Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Gosh do I have a lot to live for this birthday. It's good to be 42! Sure is a hell of a lot better than how I felt when I turned 41. Now that a year has passed since starting chemo (I finished the first full round a year ago!), I find my memories framed in a context of where I was in my treatment. Further reinforcement that this will always be part of me.

The girls & I are on our way to Florida to spend spring break with my dad & Maryann. We ran into our good friends in the airport so I got a treat to spend a couple hours with Mindy & the girls get to sit with Kyra on the plane. Aren't they cute!

My brother is brave enough to leave his girls with me for the week so I know we will have a wild & crazy time together.

Things are good, been traveling a lot which makes the gym tough. I gave myself a couple days break from "no sugar" for my birthday but back at it Monday! Leg swelling is there for sure but I'm managing it thru diet, exercise, therapy & massage.

Not much other news. Enjoy your break!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pink Highlights

Oh yes I did, get my hair highlighted PINK this weekend.  I love it - its so fun.  I think my stylist thought I was maybe off my rocker but she had a blast doing it.

Emilia also got her hair colored for the first time.  Gulp.  She got an auburn color in the front which fades to a rich dark brown in the back.  And about 4" cut off.  Not blonde anymore....

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fun Times

This weekend Emilia & I got our cake making skills back out to make a baby shower cake.  What do you think?

Other than that, life is pretty good.  Its great not to be a cancer patient anymore.  Traveling a lot this week & next then headed to Papa & Mimis for Spring Break on the 23rd.  Can't wait to spend the week with the girls, their grandparents & their cousins.  Should be a lot of fun.

We are about ready to start the laundry room!  Will sign the contract this week with demolition slated for May 6th!  Woohoo.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"No Evidence of Disease"

The best four words a cancer survivor can hear! I heard them twice today - on my chest X-ray report and my pelvis MRI report. Three more months til I go back thru the emotional wringer! Thanks for the prayers and positive thoughts. Clearly they work!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Long Time, No Write

Seems like I'm long overdue from a nice newsy update, doesn't it?  Or maybe folks are happy I'm writing so infrequently now.  I am not really sure.  Regardless, here goes.

The last week was a whirlwind, spent in the cold upper Midwest. Amber, Lorraine & I took 2 groups of customers snowmobiling in the U.P. of Michigan last week.  It was a wild travel week with delays, lost luggage, long van rides, changing airlines mid-stream, flight cancellations, etc.  I was pretty happy to be home on Friday night, albeit 5 hours later than I expected!  I missed my little girls and Kendall but it was an exhilarating, fun, challenging week.  On Tuesday we snowmobiled for about 9 or 10 hours - over 125 miles on the beautiful trails in Michigan.  I had no idea it was such a huge hobby up there.  I can see why - its thrilling, challenging, a great workout, a great way to explore.  The group of customers we took were all from the Southeast so for many it was their first experience snowmobiling.  Watching grown men have fun in the snow like little kids is quite a thrill.  Here are a few pictures...
Amber & I
Our first group (I'm in there somewhere)

This is bad ass - we snowmobiled to our OSB plant in Sagola for the tour.
Can't be in Green Bay without visiting Lambeau Field!

I have to admit to driving my snowmobile 75 mph on the frozen lake.  Wow, talk about a rush.  I managed to sneak a peek of the speedometer as we barrelled down a single track trail thru the woods at 45 mph.  Little bit scary at times, I have to say.

Speaking of scary, I have a strange cancer story to tell.  Our flights in Chicago were cancelled on Monday so we had to take a van from Chicago to Green Bay - a bit over 3 hours driving.  I was sitting next to a very nice gentleman from the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Somehow along the way the topic of cancer came up & he began to tell us a story of his daughter's best friend who died from cancer at the age of 16.  Before the words left his mouth, I knew what he was going to say - that she had Ewing's Sarcoma.  He began to tell us how its a terribly aggressive cancer & no matter what you do it keeps going from place to place and pretty much always kills the person. He told us how she had the most horrendous chemo you could imagine, how long it was, how she had surgery & radiation and eventually she died.  The guy meant nothing harmful by his story & of course he had no idea I'd had cancer at all, let alone Ewing's.  The more I thought about the conversation, the more terrified I got.  See, this is the first time I've heard a story of somebody who even knew what Ewing's is.  And its also the first time a stranger has told a cancer story - because up til now it was pretty obvious I'd been in treatment.  Now, if you don't know me, you can't tell - I just look like a fat girl with a short haircut.  What if the guy is right?  What if Ewing's does kill everybody?  I know factually he's not right, but boy did it stop me in my tracks & make me think.  I guess its a situation I should learn how to navigate, because I'm quite sure it will happen again. 

It also made me think a lot about this week coming up, which is my 6 month check up week.  Tomorrow I have an MRI of the pelvis, Tuesday a chest X-ray & a visit with Dr Keedy.  I had to reschedule my appointment with Dr Holt for April so I won't see her this week. 

I am feeling great, pretty much back to my normal self.  My endurance gets better every week.  I am seeing a fabulous physical therapist who is working on my lymphadema & my scar tissue.  My leg swelling has been much better - I believe its because I've stopped eating sugar.  The therapy is helping too but the therapist still really recommends a compression stocking.  I just can't do it.  She said I may have to eventually but right now I'm going to try to keep managing it with diet, therapy & exercise.

She also explained to me how the chemo affects the heart muscle.  She said she looked at my blood pressure from before chemo, thru chemo to now & it has gradually climbed which indicates the heart muscle weakening.  She said that also explains why my heart rate gets so high so fast when I exercise.  The good news is that it will recover.  The bad news is it will take a long time of exercising at a very low heart rate until it gradually strengthens.  Low heart rate = low calorie burn so that doesn't help my weight loss efforts.  But it must be done.  I'm starting back with my trainer this week & I continue with medi weight loss.  The progress there is slower than I would like despite my being very strict & disciplined about my eating.  Patience, Judy, Patience.

The best news of all I think is that I feel like myself again, FINALLY.  I feel motivated, I feel healthy (but fat), my willpower has returned.  I'm finally starting to sleep well again.  I can very honestly say sometime in the last month I stopped feeling like a cancer patient.  Thank God.

This week was Dr Seuss's birthday celebration at school.  Check out Eri's spirit!
Silly Socks!!

Wacky Wednesday.  Yes her pants are inside out!
Yesterday we went to see Life of Pi.  Very odd movie - I'm not sure if I liked it or not.  After that we went for dinner at Ken's Sushi - an old faithful spot for us.  On the way there, we started talking about the P!NK concert that was in Nashville last night.  On a whim, I pulled up Craigs List & bought 2 tickets on the floor for Emilia & I.  We had an absolute blast.  What an amazing athlete, performer & singer she is.  And she's dedicated to being a Mom & Wife too.  Her show was just breathtaking.  My iphone pics from the event suck so I won't bore you with any.  It was one of those nights that made me happy to be alive!!

We are starting on our laundry room/office remodel.  Never a dull moment around here.  Right now we're in the design stages but you know me, I'm ready to tear down the wall & get on with it.  I'm pretty excited about it.

The girls & I will be headed to Florida on the 23rd for Spring Break.  What a change from my birthday last year when we did the head shaving.  Because the morons in IT deleted all my pictures from my computer (I have grown to think of it as a way of not wallowing in cancer pictures from last year!), I can't post a reminder pic.  It was a year ago this week that I started chemo though.  A year.  I have sure learned a lot in the last year.  In so many ways.

Well now that I've taken so much of your time, I will let you go.  Wish me luck, please, with this week's check ups.  I will let you know Tuesday how it went.

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