Monday, December 31, 2012

Good riddance!

I'm not one normally to stay up to ring in the new year. But I think tonight I may stay up. Not to ring in 2013 necessarily but I feel like I need to be absolutely certain that 2012 really does end.

I spent the morning in the ER today. Figured I needed one more visit to end the year & I missed being a patient. Not really. I was at the ER though. Jessie, our sweet dog, did a fancy maneuver to try to get in between Kendall & i on the bed this morning. And in the process put her toenail right in my eye! Ouch!

It even bled! I had no idea the eye could bleed. It freaked us out a little & Kendall said I needed to go to the ER. Rare for him to show alarm so off I went. I love Vanderbilt! They know how to run an ER. Anyway long story short its fine. I've added some knowledge of the eyeball to my medical database too. I have to put antibiotic ointment in it for a few days & it should be fine. And I can cross visiting the eye doctor off my list because I got a complete eye exam even had them dilated!

But not how I intended to spend the morning. I had a bunch to do at the office & an important meeting I had to reschedule. Here's the strange part. I was right across the hall from where I was with the appendix visit. And i couldn't help compare the me that day in June with the me now 6 months later. I'm a hell of a lot better off than I was then. So in the spirit of everything happening for a reason I think I probably needed that perspective.

We don't have big plans tonight. Staying home, cooking, enjoying some of my wine from Walla Walla & probably playing Wii. It super cold here.

I don't need to say how happy I am that we are on the cusp of a new year. But I do need to say thank you for all each of you have done to support, help, guide and encourage me this year. I wouldn't have made it without you.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

One year ago...

As I lay here tonight contemplating sleep, I am acutely aware that a year ago tomorrow I had my biopsy done. A lot can happen in a year, eh?
A year ago I was pretty much on top of the world. I had lost a lot of weight, physically I felt fantastic. I was wearing a size 12 for the first time in probably 15 years. I was working out a lot lifting weights & doing intense cardio. I had a silly little lump in my groin that we thought we were being ridiculously over cautious having biopsied.
I remember going to the diabetes clinic for the fine needle aspiration in the morning on Dec 28, 2011. Strange place to do it I thought. They had a little closet in the back with a sweet young pathologist & her assistant. I recall being annoyed because she told me not to work out the day of the procedure. Funny I didn't give it another thought when I left there last December 28th. Figured that was the end of it.
We all know what happened next. Physically I've been pretty much a train wreck since then! Surgery, chemo, weight gain, radiation, inactivity, another surgery, low blood counts, transfusions, etc. those things have left me physically not what I was in many ways.
I can see now that I haven't allowed myself to "grieve" the loss of some of my physical attributes or to really accept that there are some likely permanent physical affects of this journey. I think now, just over 3 months cancer free, I am only just beginning to gain some of this perspective. I didn't understand why I couldn't just go back to what I used to do - diet, exercise, lifestyle. As i tried to force myself into it, i failed repeatedly to have the willpower & discipline I was used to. I've thought for the last 3 months that something was wrong with me, I was somehow inferior for not just getting right back on the wagon.
People said I need to give myself time. I smiled and nodded while thinking to myself, "whatever - time is for everybody else. I don't need time I need discipline".
I was wrong. I have needed time. I'm just now finding the ability to be nice to myself, to go a day without feeling ugly or fat or lazy, to get dressed without nearly breaking down in tears, to look at a picture of myself without feeling sick. I think I still need more time. I don't know how long but I have to trust that I will know when I'm ready to get back at it.
In the meantime I think I will take that advice (finally) to be patient with myself, to celebrate being alive & healthy (even if its not a size 12 healthy). I will exercise because it feels good not because I'm on some self imposed rigorous road march. I will eat foods that are healthy & will keep my body on its recovery path but not obsess over occasional treats or over indulgences.

My friend who has bad one hell of a medical year said it so eloquently in an email this week. She saiD even with all she & her husband have suffered thru, they would still rather be themselves than anybody else. Just stop & think about that comment. It's insightful & meaningful on so many levels.

And it's pretty much how I'm feeling tonight. I wouldn't trade what I've learned this year for anything in the world. Did it suck? Hell yes the vast majority of this year has sucked beyond all description. But I would much rather be the me I am today than the me I was 12 months ago. What I have surrendered physically has been replaced with so much more. Here's a list of things I've gained this year (notice pounds are not on the list!!)...
-I had no idea so many people cared about us
-I've reconnected with friends from years ago & my girls have had the chance to see the beauty & strength of adult friendships
-I've learned to rely on others & ask for help
-I've almost learned my limits - to know when I have to rest
-I've watched my beautiful family rally around me & give me strength & encouragement that words could not ever describe
-I've experienced such amazing support, understanding & patience from the incredible people & company I work with & for
-I've gained some compassion for others, an innate sense that you never know what another person is going thru
-I've gained an acceptance that not everybody knows how to help, what to say, or how to care & that all of those things are okay
-I've learned that what really matters as we navigate life are relationships. Things that interfere with relationships have to be reconciled & moved out of the way so that people can care for people. Life is too short not to do this.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. At thanksgiving I said I was thankful for cancer. And I mean it.

