Wednesday, March 30, 2011

6 long months and I FINALLY got to hold my baby girl!

My title to this blog sounds strange doesn't it? But it’s true! Since I have had my double mastectomy and the expanders put in, I was always cautious on lifting or holding anything heavy. Then when I had my hematoma, I was really afraid, so I would always bend down to hug the kids or they would stand tall on their beds so I can hug them w/out them pressing on my chest.

Well, lately I have just been craving a GOOD HUG from them. It’s so hard to hug them when they just squish something that isn't so squishy. LOL

However God gave me such a beautiful moment this morning. At 7:20 I called Bella's name from downstairs letting her know it was time to get up for school. I hear a bit of whining and then I hear say "my neck". Instead of rushing to her, I just stayed at the bottom of the stairs and waited for her to walk down. Here she comes, all snuggly in her jammies, her hair in a high funky ponytail, her lips all swollen from the deep sleep she was in and the smell of downy from her blanket just warmed my soul. She said her neck was hurting and when I examined her, I could see the imprints of her blanket on our arms, neck and shoulder. That told me, that she slept super hard.

I put out my arms and she went for it. She hugged me perfectly and she wrapped our legs around my waist and I swooped her off to sit on the couch. I have not felt her wrapped in my arms so perfectly in such a long time. As I was walking to the couch I could feel my "pectoral muscles" tightening with every step I took. I did not care if I had another hematoma at this point. This was something I was not letting go.

I slowly sat in the recliner with my baby in my arms. She rested on my shoulder as I massaged her neck & back. It was the best 5 minutes of snuggling I could have asked for.

At the end of our time, she sat up gave me a big yawn and said "I want to eat". :)

Our time was over. I couldn't believe that it has been 6 months since I actually held my 6 year old. That is way too long. It was so precious to me. As I sat there holding her, I could see this big light. The light is shining so bright at the end of my tunnel I am almost blinded by it. I simply can't wait to put this all behind me and be as normal as I was before Cancer interrupted my life.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Gosh, I feel like I haven't poured out my heart on this blog in awhile. It's probably only been a week. LOL

I have so many thoughts, I honestly don't know how to take them and get them on this blog. I've had some awesome moments and some fears, that I haven't really shared so I guess tonight is the night. :) Ill be all over the place.

Well, lets start with awesomeness. This weekend was FULL OF MINISTRY. A bit much for my weak body HOWEVER, we had the best weekend in a long time. Cory said he wishes everyday was this way, with a break or two in the middle. LOL. We hosted 6 boys from the Arizona District Impact Team. They were really great boys. Smelly but great. LOL. Isaac was IN HIS GLORY to say the least. Boys ranging from 13 to 18. He had 6 older brothers that paid attention to him and wrestled him to the ground.

The Impact team did worship for us this morning at church! It was so great, they did a fantastic job, and I am really glad our congregation got to see them and experience that style of worship.

Okay, so lets back up to yesterday. Saturday we had a fundraiser for the teens in order for them to raise money for camp. At one point in the fundraiser, we started to play Volleysquare. I haven't been active in awhile and I was hesitant but I chose to "go for it" and so I did. AHHHHH back in my normal! It was so much fun! I LOVED IT! I learned how to play 3 or 4 years ago and everytime our teens get together with a volleysquare, we are in it for awhile. After the fundraiser we came home to get ready for the "boys"..

We got them set up, and after dinner we went over to the Volleyball courts to play some Volleysquare and Volleyball and crazy games you usually play with your youth group. I HAD SO MUCH FUN!!! I was running, jumping, screaming, teasing, yelling, and whatever else comes with games. LOL It FELT SO GOOD.

After two hours of play, I came home EXHAUSTED! But SOOOOO WORTH IT. I am totally looking forward to being DONE WITH THIS CANCER CRAP. Its in my way. I know it's never really going to be over.....but Im getting close. This leads me to my fears.

Fears...oooo I guess we will never live a day without fear (in this world) however my fears have been haunting me lately. I will soon have surgery YAY! however I have fear that when they go in to put the implants in, they will see cancer. I also have a fear that when Im done with my Taxol, and I have my petscan, they will see cancer. I also have fear that I won't know how to live without cancer. Doesn't that sound CRAZY? But this cancer has consumed my life since June of last year and it has been my everyday. It has defined me regardless of how much I don't want it to or try for it not to. It just does.

I think about going to the pool this summer. This time last year, I was having every one of my friends feel my "lump" to see what they think. We would all be sitting in the pool and I would say "Feel it" LOL..most of them wouldn't or my closest friends would say "I felt it already, I told you that you should go to the doctor" UGH! 

