. She was my "chosen" photographer because she takes beautiful pictures, with my brother Shawn's camera, and really knows how to capture the moment. So, I called her and said "bring the camera" and then hung up and called Chris (sobbing) and said "can you take a long lunch break?...I have to shave it now because I lost so much, I can't even fix it and it will just fall out all day long and that's just plain GROSS and I don't know when Joyce is going to be available with all her back to school clients trying to get in last minute". I think he understood it all, but I'm really not sure because it was just like big giant long run on sentence in between tears streaming down my face. But, he knew what he needed to do. I quickly pulled up a chunk of my hair still attached and clipped a pink butterfly clip around a batch of hot pink hair and snipped it. I wanted to remember the color I chose, since it was something I'd probably never rock out again.....who knows....

So, he arrived home about the same time as Kay got here, and we were all set up and ready to go out in the backyard. Here is our unexpected, sexy, beautiful, intimate, tear-jerking chapter of this book, as captured by Kay:
(crank up the volume and get your kleenex box ready.......)

Our beautiful Bald heads......Man, this guy REALLY loves me......
Off to work he went, and off to Chemo I went.
It was a beautiful day, filled with lots of tears, but at least it's done.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I know I already blogged today, but we had "family movie night" tonight and Kaylee picked the movie 'Evan Almighty'. I always love some of the quotes from God (Morgan Freeman) in that movie so I thought I'd share. "(God reciting the pledge) One nation....under me....." I always laugh my ass off at that line....

One of my favorite lines is "If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

So, I didn't pray for this battle, OBVIOUSLY! Who would? But I prayed for me to figure out what to do with my business, and how to stretch my time between the kids and a growing business. I prayed for him to guide me in the right direction as to what to do with the business. So, did he answer my prayer exactly? NO. But was he supposed to? NO Did I expect him to? Kind of..... Did my prayers get answered.......YES! Just not in the way I had hoped.

I can say that this is all perfect timing, if there is such a thing...perfect timing for cancer??? What if this had come earlier in life? I am supposed to go through early menopause through this whole ordeal which means NO MORE KIDS. I know, that might excite some people.....even though we were already done anyways after Grayson. But what if it had happened after I had Kaylee? It happened at a time when business was slow, so the few clients I had designs pending for were VERY understanding about me referring them to someone else. It happened at a time when all my friends were on summer break, so therefore, finding childcare for all my testing appts for a month were taken care of. I found the lump the DAY AFTER I got back from a vacation. Could you imagine if I had found the lump while ON vacation? It happened at a time before I signed up for a lot of winter craft shows. (It was on my to-do list for when I returned for vacation) It happened during the summer, while my kids were here to bond with me, and share this journey with us. Not be at school all day worried about Mommy. Now, they start school PEACEFULLY knowing that every Wednesday, Mommy has chemo and will come home right as they are going to bed, just in time to tuck them in.

I was going to sign up to be a surrogate mom and carry a baby for someone else....but we wanted to wait until Grayson was 2....June 20th, and I found the lump on June 29th. So, perfect timing? I think so. Even though that dream is probably shattered now, It just wasn't meant to be, and I'm at peace with that because it wasn't my decision to make.

The second line from that movie that I love is "God: How do we change the world?
Evan Baxter: One single act of random kindness at a time.
God: [spoken while writing A-R-K on ground with a stick] One Act, of, Random, Kindness "

So, have you done one single Act of Random Kindness? I want to challenge you to all do one single act of random kindness tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. Just think ARK... it's where the world "re-started" and it's where the world can now "re-start" again. Call an old friend and catch up, or apologize for a relationship gone bad. Forgive someone, and let them know they've been forgiven. Help an old lady cross the street. Bake some cookies for a neighbor you've never might be exactly what they need. Do whatever it is that you are led to do, but remember throughout the single act of random kindness and you can help change the world.

Or at least make it a happier place....

Hell, if it doesn't work, at least you'll feel better about yourself....right? I PROMISE you, there are still good people out there. I've been a witness to it recently. You just have to find them. You'll find them by doing one single A.R.K.

(disclaimer: I also know that there are some people in this world who are completely uncapable of doing this because of who they are, but I also believe God can change examples)

Ta-Ta for now, my ARK angels.... night night.

Writers Block

So, I haven't posted for about a week. I've had writers block. Well, not really writers block, but what I want to write will not come out good in "blog world", no matter how I write it. Someones feelings will get hurt, or someone will take it the wrong way. So, I've logged on to post and deleted it many many times. It came down's better left unsaid.

But, my beautiful cousin Teresa reminded me that I haven't blogged in a few days, so she needs something new to read. So, Teresa...this one is for you.