I'm sure glad it's Dec 28, 2012 tomorrow not 2011. But I am also sure glad I'm who I am today. I'm a better person than I was a year ago.

Curacao Scrapbook

Here is the link to our scrapbook from Curacao.  Enjoy.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Before I forget, here is a link to some of our pictures from Curacao.  We took over 800 so this isn't nearly all of them - but we hope you enjoy!!

Now, Merry christmas! I hope today finds everybody happy, safe & warm with their families.  We have had a fun day - the kids woke up early of course.  We opened our stockings, then had breakfast.  Then we got dressed & opened our gifts under the tree.  Its a ritual - this is how we do Christmas here every year.  Doesn't change.  There's a lot of comfort in that. After we opened all the present here we took a little trip down to my office where EB's present from Mimi & Papa was waiting - she got a razor pocket mod scooter.  She's pretty psyched about that.  Eri got a battery operated 4-wheeler for her birthday yesterday so they are both motorized now!  Woohoo.  Maybe I can have them ride to school (just kidding).

Vacation was so good for us - for us a family to be togtether exploring, adventuring, laughing, learning.  One night Emilia said to me how much she enjoys our family vacations when we can spend time all 4 of us together, experiencing new things and learning new cultures.  They love how we don't sit around, how we are always on the move, exploring, doing things.  We started a new thing this trip where we took iphone pictures of poorly attired tourists, which we call P.A.P.A.Y.A. (People Attired Poorly Anywhere You Are).  We had a lot of fun with that - there were some cruise ships docked in Willemstad so there was plenty of material to work with!

For me personally, it was incredibly therapeutic.  First it was rewarding and encouraging to be able to do whatever I wanted to do without any real physical limitations.  Sure the extra weight sucks & the fat foot still slows me down, but generally speaking, I was pretty much myself.  Mentally it was a huge benefit for me to be somewhere with people who don't look at me & think of cancer or think of me & cancer in the same breath.  I'm not sure how much people I know do that but I feel like its a constant thing.  I will not be defined by cancer.  It was merely a little detour in my life, a learning & growing experience.  It is not me.

So we returned mentally refreshed but not physically rested.  We got up early every morning except 2 & we were on the go constantly.  But we like it that way.  We will enjoy the rest of this week mostly off from work & be ready by next week to start a brand new year!  I don't think any Musgroves will miss 2012.  We are ready for the new year!!

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

More vacation pics

It's pouring rain here today. Kind of ironic since its our last real day here. We were going to ride ATVs today but decided against it in the nasty weather. So we did some shopping, went to the Hato Caves & learned about the geology of Curaçao & now we are home getting ready to pack. Why is packing to come home so much harder???? All our clothes are dirty so it should be easy.
We had a spectacular day yesterday visiting Klein Curaçao which is a small uninhabited island about a 90 minute boat ride away. EB & I did 2 dives, Kendall & Eri saw 7 sea turtles snorkeling. We rode the banana boat & played on the beach. Fantastic!!!
We will be home very late tomorrow just in time for Eri's birthday Monday!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amazing vacation!

Wow we are having an amazing time here in Curaçao. Emilia has completed her SCUBA certification. Eri has learned how to a snorkel (in 40' of water no less!). We have seen 2 hawks bill turtles in the wild. We have spent a half day in Willemstad, the capital. We have been off roading in our "it's a rental don't be gentle"! We took 40 pictures of awful cruise ship tourists which we code named "papayas". We've been shopping at the floating market, seen the worlds oldest floating bridge move. We have fished the Caribbean & caught a couple tuna, a barracuda & a jack. Whew. And we still have 3 1/2 more days to enjoy. We are driving to the far western side of the island tomorrow. Friday we are taking an All day boat trip to Klein Curaçao where EB & I will do 2 more dives & Eri & Kendall will snorkel. Saturday we are taking them ATV riding. Not sure what we are up to Sunday before we go to the airport.
Guess what - nobody has asked me how I feel, looked at me with sympathy, mentioned cancer or anything. I kind of feel like a (fatter) old Judy! Pretty cool. I get tired at night (with all we have done I don't know why). And I can't control my body temperature very well still. Otherwise I feel amazing and I'm treasuring every minute together!!!!
Hugs & kisses to you all!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Time is flying

 Wow, we leave on vacation Saturday.  The past couple weeks have literally gone by in a flash.  I spent the weekend in Walla Walla, Washington tasting all sorts of wonderful wine with Lorraine.  It was cold & rainy but a lot of fun.  Monday was in Seattle meeting with some folks & all day Tuesday flying home. 

