Wednesday, July 4, 2012

N.E.D (No Evidence of Disease)

I find it interesting and pretty cool that I found out my latest petscan results only 20 days before my original diagnosis. July 30th will be 2 years since I first heard "You have breast cancer."

This journey has been a CRAZY one but as I look back I am amazed at what God has done through me and through others.

Yesterday I got my official NED results from my oncologist. I am blessed and so excited to move onto the next chapter in my life.

Cory is doing wonderful at his new job. Isaac is growing like a weed and sleeping more (preteen syndrome), Bella is making leaps and bounds from therapy and is in LOVE with her new puppy and I love my job and feel blessed to be in the position I am in. I also LOVE doing ministry. Its my first love and I can't wait to see where God leads me next.

So with that...I am officially ending my blog with this last post. I am excited to print this out and keep it for our family. This way, we can look back to see how God worked in me through cancer whenever we may feel discouraged. My hope is that I can have enough copies to pass around to others going through the same thing.

Thank you everyone for loving me and my family through this. With confidence I say that I could not have had the amazing outcome of it all if you didn't play a part. I am here because God used each of you in a very special way.

Thank you!
My lump & I have officially departed. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Final Chapter

This time next week, my prayer, my hearts desire is to write my final blog post titled NED. "My" plan is to write my last post and print my blog out for my family keepsake. Most of the posts over the past two years were melancholy, filled with grief and sadness, but it was also a big part of my life that I will obviously never forget. I have scars on my body that will always remind me of what I went through.

Tomorrow I get my pet scan that was ordered after my last treatment in March. It took way too long for the referral to get done, but here it is. I didn't push it because honestly, I don't want to go. I don't want to visit any place that brings me back to the world of cancer. I thought I would be one of the biggest cancer supporters and of course I am to others, but pink ribbons, oncology, breast surgeons and wigs make my stomach turn. Im just so happy to be in the place I am in, that I don't want reminders of where I was. At least not those moments.

However I do have great moments through my journey. I NEVER felt more loved than when I went through cancer. The love that was shown to me and my family was incredible. The support both emotionally, physically and financially was something that I could never have dreamed of. The amazing doctors I had holding my hand through it. My family, my friends, walking with me on this journey will never be forgotten. My kids, loving me bald, sick and pale. My amazing husband who has made me feel more beautiful through cancer, than I ever have in our marriage of 12 years. He knows how to respect me, love me unconditionally and most of all he holds me when I need it most. Cory, I love you and I thank you for holding to our wedding vows. For better or worse.

The most amazing part? I grew closer to Christ through this all when I assumed I would fall away from Him. I have grown leaps and bounds in my faith, my walk and my personal relationship with Him. One moment I remember is being on my knees begging Him for healing. There is something about being on your knees at His feet. It was a moment I will never forget.

I am not afraid of cancer. I am not afraid of dying. My fear is cancer interrupting my life because I am happy. I am content. I have learned a lot in the past two years and I finally want to put it to good use. My first diagnosis (and hopefully my last) was filled with fear. This time when I think about cancer returning I think about interruption, inconvenience. I thank God that I do not have fear but I need to find rest that my life will be planned out the way its supposed to be.

I look forward to writing my final NED post. I look forward to sharing that moment with you.

Please pray with me that my scan is negative. Not even a trace. Not even a spec. Nothing!

In one week my baby girl turns 8. In one month I hit two years that I heard those words "breast cancer". Its a crazy month, however I plan to celebrate it CANCER FREE!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hide & Seek

You remember that game right? I remember playing it as a kid and loved it! My favorite "style" of hide and seek was what we (East Coast Kid) called "Manhunt." We would dress in black and hide on our street. In NY we have bushes and trees and the houses are really close to eachother so it makes for a better game. Arizona...well that is a different story. HaHa! I remember hiding behind a bush and I would be so scared to sit there in the dark but it was so cool at the same time. I wonder what I did while I was being hunted? I didn't have a pager, phone or ipod. What did I do to pass the time? LOL

I bring this up because last night I played hide & seek and that was the first time in YEARS!!! We had a fundraiser for our Youth Group which we called AWAKE. They had to get sponsors for each hour they stayed "awake" which meant that we had to entertain them for hours on end. However in return I was definitly entertained.

When the teens requested to play hide & seek in the dark I froze. I objected because I didn't want to hide alone because I didn't have the same fearless spirit as I did when I was a kid. I think too many scary movies in my life has caused the "dark" to be a bad thing. LOL! And so I begged one of my besties Amy to be my partner. Of course we were the only ones paired up. The rest of the group had nerves of steel that I didn't. I assumed Amy shared my fear but last night, I learned a whole new side of my friend that I never knew! One word. Competitive! LOL...