I just can't believe that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastecomy, emergency surgery and have conquered 7 chemo treatments. (Aside from Herceptin) I lost track of those. I can't belive I am almost coming to an end. It doesn't feel real to me. I still haven't accepted the fact that I was diagnosed. Crazy.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reality Set in Today. Good piece of reality.

So you would never think that a visit to the dentist would cause me to blog, but it did. Actually it was the kids dentist appointment. We have been going to Dr. Montoya for a few years now and so he has seen me go from No Cancer to Cancer. Today the kids got a checkup and during their cleaning Dr. Montoya started to ask how I was doing and what my progress was.

I was expressing with much delight that Im almost done. Sometimes I think to myself if I should say Im almost done, because I still have another year left, but I think one more taxol and surgery in 2 months justifies being done! So after I updated him on my progress, he asked me when I will "know". It was funny because I knew exactly what he was asking. I told him that I would do a pet scan after Taxol so that they can make sure the chemo worked! That's a scary thought in my mind as it would be for anyone else. I don't even want to think of waiting on those results and the anxiety that comes with it.

Anyway, after my kids got their cleaning and WONDERFUL results (Cavity Free) Dr. Montoya said "So, we will see you again in 6 months." I said "Sounds good to me" and he said "Gabbee, when you come will be done" I paused for a minute and said "Yup, I sure will"

Our appointment is in September and by then, Yes, BIG RED, TAXOL and Final Reconstruction will be a thing of the past. When I left the office and walked outside to the bright Arizona Sun, I had a big smile on my face.

Next time the kids get a check-up I will have 6 months of hair growth!!!! HaHa! WOOT WOOT!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Hair is growing... WOOT WOOT

Hey Everyone...

So...My friend Amy suggested I start taking "progress pics" of my hair growth. I thought it would be fun so I think its an idea Im going to run with. So, I think I will do weekly pics and post the difference. Everyone tells me how much its growing, but I don't see it since I am looking at it daily. LOL Kinda like watching a pot of water boil.

Anyway, I put the album up on my facebook page. If your not a "fan" become one!

You can follow the progress on there too! For those of you that don't have a is pic #1

Friday, March 18, 2011

I don't know what to Title this Blog....

This treatment is SO DIFFERENT than the last 2 Taxol treatments. I would put the pain level definitly lower. Less neropathy, however it's constant. Starting from the day of the treament. Pain meds are controlling the pain, but as soon as they wear off, Im screwed. Last treatments, the pain was always there, just mild when I was on medicine. This time, the meds actually take most of the pain away, but not for long. Very Very interesting.

Yesterday I was on meds all day, and honestly forgot to keep up with them. About 9pm, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was trying to work, I had a hot flash, I got SUPER CRANKY, IRRITABLE, and my legs could not stay still. I broke down again and once again my husband held me like a baby and carried me from the floor back to the bed. I could not get comfortable. The last thing I remember was Cory rubbing my legs and putting me to sleep. He is such my rock, I love him so much.

Ive had some "I hate having cancer moments" which usually happens after my treatment. Hearing people going to the pool (Yes its 90 degrees) and I am in my bed and can't really sit in the sun. But as my mom told me, "everyone that has a job is at work not in the pool" LOL so I need to get over it. I did pretty quickly, however the cute tan my kids are starting to get is tempting. :)  I got my Easter Dress and I dont have a hat that matches. I dont want to wear a big typical Easter hat, however I can't really wear a ball cap. Most of my "fancy hats" are wool which doesn't flow in this Arizona heat. Soooooo Im just tired of buying hats and Im tired of being bald. I WISH I had the guts to go bald. i REALLY do. But Im just not that yet. I don't even know if I could handle the reactions. If I wear a dress, big earrings and lots of make-up, maybe I can pull it off? Ahhhhh I have anxiety just thinking about it. LOL

Other than that, nothing really exciting happening here. I do have a prayer request for my friend Lorna. She is starting Chemo on Tuesday and I know the anxiety she is feeling and I wish I could take it all away. Im praying that she stays strong and gets through it as easy and breezy as she can!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taxol Treatment #3 YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS???????

I can not believe Ive had 7 Treatments of CRAPPY CHEMO and only 1 CRAPPY CHEMO to go. I just can't believe it.