Lorraine & I with the Chihuly display at Longshadows

Me at the Spanish winery with their puppy Nestle.  Didn't bring him home but boy did I want to!

This week we went to see Santa.  This picture of Eri & Matt just cracks me up.  What a great Santa - he even made a funny face!

EB is too big for Santa really but it makes me smile that she still goes thru the motions.

The pool at our house in Curacao
The suitcases are packed, wrapping things up at the office so that we can take off early Saturday morning.  We will be incommunicado until Christmas Eve so just assume no news is good news!! 

While we're gone hope you have fun finishing your shopping and wrapping & getting ready for the big old jolly fella to come down your chimney.  For me, the most important meaning of Christmas is the 2 weeks I get every year to spend more or less entirely with my family.  I treasure that time - we get to do silly stuff, fun stuff, or nothing at all.  We watch movies & drink hot chocolate, go to the gym, cook, laugh & celebrate.  We play with our new toys & our old toys, read books, & get organized for the new year.  Thats the magic of the holidays for me.  And this year its more magical than ever, I have a whole new appreciation for those special small moments.  I feel lucky this year to be able to experience them.

I read a very interesting and appropot article a week or so ago - its a short read & I recommend it for anybody who doesn't know what to say or do.  Everything in this article has happened to me this year - the good and the bad.  There are folks who were acquaintances that have become some of my closest friends - because they haven't been afraid to show they care, they have been okay with me not knowing if I'll be okay, and have helped me in the smallest ways - watching the kids or sending a card or even just a text message.  There are others who I thought were friends and I've learned I was wrong.  I suppose that should make me sad, but I also acknowledge that not everybody knows how to deal with situations like mine.  Thats okay - and it doesn't mean I won't be there for them if and when the time comes.  Here's the link:

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Still cancer free!

Yep my scans were totally clear! Dr Keedy is referring me to the Survivorship Clinic. Apparently my lack of motivation and continued fatigue are - you guessed it - totally normal! Have to give myself 9 more months to feel like myself again.

Anybody have any patience I can borrow????

TIme to make the donuts

Its been a tough few days at work.  Wish I didn't have to go there this morning.  You know, I would've thought after all I've been thru this year that I just wouldn't care as much about bullshit at the office.  But its interesting, I find I do still care.  I'm not sure if thats good or bad.  It just is.

I'm looking forward to seeing Dr Keedy and Dr Holt this afternoon.  I'm not looking forward to being back in the Vanderbilt Cancer Center.  I wonder if it will feel good to be back there as a survivor or if it will feel as claustrophobic and terrifying as it has ever other time?  Lets just hope the news is good.  I have an echocardiogram before I see the docs to check if the adriamycin has had any lasting negative effects on my heart.  I don't notice any but the ecg will tell us for certain.

I'll post the news when I have it - hope everybody has a great day.

For photo therapy, remember this?  Shaving my head back in March.  Gosh I hope I never have to do that again.  Puts some of the crap at work in perspective for me at least.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

In My Heart

I've got a few friends in my heart this week.  And I've been reminded of some of the lessons I've learned this year that I'm already forgetting.  Been a reflective, interesting time for me.

Last night we were lucky to have a last minute visit from one of my oldest friends.  I feel so ancient when I write this, but Kirsten & I have known each other for 24 1/2 years.  It doesn't seem possible that we met that long ago, when we were roommates with another crazy person during our first semester at West Point.  Some things change with time and some don't, though.  And even though we only see each other every 8 or 9 years (the last time was at her wedding in 2004), friendships and those bonds from shared hardships (& fun) last forever.  We enjoyed having her for dinner & catching up on the last decade or so.  I just burst with pride when I think about Kirsten - she's a super successful Army psychiatrist - she's one of those people who so genuinely cares about others it just amazes me.  I'm really lucky she's my friend.  I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture though. Damn it!

I have another couple of close friends in my heart this week who are going through some very difficult personal times.  I hadn't reached out to one of them because I didn't know what to say.  And I woke up this morning thinking, thats ridiculous - what if all my friends hadn't reached out to me these last 9 months because they didn't know what to say - how would I feel??  And then I remembered one of this year's painfully learned lessons - life is too short - don't wait to know the right thing to say or the right time to say it.  Just do it.