I've had 3 doses of Taxol and I am going tomorrow for my 4th. That means I am 1/3 of the way through Taxol after tomorrow. As for the side effects that "could" happen, they are minimal. I haven't been sick. They said you could get the "D" poops, but I've steered clear of that. They said you could get numbing or tingling in hands and feet. I've had minimal amounts of that. Nothing to stop me, just little twinges in my toes some nights. They said you could get muscle cramps, and the only thing I've had is some muscle and neck tightness. I've tried the hot water salt bath to relieve it, but the hard part is that I'm too tall to sink down in my garden tub to get my neck under water. So, I employ my nurse Chris to just give me a nightly neck/shoulder rub while I drift of to dreamland. They said your nails would lift off the beds. My nails are sore, and soft, but they haven't' really lifted yet. They said I would get tired, and that's about the only one I've noticed. I need my daily nap or I crash by 7-8pm.

Finally....the hair loss. They said my hair would thin, but everyone is different so they couldn't tell me how much. Last week, I started to notice a few extra strands on my hands when I was styling it, or a few extra strands on the towel. Now, it's to the point where if I run my fingers through my hair, it's definite that at least one or two hairs will fall out. I find them on my shirt throughout the day, and in the bathtub after I wash my hair. I am probably losing about 50+ strands a day now. It's getting harder to fix because it doesn't want to lay right because of where I've been losing from. I think this is probably the hardest thing to deal with during chemo. I will soon become a walking advertisement "hi, I'm bald....I have cancer". I haven't been able to go get a wig yet because it's hard to coordinate schedules with my hairdresser who is booked with back to school appointments through this week. It is something that she wanted to share with me as as special day, and we just haven't been able to make it happen yet. I was offered some lovely wigs from a friend of a friend of mine, but unfortunately, my big head won't fit into them without them sliding, and they are not the right color for my skin tone, so I'll be donating those to someone else going through chemo, but very thankful for the thought. I have lots of scarves and hats, but no clue how to tie them. I did figure out the bow (go figure) but it has to be done on a long scarf, not on a bandana.

So, that's it for my side effects. Most of my friends who have seen me lately say "you don't look like you're going through chemo". I have to say, I agree. We all have this pre-conceived notion that when someone goes through chemo, they are bed bound, looking all frail, sickly, not able to function, and not "like themselves". I function normally, I have no choice...3 rugrats. I am tired, but I wake up and function, then take a nap when the kids do, and then can function for a few more hours. I still make breakfast and lunches, I just make it easy stuff. I try to put on makeup and fix my hair when going out in public so I feel better about myself. Not for anyone else's sake cuz I could care less if someone else thinks I look like I've been hit by a mack truck, but I don't want to feel like that, so I at least cover up the dark eye circles, blush up the cheeks and wear some mascara while I still have my eyelashes.

Now, the FAC chemo that starts after Taxol, that one could probably knock me on my butt and call me a liar. But, for NOW, I am holding up just fine.

I do have "chemo brain" and "chemo nose" which is worse than anything you have when you are pregnant. I forget a lot, lose my train of thought, and can smell EVERYTHING! (so be warned that if you skipped your shower that day, I will know......)

I finally figured out a way to get in my daily vitamins, nutrients and wheatgrass. That stuff is NASTY, so I found a smoothie concoction that gets it all in there at once. (it's a purplish green color, but it's not that bad....just don't smell it, and you have to chug chug chug) It's pretty filling too, so that is my breakfast, followed by a chaser of coffee milk. (coffee milk is like "sugar with a bit of tea" the way we drink it in the south.....little bit of coffee with my milk that isn't really milk because I hate the taste of coffee) I've also switched to Stevia in the raw instead of Sweet N Low. Rumor has it, that sweet-n-low stuff causes cancer in lab rats, and know.... I don't want to take a chance of getting cancer. :-)

So, that's about all I can remember right now. I did want to say that once school starts, I welcome visitors, phone calls, etc. It's just too hectic right now with all 3 kids who never have anything to say to me until the phone rings. I'd like to get out of this hermit stage I am in, and maybe once I have my wig and feel better about my hair situation, I'll get out of the house more often, but think of me if you are heading out somewhere alone and want some company. Especially if it's a Tuesday and Grayson is in school.

Love you all!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A few words.....

So, I had chemo today. So far, so good. I feel even better today than I did last week. Still feel hot inside and cold outside, and my nails feel like they are lifting, but aside from reactions and no side far. My mood improved a little bit today. Feeling a little happier, but it could be that I was just excited to go "get my drippings" on....who knows. Believe me, that sounds weird that I was "excited" about chemo, but it's like throwing up during a stomach bug. you know it will make you feel better faster, so you just let it go....literrally.

