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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