I had a good talk with my Oncologist yesterday. We still have A LONG WAY to go. After my last Taxol (April 4th & 9:20 vistors are welcome. LOL ) I have 46 more Herceptin to go. Weekly. However, I have to stop 10 days before my surgery and can't start up again till about 10 days after. Soooooo....that is putting my final Chemo Treatment around January 2012 give or take. Whatever...the herceptin is super easy and I am just looking forward to April 4th. I want balloons and a Carvel Cake. I've earned it. LOL

So yesterday's treatment was tough. I have NO IDEA why that medicine hit me the way it did. OMG. One minute I was playing on my IPAD, talking with other patients, which by the way this one lady was adorable. She LOVES going to Chemo as she says. I think she is lonely and she loves getting out to talk to people. She is battling lung cancer but thinks she is healed already. :) She commented on my Pink case for the IPAD and noticed my pink case on my IPhone and was bummed that Lung Cancer didn't have a ribbon color. But I corrected her after looking it up on my amazing IPAD and told her it was the color of pearl. So, if I see a pearl bracelet, I think Im going to get it for her, because she was so excited and I will see her again next treatment. Everyone should have a Ribbon and she REALLY wants one.

Ok, sidetracked...anyway so I was chatting with her, playing on my IPAD and then got free lunch from the Hospital which was nice. They always have goodies for us. So, I was eating it and then about 10 minutes later...I needed a barfing pan. Cory got it for me, and my body went into major crappy mode. Nausea, tired and FREEZING...basically a zombie. They pumped some Zofran in me and I felt better, but the other meds KNOCKED ME OUT! Cory went to run an errand and the guy near me was getting blood work done and helped me get situated. He is fighting pancreatic cancer. I remember at one point, I opened my eyes and my Oncologist and Nurse were standing over me. When I made eye contact with them, they just told me to go back to sleep, everything is ok. LOL...I have NO IDEA what happened but that lasted about 3 hours. I woke up and TADA...all better. Like it never happened. So weird.

We left home at 8:00am, dropped the kids off at my moms and then headed to Chemo for my 9am appt. They were so backed up because one of my nurse's dad died and flew to California so it was only 1 nurse there and a few helpers. They were super busy and so 9 hours later we were the last to leave. Long day. Cory and I got some Chen's on the way home and I crawled in bed cried to Cory about the long day and crashed. My legs were super crampy. Not sure why. That NEVER happens. I took some medication last night and I woke up feeling better. I have a headache today, but that is too be expected. The pain should start tomorrow sometime and then we shall see how long it lasts. Im trying to get as much done today so I do not have to worry about it this week.

Thanks to those that are taking my kids off my hands this week and coming to take care of me. Cory's schedule sucks of course and his next day off isn't until Sunday. :( And of course the kids are on Spring break. So....I really appreciate the help.

On a side note, yesterday during chemo, we had some doors open up that we weren't expecting. And not to get into much detail, I just want to ask for prayer for Cory and his job. He is currently driving 62 miles each way to work and we are spending over $400 a month in gas with the high gas prices. We are praying hard for doors to open or changes to be made. God knows our needs, our desires and our hearts so I am just asking that you join me in prayer for that.

Thank you again for all your support!!!! I'll try and check in this week if I can.

love ya'll

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Im so excited to annoucnce our new addition to our family! Mr. IPAD! I have been asking for one since I was diagnosed because I wanted it for my long days of treatment. Well after 9 months of dropping hints and kicking and screaming like a toddler, LOL my family GOT ONE FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much FAMILY! LOL. Im so excited. This was a "your almost done" gift. HaHa! Love it. I haven't set it up much yet, but its exciting. I get to take it to my 9 hour treatment tomorrow and I plan on playing games all day. LOL. Well Im sure that Cory will play with it too. I'll give him some IPAD time. HaHa. The kids are excited too.

Im really blessed by my family. They have been through alot too as they go alongside me through this journey and they have helped in so many ways and this was just the icing on the cake. :)

On a little sad note, I do get my Taxol tomorrow. Its always a tough thing trying to get my mind in Chemo mode knowing the pain Im about to be in, in just a few days. We had a great family weekend though. I try and focus on them before I am laid up for the week. Im guessing it will hit me by Wednesday and then I'll be down till about Monday or so. It seems like each treatment it lingers longer. :( ugh. BUT! After tomorrow I'll be 7 down 1 to go!!!!!!!!!!! PRAISE THE GOOD LORD! I can't believe it!

Tonight, the kids asked if tomorrow is the "soft treatment" or the "hard treament". After I told them that this one is the tough one, they both said "awe man". I reassured them that the hard part is almost over and soon we will get back to normal. I can't wait. I just can't wait!