So, on a happier note I have upgraded my photo storage & now you can see my office all happy & holiday looking!  If you look closely at the tree you will see Wanda & her team are well represented in my little Christmas tree with all my Starbucks ornaments. LOVE them.  I'll post some pics of the house later this weekend - Emilia is still putting the finishing touches on the Christmas village.  Actually it was finished but then we ordered some new pieces and before we got those, the cats decided to play with the snow so she decided to redo it all.  I'm really not sure where she gets her perfectionist tendencies(-:

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Longest Week Ever

Probably not but sure felt like it.  Yesterday I wanted to crawl into a hole & never emerge.  Today's better.  Colonoscopy was uneventful.  Dr Lindsey found no polyps, no nothing really - yee haw.  The best part of that means no repeat test until 2017!!!  Thank heavens for that.  The test is nothing but the day prior is hell.

The PET scan was pretty uneventful.  I woke up yesterday very nauseous (nerves?) & nearly threw up in the machine.  Somehow I exerted willpower & kept from actually vomiting until later.  Won't know any results until I see Dr keedy next week i don't think.

Here's a photo for the day - me & my baby brother last week.  Well, just discovered my picasa is full so I can't add anymore pics.  Instead, here is a link to my Facebook album of pics from last week.  You don't have to be on FB to view them.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

So it begins

It's hard to believe 3 months have passed since I finished chemo. That means the first of my quarterly scans & oncology visits are here. In the morning I will slide back into the PET scanner as step one of my new medical life.
I'm trying to work out how I feel about it & I'm not quite sure. I'm definitely not afraid. I don't fear cancer returning. Perhaps I should but I don't.
I'm not terrified of the nuclear radioactive injection like I was in January. And I got over being afraid of IVs and needles very early in this process.
I'm not afraid I will be late or get lost in the maze that is Vanderbilt.
So, fear is not in the equation. I think probably the most accurate description is curiosity. I don't believe there is any cancer to find so I'm curious what the results will be, what it will be like to be back in the hospital, back in the doctors office, etc.
I also have my annual colonoscopy this week - lots of colon cancer at young ages on my moms side of the family. Again, no fear there. That one is more of an inconvenience because of the prep. Last year they found one polyp to biopsy & it was benign. Maybe if there's nothing again this year I can go longer than a year til the next one... I do plan to ask for plenty of twilight anesthesia so at least something is enjoyable about it!

That's pretty much the news from here. I'm trying to track my calories & exercise again with an eye on just maintaining while continuing to get more fit. I'm still very tired at night, I fade fast! Stuff to ask Dr Keedy about next week...

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Sitting in sunny Jupiter at my brothers beautiful home, surrounded by an incredible family with a big ass turkey roasting away in the oven.

I want to wish each of you a very happy and grateful day.

Here is my list of things top of mind for me today.

-I'm thankful I had cancer
-I'm thankful I no longer have cancer
-I'm thankful for modern medicine
-I'm thankful for my adoring & supportive family
-I'm thankful for technology
-I'm thankful for my wonderful friends
-I'm thankful to be alive, with my whole life ahead of me

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Trust a five year old to make you think deep thoughts. One of the real positives from my cancer experience is that I've reconnected with and been visited by several very dear friends. I don't recall my mom having friends like this visit her when I was growing up (probably because many of her dearest friends were overseas) so I hadn't really given much thought to what, if any, impact these visits might have on my girls. Interestingly Eriana seems to have an instant connection with my friends. Fascinating to watch, she has decided that my dear friends are in fact my soul sisters. She asks me when they arrive if we are soul sisters and of course I say yes. I've come to appreciate our sisterhood in the last year. Once she knows we are sisters she immediately takes to them like best buddies. She likes to snuggle up in the guest bed with them, sit by them at meals, regale them with tales of her friends and antics, and she (like me) feels genuinely sad when they return to their lives. It fills my heart with joy and my eyes with big alligator tears to see this. This is what life is all about. Deep, long term relationships, rallying in times of need, reminiscing, sharing stories, reconnecting after gaps of years without missing a beat, and loving one another's children as your own.
I also recently met a writer and cancer survivor from Seattle who is very inspiring to me. Her blog cracked me up and reminded me of myself if I had better writing And comedy talents. She fought her battle successfully with grace, grit and determination. She even went to spin class and walked a 60 mile breast cancer walk before she even finished radiation. Bitch. Just kidding. One thing that struck me about her story was that she was able to stay so active and fit during treatment.

For those who think I'm always upbeat, positive and inspirstional stop reading now so I don't let you down!!