So, I have to say that all the encouragement that I get about my blog is SOOOOO uplifting. I hear all the time... "it's like you are talking directly to me and I can picture your face telling me a story" or "your make me cry and then you make me laugh" or "I was moved by your post for a totally different battle and it was exactly what I needed to hear on that day" and my favorite "you're so strong and this battle has already been won".

I have to say, this is what keeps me fighting! Hearing all the words of encouragement, knowing that I've touched someone...somewhere....somehow..... I feel like "mission accomplished" you know what I mean? It makes me smile. It's uplifting. Especially on days where I just want to cry my eyes out because it's not fair.

So, my challenge to you is this....

I want you to leave a comment on my blog, it only takes a second, and they come directly to my inbox. I want you to tell me, either in one word, or how ever many it takes describe me. What is it that moves you when you read my story. How do I make you feel? How do you describe me to your friends when you tell them about my story. (You know it's a small world when a friend of a friend hears about your blog and story and you have no clue who the person is that told them about it...they are a complete stranger)

So, what am I? Who am I? What is it that makes me who I am?

Sometimes I'm not sure myself what makes me who I am...... except that I am who God created me to be and I let it be.....

Lift my spirits and keep me fighting....for my kids and my husband. (and if you make me cry, you'll get a virtual thumbs up because I need to cry in a good way for a change)

I love you all!

Ta-ta for now....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I still have a hard time...

...saying the word "Cancer". Saying "I have Breast Cancer". When I pull up my blog to do a new post, I see the pictures and I hear the music and I still want to cry, and sometimes I do. Just to make sure I feel better and don't bottle it all up. I guess I'm still in shock, maybe denial, maybe a little of both. I'm definitely still in the "why me?" and the "what the hell?" mode. I'm trying not to think about it, but it's hard. I'm trying not to talk about it, but it's hard. I'm trying not to live it, but it's impossible. I have to live it. It is me. It is right now. It is that chapter in our book and each day I turn the page hoping the chapter is over. All I want to do is spend time with the kids, but I'm so tired and worn out by 5pm, I don't like going anywhere. I'm too tired to go anywhere. I'm stuck in this vicious circle and can't escape. I am a mommy by day and a patient by night, and Chris is my nurse. (a damn good one too) I just can't imagine life any other way right now, and it's not fair. It's not fair to me, it's not fair to Chris and it's not fair to the kids.......but it is what it is and I can't change that. My mom recently was hospitalized and I couldn't go see her, and it was hard. But, I can't be around huge crowds, can't be in a germ infested hospital. Can't really go do a whole lot of stuff. Don't really want to either. I'm turning into a hermit. I just play with the kids during the day, play on the computer while they nap (if they nap) and play on my iPhone till bedtime. (because I don't want to watch TV and that's Chris' escape) So, I sit next to him on the couch, he rubs my feet or my shoulders, gets me water, makes me take my meds, and then I plug in my phone and head upstairs to bed. Repeat the next day. I'm a texter and an emailer. I'm kind of a tech runs in the family. I don't like talking on the phone, so if you've called me and I haven't returned your call, I either forgot, or just don't feel like talking. I like visitors, but I don't want to go anywhere, so you have to come to me. I'm just in a funk. Blah.......

I am just trying to take it one day at a time and not look forward too far. I can't imagine thinking anywhere past chemo or the next 21 weeks. If I've calculated right, I should be done with chemo 3 days before Christmas. I'm not sure if I'm excited about that, or if I will be clung to the bathtub puking my guts out on Christmas day. It's out of my hands, it's in God's hands, so we shall see. It would be about right though....Chemo through our 10 year anniversary and Brayden's birthday, sick and throwing up through Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chris' birthday, and starting radiation/recovery from mastectomy and lymph node removal around Kaylee's and my birthday and hopefully will have new boobs by Grayson's birthday. Afterall, he was my booby baby, so I guess it's only fitting, right? But you see why I can't really look too far. 12 months is a LONG time. Who knows if it's even going to be 12 months. It could be more, could be less. All I know is there HAS to be an end in sight. There HAS to be light at the end of the tunnel. I gave it all to God, and I know he won't fail me.

Oh, and to top things off, my memory is failing me.... I used to be on top of things, and I used to remember things, and now it's all I can do to finish a sentence by myself and use the correct words. I'm so distracted and can't handle more than one task at a time. SOOOOO not me! I can't remember what day it is, what todays date is, or what I'm even supposed to be doing. I often apply deodorant twice because I cannot remember for the life of me if I put it on to begin with. I can't remember to rinse my mouth 3x a day with saltwater, I can't remember to grab something before heading downstairs or grab a bottle of water before leaving the house, I can't remember to fax some paperwork that I've been meaning to fax for a week, I can't remember to apply bio oil to my scar twice a day. I lose my train of thought ALL the freaking time. This part sucks! I thought "pregnancy brain" or "milk brain" was bad but believe me "Chemo-brain" is WAY worse!