I will be talking to my Oncologist tomorrow about doing the herceptin weekly as opposed to every 3 weeks. The nurses said that some patients feel side effects when its every 3 weeks because its 3 doses in one. I rather go into town and get treatment for 30 minutes once a week and feel NO SIDE EFFECTS then go every 3 weeks, for 90 minutes and feel side effects. So...that is my decision. :) I will do that for 46 more weeks (give or take) sooooo if you are in the CHandler area, I would love to use those days to visit with friends since I am in town. :) Just let me know. :)

Well, off to bed I have to ensure I am rested for my treatment. Here is a pic of me and my new man. LOL....

Monday, March 7, 2011


Hi Everyone! I just wanted to send a Thank You to everyone that has supported us this time around in our GRILL FOR GABBEE SWEEPSTAKES! We raised $400 (Not including donations that came in before the actual event) and a big Congratulations To Ken Sutton for winning the awesome Grill. BIG TIME THANK YOU TO MY AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE AGENT
TY SCHRAUFNAGEL for EVERYTHING that He and the American Family Co did for us! We are FOREVER GRATEFUL!

Saturday was a great day and I am grateful to my sister who came and helped me for 8 hours on her day off. I couldn't have done it alone. (Cory was working) LOL

Thank you to everyone that made a donation to us. I can't thank you enough. Just so you know, last night we paid all the bills for the month with savings. Thank you for allowing us to lift that burden off our shoulders. I can NOT WAIT to get through the next two treatments and surgery and be back to work next school year. It has been rough, but with the help of everyone, we have made it through. I have said this lots of times, and I will say it again. You are the hands and feet of God. I hope you know that.

I created a Fan Page on Facebook for my Blog. I talked to lots of people on Saturday who either went through this or knows of someone, and I really want to get my story out there for people to hear and read for encouragement. I figured that the FB page would get more networking for my blog than just my personal page. So if you know me on FB become a FAN AND INVITE YOUR FRIENDS TOO :)

I had someone comment on my page this morning and I deleted it. I don't know the person and Im not mad, but a bit taken back. So I want to comment on his comment and hopefully it's clear incase anyone ever feels this way. To sum up the comment, it was "If you have insurance, why are you reaching out for donations"? I know the people in my life don't ask that question because their support speaks from their heart. With Cancer comes a multiude of expenses. From loss of income to Medical expenses that the Insurance doesn't pay for. I don't even want to list everything out, because I become annoyed at the comment. I joked in the beginning of this journey that I would write a book about "what not to say" to me and that definitly makes the cut.

For everyone that has supported us through this I truly want to thank you for being there wholeheartedly. Whether its financial, or meals, or care for the kids or a shoulder to cry on. I COULD NOT do this without you.

On a happy note, I have my final FILL tomorrow. (well Dr. Admire doesn't know that, but Im DONE) When my clothes & bra's aren't fitting, IM DONE! Im praying I get to leave there with a surgery date. My oncologist cleared me today for Mid or End of May to have surgery. Ahhhh, Im excited! Im not nervous yet. Just anxious. I have two more Taxol treatments left! I can't believe this is almost coming to a close. Even though I have chemo till 2012 (super mild) I am going to have a party in April to celebrate the completion of the HARD PART!

So hopefully my next blog will be with a surgery date.

 Im almost done guys and I hope that my calendar for the 2012 year is NOT FILLED with Oncology and Plastic Surgeon appointments. Only a 6 mth checkup with my Breast Surgeon. THat would be awesome huh?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Please read the message below! I hope to see many of you there! Below you will see what will be happening that day. Bring your Family and have a day of fun and make sure you stop by our TEAM GABBEE TABLE. Thanks again to my American Family Agent Ty Schraufnagel for supporting our family through this journey!

I just wanted to take a quick moment to send out a reminder about our Open House this Saturday, March 5th from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at our office at 1280 N Arizona Blvd. Coolidge, AZ 85128.

I am very appreciative of your business and do not take it lightly or for granted. It truly means a lot to my family and me and I hope you are able to swing by on Saturday so I can personally say thank you. That is what I have geared up this event to specifically do and I hope you can take advantage of some of the things that we will be offering. The attachment gives a good overview of the event but I just wanted to highlight a few things.

Wayne Locke is a jewelry appraiser with 40+ years of experience in the industry. He has agreed to come up and cut his price in half and offer Jewelry Appraisal for $25 an item. He is setting appointments for every half hour. We only have a few slots left so please give me a call at the office at 520.723.9400 as soon as you are able and we can make sure you get a spot.

Cinder Pit BBQ will be out selling BBQ Sandwiches, BBQ tacos and drinks with some meal deals available at a very low price all day. Terry Frye will also be out selling fresh squeezed lemonade, shaved ice and kettle corn during the lunch hours.