I've wondered often if I could've been more active and stayed in better shape thru this journey? I like to look back and say I should have, but then I re read a few blog entries and realize it was all I could do for most of the last 9 months to walk from the kitchen to the bedroom. Physically I couldn't have done more i don't think. It's also true, though, that I didn't push myself to. But what the hell am I talking about? I had 42 chemo treatments and 2 surgeries. I pushed myself as Much as humanly possible. Or did I?
So one of the cancer recovery things that nobody talks about or prepares you for is the negative self image. I told Kendall last night that a year ago I felt thin, fit and beautiful - "hot" even. Now I look in the mirror and I'm repulsed. I look fat, bald and ugly add to that my grossly disfigured left leg, foot and cankle. Now not only do my clothes not fit but neither do my shoes and boots. Disgusting is how I feel. I just beat one of the most aggressive and rare types of cancer - shouldn't I feel victorious? Triumphant? Strong? Powerful? Lucky?
Kendall says this is probably very typical. If so how come nobody tells you about it? Equips you to deal with it? Prepares you for it? Shall definitely be on my list of topics for Dr Keedy in 2 weeks! Hopefully there are some resources I can employ to move past this stupid time wasting phase!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Busy Busy Busy Bees

Holy moly its been a long time since I've posted anything.  I guess thats a good sign - that things are returning to normal & I don't have much to report.  Seems like just yesterday it was Halloween & now its nearly Thanksgiving.  Time is flying by.

Last week we took a huge group of customers fishing in the Keys.  I was so proud of how our little group put on such a fantastic event.  And it felt great to be back in the real swing of things, doing a job I love with people I adore.  I missed Kendall & the girls terribly though.  It was COLD for the the Keys & the water was super rough so the fishing sucked.  But there's never a bad day on a boat.  Here are a couple pics from that trip.
I never ever tire of this view!!

Sunrise from the boat as we headed out
Sunset over the Atlantic

So I got home Friday evening & Saturday morning Kendall ran a half marathon in Nashville.  The girls & I went & watched him finish in under 1:30!!  Here are a couple pics from Saturday morning.

Eri & EB with Jessie

Hard to take a self portrait of 3 people!

so proud of him!!!

Sunday morning Kendall & I left for Amelia Island.  I had a business meeting there & Kendall tagged along as a spouse.  We are so lucky to have such great friends here - Lorraine stayed with the girls.  I think they had a pretty good time, not sure about Lorraine though(-:  Its a lot of work taking care of these rugrats.  We stayed at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island - had a beautiful view.  Today we had a leisurely day walking on the beach, visiting Fernandina Beach & then flying home.  This was the view from our room.

So tonight we are back at home, all 5 of us in the bed.  The rest of this week will be busy - Emilia has a swim meet on Saturday.  And our friend Rita is visiting this weekend from upstate NY.  We haven't seen her since March of 2004 -- pretty excited to see her.  And on Monday morning we go to Florida to see my brother's family for Thanksgiving. 

My dad was in the hospital this weekend - he had a mini stroke.  Both of his carotid arteries are almost completely blocked so in a couple weeks he is having one of them fixed.  Its always something. 

As for me, its hard to believe that the week after Thanksgiving I have my first 3 month scan - this particular one is a PET scan.  Doesn't seem possible does it.  Its also time for my annual colonoscopy that week - blah.  Then the following week I will have an echocardiogram to see if the chemo drugs have had any lasting negative impact on my heart & will also see Dr Holt & Dr Keedy.

I'm feeling great really.  Haven't lost any of my chemo weight but my strength is definitely coming back.  I don't have quite as much stamina as I was used to - I get pretty tired at the end of the days but other than that I can pretty much do everything I want to do.  Been going to spin but had to take a break from pilates as I've injured my rotator cuff in my right shoulder.  I'll start physical therapy for that pretty soon; my orthopedist thinks its from returning to normal activity & will be fixed by therapy.

My hair is growing growing growing.  Fat foot/leg is still an issue but I'm not complaining.

Hope you are all enjoying a great fall!!
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Grinch...

Why do I feel like the Grinch handing out candy tonight??? 
  • Maybe its because I see my reflection in the door every time I open it & it makes me mad?  Makes me mad because a year ago I was fit & happy & dressed in a SuperWoman costume.  This year I'm bald, fat & dressed in sweats sitting on the couch.  I wonder if holidays will be like this for a while - reflecting on the shape I was in & what I was doing a year ago.  I suppose its natural to mourn the fit & trim person I was but rather than doing that I am pushing myself to focus on all the lessons I've learned and opportunities I've had in the last year.  Sometimes its not that easy though.
  • Maybe its because some kids come all the way into the house & want to reach into the candy bucket themselves instead of letting me hand it to them?  Those kids by the way get told off & I give them 1 piece instead of the 4 or 5 I give the polite patient kids.
  • Maybe its because some kids inspect what you give them critically & don't even say thank you - let alone Trick or Treat?  And others tell you they don't want Butterfingers, only Skittles or whatever.  Its not Burger King people!!
  • Maybe its because I'm not feeling the Halloween spirit this year like I have the past few years?