So, now I have to say "I have Cancer" AND "I have chemo brain" and just laugh about it....I have no other choice. It's the only thing that gets me through each day. Laughter.....

Laughter with my kids....

Laughter with my husband....

Laughter with my sister.....

Laughter with a friend....

Laughter with my parents....

Just laugh with me, not at me.


Ta-Ta for now.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's all about the baby.....

Today, I cannot write anything about myself. My thoughts are consumed with my baby boy. So, it was only fair that I updated his blog today, on the 2 yr anniversary date of his Cranio surgery.

You can read about it here .

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chemo round 2....

Yesterday was round 2 of Taxol. I did awesome! I really just feel like I am getting a saline drip. Aside from a minor local reaction that looked like a few mosquito bites and itched, I did very well. They kept me an extra 45 minutes and gave me a benadryl but they were already subsiding as we were waiting on pharmacy to hand out the pill to my nurse. Knowing me and my stupid allergies, I'm probably allergic to some part of Taxol, but only 10 more to go of those!
So, score is: Tiffany 2....Chemo ZERO!!!

I actually slept 6 hrs last night, which was good compared to last week's 30 minutes of sleep. I remembered to take my sleeping pills when I got home and by 10pm, I was in bed. I woke up at 4am and did some computer work, answered a few emails and looked up a few things I've been meaning to look up but always forget. Balanced the checkbook (OUCH!) and had 2 cups of coffee before the boys woke up. (Kaylee was at a sleepover so they actually slept in because she's sooo noisy when she gets up) Then, I showered and went and had my complimentary massage from my friend and massage therapist Stefanie Stutts. (It was fantastic!) She is hooking me up during my treatments when I need one.

So, all in all, it was a great week! I got a lot accomplished, felt less stressed and I definitely do not look like a girl going through chemo. Now, having said that, I know I have harder days ahead of me, and I will at some point be having hard days or nights, possibly getting sick, but right now, for the moment.... I am feeling great! So, for that......I am thankful!

Me getting ready to leave the house for Round 2....

All hooked up and ready for my "drippings"

Doing my Sudoku puzzles, courtesy of my friend Kelly Ahlberg.

My "Fighting Coach" and handsome, sexy husband Chris.

Monday, August 2, 2010

3 is my limit....I think

I had to go down to MD Anderson today for a mammogram on their machine, and an Ultrasound on the breast. Fun stuff, I tell ya!!! I've never felt like such a celebrity before. Let me tell you.....they must really like my boobies there because they took like 5 million pictures of them, and then 4 different ultrasound techs came in to scan my lymph nodes and breast. I felt pretty secure in myself knowing that all those people wanted to see my boobs. :-)

Seriously though....they found another lump. Same boob, but right by my nipple. They think it's fibrous tissue, but wanted to err on the side of safety, so they did ANOTHER biopsy. So, that makes 3 biopsies in 1 month! They came back 10 minutes or so later and said it looked like it was going to be benign, (non cancerous) but I'll get the results at my follow up appt on Aug 23.

When Chris heard the news (because my awesome friend went with me instead of him since he had so much work to do) he said " what does that mean?" I chuckled to myself as this is all via text and sent back a reply of "not that it matters, honey.....cancer, sarcoid...seriously, babe...this is nothing...even if it is cancerous, it wouldn't matter...."

So, we went by the wig shop, went for lunch, and came home....

I'm exhausted and of course.....THIS is the day the kids are all whining! Ugh..

Is it bedtime yet???? No, I mean for me......hahahaha

I think so! Ta-Ta

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Climb...

"The struggles I'm facing, the chances I'm taking..
Sometimes might knock me down, But No...I'm not breaking...
I may not know it, but these are the moments...
I'm gonna remember most, yeah...just gotta keep going!

And I.....

I gotta be strong, Just keep pushing on....
There's always gonna be another mountain, I'm always gonna wanna make it move...
Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose...
It ain't about how fast I get there, ain't about what's waiting on the other side.....
It's the climb!
Keep on moving, keep climbing, keep the Faith..."

Some powerful lyrics by a young 16 yr old that I found moved me. I found them on my daughter's iPod selections, but hey.....age doesn't mean you are any less full of honesty, wisdom or courage than any adult out there. So, maybe the other side of being Cancer free is the climb up that mountain to get to the other side, and I will do it!

I'll keep on moving, I'll keep on climbing, and I'll fo' sho' Keep the Faith! (Bon Jovi even tells me to do that)

Ta-Ta for now!