We were in her house which helped us find the great hiding places. We hid behind doors, in the pantry, in closets, behind couches and even behind a bed (which we broke while moving it to accomadate our hips) LOL. This hiding time led to us hiding under blankets whispering and giggling like we were in Junior High. We laughed so hard that we couldn't breathe. We loved sitting still listening to the others "try" and find us. We were always the ones that were found last because we had the best hiding spot. Finally, we were challenged to "seek" the other two that were pretty good at hiding. Amy's husband John and one of our teens Zane. Amy was determined to find her husband in their house because she knows how her husband operates and she knows her house. I on the other hand just held onto her arm and expressed how scared I was to have someone jump out at me. She didn't care! She looked in every corner searching high and low for those two. Eventually I found luck..or maybe just the bulge that was popping up from underneath their guest room bed. I continued to follow behind Amy until we found Zane. She went into one of the bathrooms and at that moment I said "No way am I looking in here!" My heart was pounding and I was so afraid someone would jump out at me. I stayed by the door. She kept looking in the bathroom high and low and the next thing I know she runs past me screaming and shouting and then I hear giggling from Zane and the rest of the teens. The exact fear I had came true on Amy. LOL..Im glad it was her and not me. :) Needless to say it was SO FUN! I sit here now and laugh because of our moments of insanity and crazy things we thought of while we were waiting for the others to find us.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my life and my journey with cancer. I have two treatments left. 2!!! I started chemo in October of 2010 and my last treatment will be March 19th 2012. I think its safe to say Im ready to be done with this!!

As I am coming to a close to this chapter in my life I am reflecting on what my new "norm" will be like. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, everyone would tell me that I would need to adjust to my new normal. At that time I thought everyone was crazy and I would never adjust but as I am living out my life I am learning that I can adjust because I don't have any other choice. Things are different and they won't just go back to the old, but it doesn't mean I can't go forward. Im not stuck.

Today I catered cupcakes for the Grand Opening at the new Florence Hospital at Anthem. They ordered 600 cupcakes!! I spent 10 hours of baking yesterday. Cupcakes after cupcakes after cupcakes. After all that baking I went to the Teen all nighter. I only had 3 1/2 hours of sleep but I made it through today. As I stood there serving my cupcakes to the hundreds of people that attended the Grand Opening I couldn't help but think...."Would I ever have started this business if I wasn't diagnosed?" I don't know the answer but I do know that I love to see people enjoy my baking. It gives me a sense of purpose again and it fills my heart with joy to be able to make others smile! We served 600 cupcakes in 1 hour! The event was from 11-2 and we packed our table up shortly after noon. It was insane, intense, wonderful, scary, and AMAZING all at the same time.

Today made me realize that I do not have to "hide" behind cancer forever. Cancer does not define me and it does not take ownership over my life. It has made me different both emotionally and physically but it does not define who I am as a person. For the longest time I thought it did but this weekend made me realize that I am coming to the point of "seeking" out my new normal and I am actually excited about it. I am coming to terms that after March 19th I don't need to expect myself and my family to go back to life before July 2010. We need to look forward and focus on our new and refined goals in life.

I no longer want to hide behind cancer. I only want to seek out the good that awaits us.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Its been too long since my last blog; in my mind. I have been wanting to blog so bad but didn't feel like I had to much to say. Waking up at 5am this morning made me realize I have a lot on my mind and so I thought I would share my thoughts on here.

As many of you know I had a Birthday on February 1st. The big 33. CRAZY! I don't see myself in my 30's. I still feel like Im in my 20's but my body tells me different. My husband asked me on the morning of my Birthday "So, what does it feel like to be 33?" I laughed and said "I can't really answer that question as I am gearing up for my Chemo treatment today."

Most 33 year olds aren't on Chemo. Its funny to think of an average person in their young 30's and where they are in life. All of our stories are different. Many of us don't have what we want but we all can have the things we need.

I remember my 30th. It was so exciting. My older friends all told me that things start falling apart at age 30. LOL I refused to believe them. I threw a big 30th bash and had a GREAT year!

31 I was on the same boat. I still felt and looked great (nothing was falling apart) and threw another party. Me and about 50 of my friends all went rollerskating. It was so fun!