Kind of makes me sad - I certainly hope my children aren't behaving like that out there.  And as soon as I get sad & irritated at humanity, there comes a little posse of sweet girls dressed up like princesses who say We love your pumpkins & thank you ma'am.  Sort of restores my faith in parents & humanity.

So our goblins are trick or treating with their friends across the street - Kendall & Jessie are out there with them.  Its chilly here tonight - Eri opted for the warmer "monkey" costume which meant that Kendall & I got out of wearing our coordinating costumes (the plan was for her to be Thing 1, Kendall to be Thing 2 & me to be Cat in the Hat).  Maybe next year.

We had dinner at our neighbor's house before they headed out - which was a treat. They are moving soon which makes me really sad, even though its only a couple miles away. I don't know what Eri will do when she can't run across the street to play with Matt anymore.  They adore each other.


Last night was pumpkin carving night.  I screwed up & forgot to buy pumpkin carving tools so the quality of our work this year was vastly inferior to last year's but we still had a lot of fun doing it together.  Have to remember to get some pumpkin tools this year & put them away with the Halloween decs!  Its one of my favorite things to do. 

Its been a while since I've written so you're probably wondering what else we have been up to.  This past weekend EB & I completed the classroom & confined water (pool) portions of our scuba training in preparation for Curacao.  EB did great - she freaked out one time & it was pretty minor.  It was much more physically taxing than I remembered (of course I was 12 the first time I got certified).  We were in the pool for 5 1/2 hours on Saturday & 3 1/2 hours on Sunday.  Kendall & Eri went to the Titans-Colts game on Sunday while we were diving.  They had a blast!

I've continued to exercise - doing spin class & pilates - about 3 spin classes a week & 2 pilates classes a week.  I feel good, except my muscles are sore all the time & I still get pretty tired at night. Fat foot/leg continues to swell up & I continue to ignore it.  My right shoulder has been extremely painful (I had an old injury to it several years ago).  I've been putting off going to the doctor about it figuring it would get better, but its been 3 weeks now & despite constant dosage of Aleve & a hell of a lot of tylenol its not improving...  Bummer - I guess I am going to have to get it seen to.

And, on the subject all of you are probably tired of hearing about, I have no willpower right now to control my eating.  I trust that will return in time.  One day at a time is how I'm trying to look at it & my nutritionists have been very supportive & patient.  I asked Lisa earlier this week if it was possible I've lost my willpower forever.  She made a great point (as usual) that subconciously I probably feel like I need to treat myself right now.  When I step back, it just seems so incredibly unfair that I actually GAINED weight during chemo.  Like there aren't enough other things to deal with post-cancer and post-chemo, why do I have to endure losing weight again???  I know, pity party right.  It is what it is & I will deal with it in time.  Once again, that whole concept of being patient with myself - easy to plan, easy to say, nearly impossible to do.

My hair is growing like crazy.  My eyebrows especially - had to get them waxed a couple weeks ago & they are all furry again. My eyelashes are back.  The hair on my head is about a 1/4" long & very light in color it seems.  Can't tell yet if that is blonde, brown or grey.  Its soft & fuzzy though - and everybody likes to feel it which cracks me up.  I stopped wearing the scarves, even to work, after the Colorado trip.  That I'm aware of, people haven't really reacted much - which is good.  And I'm much more comfortable without them.

We don't have any plans the rest of this week or this weekend which will be wonderful.  We haven't had a family weekend without plans for several weeks!  So it will be a treat.  Next weekend Kendall & I are going to Jacksonville together & the weekend after that our dear friend Rita is visiting from upstate NY.  Then we head to Palm Beach for Thanksgiving.  Time flies.  I'm traveling for work most of next week - back to the Keys.  I know, rough job.

I hope everyone enjoys a fabulous Halloween.  Welcome to November!!
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Back in action!

Seems like an understatement at this point.  I came roaring back from Colorado & haven't sat down since.  And it feels so good - even though my muscles and joints ache, it truly does feel so good to be active!!

