Wednesday, October 30, 2013

More N.E.D.

Yep, thats right, another good report from the doctors!  I spent most of Tuesday at Vanderbilt, had a CT scan with that icky contrast, a PET scan with that awful radioactive "isotope" (what is an isotope anyway??) & then saw Dr Keedy.

I won't lie, its stressful.  The day before - especially the night before - and during the tests is freakin awful.  I hate it.  I really do.  I wish I had no idea what a PET scan was & that there weren't 30 CT scans in my electronic records at Vanderbilt.  As I was sitting in the waiting room letting the radioactive isotopes work their way thru my body & generally feeling sorry for myself for how much time I have spent in that damn place, I got this quote on my email...

Free Daily Quote- October 29, 2013
"Your journey has molded you for your greater good.
It was exactly what it needed to be.
Don't think that you have lost time.
It took each and every situation that you have encountered to bring you to the now... and now is the right time." -A. Tyson

Really made me pause & think, as you can imagine.  I have no clue who A. Tyson is but the quote is right and objectively I know that I'm a better person, better mom, better friend, better wife because of my experiences with cancer.  It was just the reminder I needed as I headed into the PET scan behind the huge metal door with the radioactive symbol on it.  Funny how sometimes the most random things just wander into your life right when you need them.

So, anyway, I made it thru all the tests & got an all clear report - "No Evidence of Disease".  Yay!  Its been 13 months since I finished chemo so this was my one year PET scan - glad those damn things are only annual.  I go back in three months for a chest x-ray.  The orthopedic oncologists have moved me to seeing them every 6 months!  The regular oncologist is still every 3 months for at least another year.

This morning we went to Emilia's head's list ceremony - smart little cookie got above a 95% average in all her classes for the first quarter (again).  Amazing to me, since I was so thankful that letter grades we had didnt discriminate based on a percentage.  My 93.51% was just as much an A as someone's 99.51%...  I wouldn't have fared as well as she does in school, for sure.  Eriana is smoking it too - reading at halfway thru 2nd grade level when she's only in her 11th week of first grade.  She has another fabulous teacher and absolutely loves school!

Eri is very ready for Halloween - she is going to be a leopard.  We're supposed to have terrible weather here in Nashville tomorrow so most places are postponing Halloween til Friday night.  I'm glad - I don't want the kids & parents out in awful weather.

Here are a couple pics from her on Saturday before a Halloween party.  She sure does love this costume! 

Meanwhile, Emilia & I have our bags packed for Paris - cold & rainy over there of course, but we don't care.  We will have Friday, Saturday & Sunday to acclimate before work starts on Monday.  Trade show all week & we fly home on Friday.  Busy week but it will be great time to spend with her and I know we will walk a billion miles!

Well, I think thats all the news thats fit to print.  Happy Halloween!

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Friday, October 25, 2013

These photos are unbelievable

I saw a link on Huffington Post thru my Twitter feed today. It caught my attention because it called out two subjects close to my heart - one I hate (f-ing cancer) and one I love (photography). 
If you're feeling brave, go to and look at the photos this man took. If you aren't moved to tears I would be shocked. What strikes me personally about these images is that many of them are so familiar. Some days it seems like yesterday I was in the chemo chair or the hospital.  Other days it seems like it never happened.  The photos he took remind me to live every day to the fullest because I am so lucky to still be here.

I spent the week in the Keys entertaining customers. Many were at our event last October in the Keys when I was still bald. I'm constantly struck by comparisons in time.  Last year this time I looked like a cancer patient - bald, pale, fragile. Now, nobody can tell I had cancer.  What I take away from this is that you cant always tell from looking at someone what they are carrying around inside. Cancer changes you forever. It's unavoidable. Even if the physical manifestations fade. Im changed to my core. Some of that is good. Some isn't. But it's all real.

On a lighter note, we are enjoying a "girls night" with my mini mes tonight. Kendall is running the Ragnar relay this weekend so we went to Jersey Mike's then got much needed pedicures!  I love these two more than words could ever express. Looking forward to a nice chilly weekend at home before Emilia & I head to Paris Thursday!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beautiful moments

Had a very poignant moment this morning as I sat in the car with my 8th grader outside one of Nashville's best high schools.
Emilia signed up to attend a preview day at Father Ryan High School & we were chatting as we waited for the clock to turn to 8.30 so she could get out & go in (of course you cant be first!).  So is asked if she was nervous - she's pretty stoic so it's hard to tell sometimes.  To my surprise she said, yes, she was a bit nervous. So we laughed and I tried to diffuse it as best I could. We watched a few other kids get out & go in & next thing I knew she was off.
As I drove away I was struck by how privileged we are. Sure we work really hard for our way of life, we work really hard to have a happy, nurturing, encouraging household & family & we work really hard to be good parents. But man are we lucky to have kids who are not only naturally intelligent but who also work hard and do their best everyday. Emilias hard work thru school so far,  combined with our hard work thru our careers, leaves her in a place where she has options and choices a lot of people will never know. What a glorious feeling to see her at this crucial juncture in such a great position.
But then I was struck with memories of her as an infant and thru her childhood. It can't be thirteen years ago that she was born. Not possible.
Soon she will be at preview days for college and then she will be gone. Physically gone - she will always be my first baby emotionally.

Life really is good.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Can't Really Explain Why

So, I've taken quite the break from blogging over the past year, but for some reason I feel compelled to start writing again. 
Perhaps enough time has passed that I don't associate blog with cancer in my mind. 
Perhaps I miss dumping my thoughts, worries, concerns, and dreams onto "paper" every day or two.
Perhaps I miss the comments from my friends and family who read what I write.
Perhaps its time for me to open a new chapter - in life and in my blog?

So, the year anniversary passed - strange - I didn't feel a flood of emotion as I expected.  It was kind of like yeah, well, its been a year.  I took that day off, got a massage, and took care of some errands.  Got a lot of really nice comments on Facebook.

What really punctuated the year for me was finishing the Nashville Women's Half Marathon.  I started training in May & walked almost 200 miles in the process.  The event was last Saturday morning - it was beautiful at the start and hot as hell at the finish.  I walked it all - all 13.1 miles - and now I'm looking at that as closing the door on the cancer room in my life.  I had some dear friends walk with me - and while I was anything but speedy, I DID IT!  And I have a huge medal to show for it.  And big huge blisters on my heels that I've had since the first 4 mile "long" walk.  Four miles doesn't seem very long anymore. 

The blisters are healing, the cancer room door is closed, and I'm moving on.

For the most part, I have no lingering remnants of cancer - sure I have a scars from the surgery and from my port and sometimes I have the swelling in my left leg from lymphadema, but for the most part there is only one thing left from that experience -- and that is the weight I gained.

As I close the door to the cancer room, I'm opening the door to the next room which is the one where I return to my healthy and fit self.  I've engaged a nutritionist to be my co-pilot and I'm working on finding a trainer here in Nashville to help me on the workout side of the equation.  So, my goal is when I get to the Two Year anniversary to still be in the healthy/fit room and be closer to that goal.  I'm not in a hurry - I have to do this at my pace in a sustainable way.  And I can.  And I will.

I thought I might bring the Photo Therapy back from the archives...  I took this one a couple weeks ago traveling for work in Jackson Hole, WY.  The colors in it really strike me.  Like life - so colorful.  Every time I look at it, I see something different - again, like life.  Hope you enjoy it - and please don't hesitate to send my your comments and thoughts.  I'll be trying to write a couple times a week.

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