32 however was a different story. 5 months after my 31st Birthday I was diagosed with Breast Cancer. My life changed. I honestly can not remember what my life was like before the diagnosis other than pictures. I know that I will have a new normal after this is all over, but I will never get back the old. Its just not possible. I asked the kids if they remember what life was like before Cancer and they couldn't tell me much. This disease has changed our lives as a family. It sucks. But Im here. And that is what is important. For my 32nd Birthday I had dinner in my bed and came out to the living room for cake to visit with my guests. I just had chemo the day before and I was in PAIN from the taxol. It was miserable. But I put a smile on and put a front on for my family but I was definitly hurting inside and out. This was not how I should be at 32 right?

And.....33. This year was very good. Cory treated me like a princess and my family and friends did as well. I am blessed to have all them by my side through this whole process. They love me inside and out and spoil me rotten on my Birthday. Thank you to my family and friends for always putting a smile on my face.

I am thankful to be alive celebrating another year. This year I finsh my treatment. 17 months of Chemotherapy. March 19th 2012 is my last treatment. I have 2 more treatments to go and I will be honest, Its bittersweet. On one hand I will miss my chemo buddies. I will miss my nurses but I am not kicked out once I am done. I can go by anytime I feel the need to. Plus once you stop chemo, doesn't mean you stop seeing the doctor. My oncologist will be oncologist for the rest of my life. On the other hand I am so ready to live my life and not have chemo interrupt it. Im tried of feeling pain and fatique. Im tired of seeing my daughter get anxious everytime I get a treatment. Im definitly over it. I see the finish line. Its blurry but I see it. Its so close.

I look forward to turning 34. With longer hair, not on chemo and celebrating my first year of survivorship!

For now I am going to focus on the prize and get myself to March 19th so we can celebrate!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wonder Woman

I wanted to blog but wasn't sure if I should and then I knew that Rebekah wouldn't mind. She loved reading the blogs that our dear friend Bud and I wrote about during our chemo experiences...why stop now?

RIP Rebekah

Yesterday was rough in so many ways. Getting chemo alone is just a ride in itself, finding out that Rebekah was not doing so well and seeing my friends and chemo nurses with such heavy hearts was a lot to take in. At one point during my treatment I had to sneak away to the bathroom and let the tears fall. Rebekah should have been at chemo with me yesterday as we were on the same schedule. She was there last treatment and we had a good talk about her battle and the fight she was ready to have due to the recent health changes. We talked about God and the strength He was giving her and that this is just another "bump" in the road but she was so strong. After 4 hours of time together, I gave her a big hug and we both agreed to pray for eachother and I know that wasn't just a thing to say. We did..and I appreciate her for praying for others even in the midst of what she was going through.

Rebekah and I have been on Chemo together for a year and a half, but she was 6 months ahead of me when I joined the "party room" of orange chairs as my good friend Bud puts it. I remember Rebekah with her laptop, her bluetooth and cell phone in hand as she worked during her 7+ hours of treatment. One of my favorite memories is when I gave my nurse Monica a pin that said "Im the nurses favorite."

She accepted with laughter and joy but assured me that there was another patient that might put up a fight about it because the other patient was sure that she was Monica's favorite. LOL....I later learned it was Rebekah. So when we finally met, Monica introduced us and said "this is the patient that gave me that pin" and the battle began. LOL....But with all kidding aside, we knew that Monica loved us both very dearly (and still does) and when we were there together we got equal treatment but we always got a little extra on the side as well when the other wasn't around. :) We love our Nurses!!

Rebekah was such a fighter! She fought colon cancer for 2 years and her kids were the reason behind that. She made that very clear and talked about them all the time. They are the same age as my two kids and I think that is where it hits me in the gut. I watched her fight, and go downhill and still fight. Through the tough times towards the end she still gave God the Glory and claimed everything in His name. When she felt defeated she would still quote the word of God for everyone to know that she relied on Him no matter what the turn out was. That is such an inspiration for me and I can only hope to follow her in that way!

As I am mourning the loss of a friend, a fellow cancer buddy and chemo buddy I had to tell myself that its ok to mourn the loss of Rebekah and cry my eyes outs everytime I would think of her. During the day, I would feel guilty that I came home from chemo with my family and then realized I can't begin to feel that way, because I know she wouldn't want me to. I hugged my kids so tight last night and this morning as I just think of the loss her kids are feeling as well as her family.

I was doing Bella's hair this morning and lost control of emotions because my heart breaks that her kids lost their mom. She is a daughter, a sister, an aunt a cousin, a friend and so much more I am sure to be missing but everyone will tell you that Rebekah is wonder woman! And she was! Without a doubt. She was a fighter till the very end!

Rebekah I know that you are free of cancer, free of your bloated belly that you hated so much and that you have all the energy we can dream of. I know you are just rejoicing in your time with Jesus and as we mourn the loss of your absence we rejoice in knowing where you are.