Yesterday evening I went to spin class.  Yes, you read that correctly - spin class.  I didn't make the entire class but I did make 42 minutes & burned 400 calories.  I didn't have the resistance as high as some of the others did I'm sure & I skipped stuff like jumps, but I DID IT!  Wow, talk about a victorious feeling.  Six weeks & 3 days after my last chemo treatment. 40 weeks & 3 days after my surgery.

Today I took the day off with the kiddos since it was the last day of their fall break.  It doesn't feel like fall much here - it was in the 80s today.  Our plan was to load up our 3 bikes & go on the Shelby Bottoms Greenway.  Murphy was alive & well - my bike had 2 flat tires - not the kind that can be fixed by pumping them up either.  So, undaunted, we headed to the Greenway with 2 bikes.  We spent some time trying to get Eri to ride without training wheels - to no avail.  I tried to borrow one of the Green Bikes they have at various spots around Nashville but they were all in use.  So, again, undaunted, EB & Eri headed off on the Greenway on their bikes & I walked. 

I missed being with them but it was such a glorious day, I shrugged it off.  When we finished the bike/walk, we played on the playground for a bit then went to The Pharmacy for lunch.  Followed that with some shopping, came home for a  bit & then EB & I went to Pilates.  Yes, you read that correctly too - Pilates.  Our first time ever - I have to say it was relaxing & enjoyable but difficult.  I will be sore tomorrow but thats a good thing!  My fat leg & messed up knee added to the challenge but I still made it thru the whole 60 minute class.  Pretty proud of that.

I made the world's worst mongolian beef in the crock pot for dinner.  The only person who would even eat it was Kendall - the rest of us kind of cobbled together a dinner of ham & cheese & leftovers.  Epic FAIL on the cooking front - must be out of practice.

Tomorrow is back to the routine - work for us, school for the kids. I'm nearly done with my scrapbook from Colorado so I will post that soon here for you to check out.  Meantime I'm going to try to keep working out & eating healthy & enjoying life!!

And yes, I know I need to take it easy & not overdo it.  I promise all of you I will do my best!!!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Super Quick

I know you all want DETAILS on the Colorado trip - I'm rushed today so just a quick note to say it was AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, AWESOME, etc.  There will be tons more details & lots of pictures, including a scrapbook, for me to share soon.  For now, here are a couple photos.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Normal" life

Have to admit, I think I forgot how wonderful normal life is.  Doing the things everybody else does, not planning my life around when is the next chemo or avoiding activity because my counts are so low.  Pretty cool!

I'm in Las Vegas this week for a builder meeting I go to every year.  This afternoon was spa or golf.  No brainer choice there although I do have to admit that the 85 degrees & sunshine kind of made me want to go ride the cart around the course.  We are staying at Aria - if you haven't stayed here, I would recommend it. Brand new, high tech, good food, awesome beds, cool views.

I am one high rolling gambler.  I wagered $20 on slots yesterday - when I got up to $41.25 I cashed out.  I know, big risk taker right.  But I'm happy with my >200% return!

Tomorrow I head to Denver to meet Lisa & Lorraine for our 3 1/2 day "Cancer Free Colorado Celebration".  Pretty excited about doing nothing special, sightseeing, touring, shopping, and laughing with 2 of the greatest friends a girl could have.  Our wonderful friend Angie made this logo to commemorate our trip - it makes me smile to look at it.

Lets see, what else to report.  I have eyebrows!  In fact when I get home I need to get them waxed -they are growing a little crazy.  And I have itty bitty eyelashes.  Julie gave me the tip that the Maybelline mascara in the yellow tube will stick to itty bitty eyelashes - and guess what it does.  Awesome.  My hair is growing too - although its really fair & you can't see it, you can certainly feel it.  I'm still wearing scarves but I tell you I am about over that - very soon I will ditch them for good.  I feel wonderful.  My energy level is returning & aside from the weight I gained, I really don't have any lingering side effects from the chemo.

I do still have the constant cancer reminder of "fat foot" - my left leg still swells considerably - not just the foot but the whole leg.  I'm continuing to ignore it.  I've been walking quite a bit - up to about 2 miles I think.  I get pretty sore from my new activity level but I've been getting massages often which makes an amazing difference.  When I get home from this trip, I will be returning to the gym.  I'm thinking about doing pilates & maybe starting back to spin class.  And maybe in a month or so starting back with my trainer.

About the only "not good" news I have to report is my weight and eating.  I was back on track, did very well for a week but didn't lose any weight so I got kind of discouraged.  I'm considering this weekend a celebration and will be back on the wagon on Monday.  Clearly my body is still pretty mixed up so its going to be a long haul losing the chemo weight.  But I will do it!!