Team Gabbee is a very big highlight of our event Saturday. She is one of my clients who recently has been in a battle with breast cancer. She will be selling tickets for a brand new Beefeater Grill that will be drawn at 2:00 PM. You don’t have to be present to win.

Ever-Ready Auto Glass will be out doing free windshield repair on chips that they can fill.

We will also be doing free VIN-etching. This is something I have heard dealerships charging hundreds of dollars for that will be at no cost to you. We etch your VIN number on each piece of glass on your car, and that is a major theft deterrent. Because of that, if you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle insured with American Family and your vehicle is stolen, we will completely waive your comprehensive deductible.

Clifford the Big Red Dog will be out for kids to hang out with and offer a great photo opportunity. There will also be Clifford coloring books given out and a Clifford Kid Zone.

In addition to these things, a wide variety of vendors will be out. Anderson Financial; Core Chiropractic; Mary Kay; Power Tags, Titles, and More; The Jewelry Box; Cornerstone Mortgage; The Lamb Won Artist; Clipper Shack; San Tan Leads; etc….

DJ “Off Beat” will be there all day providing the entertainment.

I will be providing dessert and bottled water all day long and am very excited to see you.

Please feel free to invite friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, out of town guests, etc. We are poised to have a great event and can’t wait to see you on Saturday!

Insurance Decision

First, I want to share the good news, because this is what we have been praying for. I was approved for 6 more months of insurance. Praise God for that blessing and Im trying hard not to let my frustrations with the rest of the information overpower the great news! So please know that I first Praise God for answered prayers and trust that He will take care of the rest.

As I go into the details, I know you will share in my frustration.

Cory and I were approved for 6 months of medical coverage and my kids were only approved for 3 months. Go figure.

Our effective date is 2/14, which will take care of my hospital bill, and one chemo treatment, but I had thousands of dollars in chemo treatments before 2/14. So which means, that is on us now to pay. I will be fighting that, because I applied on 2/5 and they "lost" my application. So I will have to find out how to dispute that and see if I can get the bills from my oncology taken care of.

Right now, Im trying to stay positive and focus on the fact that my chemo treatments and surgery will be taken care of and there will be no out of pocket costs. I will continue to fight the effective date and in 3 months do this all over again for my children.

The system is truly a disaster.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kids say the darnest things....

I was going to blog about my crazy day of insurance stuff but instead I wanted to blog about the things that made me laugh today. So I wanted to share them with you. They are very random but they made me laugh and after a day like today....I needed a good laugh.

Earlier today I had to stop by my friends John and Amy's house to get our Youth Group Lesson together. I was standing at the door waiting for them to answer and 2 little girls were playing at the house next door on the sidewalk.

"She doesn't have any hair" Girl #1 said.
"Yes she does, its in a ponytail under her hat" Girl #2 said.
"No its not, I can tell, she doesn't have any hair". Girl #1 said.

I turned around and said "She's right, I dont have any hair".

"See I told you" Girl #1 said.

"I had breast cancer and Im on chemotherapy now, thats why I have no hair" I said.

"Oh my goodness, are you going to be ok?" Girl #2 said.

"Yup, Im getting better each day!"

LOL. It was so funny for a couple of reasons. First, that they thought I couldn't hear them, and two, that they were so shocked and concerned all at the same time. It was cute and funny and it made me smile.

The other thing that made me smile was when we got home from Youth Group I shouted to the kids. "Hit the showers." So Isaac said "Mom, Mrs. Walter said that we need to make sure we are showering each day and practice good hygiene." We immediately laughed because I know EXACTLY where Mrs. Walter's was going with that statement. So I said to Isaac "Raise your arms up" So he did. "I smelled and I was very excited to know that my son was not the culprit of the hygiene message.

Isaac told me that the class smells like B.O. and so I said "well, your not the cause of that, so your routine for showers is just fine." But he insisted that he follows his teachers rule and wanted to shower and to use her suggestion for deodorant. So I explained that sometimes boys his age, shower, but they dont really shower. That is not the case for him. If he would like deodorant, he may use some, but the message was not for him. But he went on to say that she said "everyone". LOL...So I said "Ok, if you want to use deodorant you can use all the deodorant you want, you have some upstairs, use it." So he lifts up his arms, pulls his shirt down and said "But I don't have any hair under my arms yet, so it shouldn't be smelling bad right?"

LOL....Oh, the joys of having a 4th grade boy. Poor Mrs. Walters. I know that if that message went out, the classroom had to stink. Im just glad that my son was not part of that smell. LOL.

So, after the long day of driving around town and dealing with insurance, Im happy to have little pieces of my day that can put a smile on my face.