I can only pray for your family and for comfort during this time. I pray that your two children will grow up being everything that you dreamed they would be. You have instilled God's word in them and I believe this will only make them stronger to fight the good fight for their mom.

We love you Rebekah and I am so sorry cancer had to take you this way, but we shall see eachother again. Cancer free.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord...

My blog title has been what God has been saying to me since the day I started getting inpatient with the call backs from the hospital.

I remember praying as hard as I possibly could...repeating myself just to make sure God heard me :) and begging him for a sign, a door to be open, closed, a hint...something! We didn't hear anything for what felt like forever. We prayed and prayed and everyone prayed and prayed and all I would hear is those words. "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord"

During our waiting time, I would use that example with my students over and over again. It was really cool to see their reaction to the great they have been praying with us for many months.

As most of you know Cory will be starting his new job on Tuesday at the Anthem Hospital. LOL...I write this and cry because it feels surreal.

This is big for us in so many ways. First...Health Insurance. That is our main priority and that is taken care of in a few months. A HUGE BLESSING! Second...the time away from home has been extremely minimized. Cory would drive 120 miles a day which I know many of you do, and it takes a toll on your body and spirit. Its tough. He has been trying for 5 years to get closer to home but there was never a good time. We know why now. :) The list goes on and on...ranging from 401K to Tuition reimbursement. These are all big deals as Cory never had that option at his previous job.

His last day was today. Saturdays are usually early days but this day went on forever..ending at 4:45..and now we wait for him to get home to close that chapter and celebrate the new one.

I know in some ways he might miss his old job. I think God had us there for a reason during my diagnosis and treatment. I mean...they were the ones to give me the news. They will always hold a place in our lives and we met amazing people there. One of Cory's co-workers introduced me to KiKi who helped me tremendously through my journey as we are both breast cancer patients. Great things did come from there but we are ready to close that door and happily walk through this one.

Starting Tuesday Cory will have orientation at our community center which is across the street from the kids school. LOL...Can you say Truman Show?

Things will be different. Some GREAT..and somethings we will need to get adjusted to. Cory might be working on my chemo days and so that is a change for us, but we will get through it. I have friends and family that are always willing to take me to chemo. He will have to work 3 very long days, but he will have 4 very long days off. :) There is no bad in this situation. None that I can see anyway.

Im on top of the world. We both are. We walk around the house and I hear him say "wow" and I ask "what?, is everything ok" and his response is "ya, Im just thinking about how awesome its going to be when I start my new job" LOL my mind, our new life starts tonight when he walks through that door and wont have to drive to 64th ave & Thomas Rd ever again for work. That is a huge relief for us!

We give God the full Glory for this blessing! We are forever grateful and thankful that He blessed us with this!

Thanks God! :)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011 & Hello 2012!

I was thinking about what I could update my status about that can tell the FB world how I feel about ending 2011, but I had a hard time picking a few sentences that would sum it up. I didn't want to only say "I'm so glad 2011 is coming to an end" or "I'm counting my blessings of 2011" because I know I feel emotion towards both. 

2011 hasn't been as bad as it was in 2010. Being diagnosed is harder than treatment (in my situation.) This past March I finished Big Red & Taxol. I finalized my surgery. We went cross country skiing. Point Loma/San Diego. Camp Pinerock. Visited with NY family. Nevada. Polar Express. Started my own cupcake business & my husband landed the job of our dreams. That sounds like a pretty good year! 

In between those wonderful blessings were some trials. Not only with my family but with my friends. I had to watch my family & friends lives takes some nasty twists & it felt like things would never be the same however those nasty trials has revealed God to still be as Great as I know He is! I have learned so many things. The one thing I can take from this year from my own blessings, trials & of this around me is that God Loves Us & He has a plan that I have learned to trust is so much better than my own. We may never  understand some things but I trust that He will pull us all through. 

My goal (not resolution) for 2012 is to be cancer/chemo free! I want to start my 5 year survival streak. I want to see my husband succeed in all ways. I want health Insurance. I want to joyfully accept age 33 on Feb 1st. I want to celebrate Isaac & Bella's 11th & 8th Birthday. I want to receive my district license at District Assembly as I feel I have worked so hard getting there as I was attending school in between surgery & chemo. And most of all I want to draw near to God & learn so much more! I want to learn to humbly accept the things I can not not change without wavering in my relationship with Him. 

So....wether my goals are met or not, I hope to blog in December 2012 that I learned once again the intensity of Gods love for us! 

Happy New Year!