Kendall's a champ at home this week with the girls by himself.  Last night I was reflecting on how incredibly lucky I am.  Take out the whole cancer & having a new lease on life part.  I have the most amazing husband; as a little girl I dreamed about having a loving relationship with a wonderful man - and Kendall exceeds any of those dreams.  I have 2 wonderful kids - Emilia was recognized at school today for being on Heads List - no grade below a 90 & an average above 95 in the first quarter.  I have a great job where I work with and for some pretty incredible, caring people and have more fun that should be allowed.  I have a super family - my brother & his family, dad, step mom are all awesome.  And I have the world's best friends; I've always enjoyed reading books about grown women and their friendships - now I feel like I could write one. 

So when people look at me in public with that sympathy look (the "You poor thing, you have cancer & no hair" look), I want to shout to the mountaintops - "NO NOT POOR ME.  LUCKY ME"
So there - sympathy lookers.  Stuff it.  (-:  I'm luckier and happier than I've ever been in my life.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Fun Few Days....

Its fall in Tennessee!  Love the cooler weather - anytime I can wear a sweatshirt its a good thing.  I can tell my blood counts are improving slowly & each week that goes by I get stronger.

This week I got to go to the Keys for work.  I know its a tough job but somebody has to do it.  This picture on Wednesday morning made me so thankful for everything - to get to witness sunrises like this is something I used to take for granted.  Not anymore.  Now sites likes this make me thankful to be alive.  Thankful for the people who have helped me survive the last 9 months.  And thankful for modern medicine.

Saturday night was Emilia's first "dance" at school - although they called it a "social."  She had fun but said it was very hot in the dance!  A couple friends came over before the dance & they got ready together.  I took the 3 of them to TJ Maxx - they were cracking me up trying on all the stiletto heels & totally cutting up.  The Brentwood women were scowling but it made me laugh.  At one point Lexi was wheeling Emilia around inside a suitcase.  Good fun.  Its fun to see Emilia loosen up when she's around her friends.

Friday was Eriana's first Field Day at school which of course she enjoyed.  Tuesday is a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch - I may just surprise her by going along.

Yesterday we did a bunch of errands & got our fall decorations out.  Gotta love hay & pumpkins & scare crows. 

We also went to see Disney on Ice.  Eri took her BFF Matt with her - he is NOT her boyfriend right now (I'm not sure why).  As you can see they had a good ole time at the show.  They also make me laugh.

This morning Emilia & I went to watch her old gymnastics team compete at Opryland & then we went afterwards to Opry Mills.  I've gotten lots of exercise this weekend - walked 1.25 miles yesterday & another probably 1.5 today. 

Kendall ran a half marathon this morning - came in 3rd in his age group & got a very nifty plaque.  I don't know how he stays so fast, it makes me envious.  He's running another Saturday in Murfreesboro.

Very exciting news - my eyebrows are almost visible!  Hooray.  And  I can see my eyelashes coming in but right now they are very short & light colored.  Pretty darn exciting.  Hair is slower but I know its just a matter of time.  I will be psyched to wear mascara!  Fat foot & leg is still swelling a LOT.  Doesn't seem to be getting any better, in fact it gets worse with exercise.

This is a quiet week - no traveling for Kendall or I.  I'm trying really hard to crack down on my eating this week & get the scale on the downward path!  Wish me luck.


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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wow, what a party!!!

Sorry, everybody, for the delay in this post.  Been sort of a crazy week here so I'm just now getting to write about the party! 

It was amazing.  I think we had between 110-150 people including kids.  The jumpy house was hugely popular of course.  I won't endeavor to thank everybody here individually because I don't want to miss anybody.  I will say, I had a huge surprise Friday afternoon when Amber delivered one of my dearest friends to my doorstep.  Lisa made the trip from Colorado to be here for the event, which made it that much more special.  And to think they pulled off a surprise - clearly they took advantage of chemo brain!

Here are some pics.

The "pre-party" - blowing up 200 balloons

There were balloons everywhere - they looked amazing

Me & Eri in the jumpy house

Ann & Bill making jambalaya

The Harris' jambalaya - huge hit!!

Don't tell the party rental people that Jessie enjoyed the jumpy house, even the slide inside it

The jumpy house

Lisa & I

Kendall didn't hesitate to greet the Titans cheerleaders

Kyra, Emilia & Mindy with the cheerleaders

Angie brought these beautiful fabric hearts which she helped people make then hung them in the tree.  I'm planning to hang them in my laundry room - they are gorgeous

Angie's craft station in the garage was really popular!

I'm feeling better every day.  Struggling to eat healthy again, it will take time I know.  On a trip for work in the Keys which is hot but beautiful.  More soon, hope everybody is well.

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