Friday, October 29, 2010

put a bandaid on it

Everyone thinks falling in love is the hard part.  I know I did--you meet someone, go through the hoops of dating, you lie to seem better than you are--but then the truth comes out and you brace to be excepted or rejected; if all goes well you move on and then learn to fart in front of each other, realize that all people poop and so does your partner--done and done.  You decide to get married, walk through the proverbial doorway and done-------from here your life is supposed to be easy.  You are in love, you are married, you get dogs--and love said dogs, even if one is a bit crazy and sometimes bites you and freaks out for no reason.  You somewhat feel a kinship with said dog because you freak out for no reason sometimes and you are wound really tight and assume he is too--why else would a loud clap turn in him to a raving lunatic? 

You lose a family member and you think that is the hardest thing you will go through together--death is scary and death is the ultimate end.  I lost my dad and I lost myself in the same day.  Scott was there to hold me together, he was there when I was hysterical, when there wasn't enough sleeping pills in the world to give me a good nights rest, when I couldn't walk two steps without feeling like I was going to faint, when I thought it would be easier if I just was numb all the time and forget that bad things happened in the world.  That was it, that was our pain, our pain before we even got married.  And that crazy ass dog was there too, he witnessed the pain, he licked the tears off my face and pooped on the floor to give me something to do.

My dad was incredible, he was stubborn and stern as hell, but I wouldn't have the fight I have inside me without him.  We are all stronger now because of him--we were forced to break and heal--together.  My sisters, mom and I have a unspoken bond that happened when we were forced to grieve.  Scott is joined with us because he was forced to step into a role and protect all of us.  Death can come with unbelievable pain that you can't see--there are no visible wounds on those who are grieving...except the inevitable puffy eyes and swollen red nose.  I am "fixed" but am missing a piece of me--the same piece that makes me who I am........

So we had a few battles, but apparently the war wasn't over.   We bought a house, I went to grad school, we were adults and had plans and were good.  We fought over stupid stuff, just like you all do, like the garbage, money, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming........pointless arguments that at the time seem so real and heated and the most important thing in the world...............but really, pointless.

We wanted to have a baby.  Babies are what I do--pregnant women and babies are my passion, I embrace every aspect of pregnancy and I am damn good at what I do.......damn good.  I wanted to be that good with my own baby, I wanted a baby.  We were trying to have a baby.  Now, I won't be able to have sex to make a baby with my won't happen.  Now I am a lactation educator that will never, ever be able to breastfeed.  I am unsure if I will be able to carry them embryos we worked to hard to freeze prior to surgery and chemo.  And if I do, I will be a high risk pregnancy, with no probable option of a vaginal delivery.  For most people this isn't such a big deal, people don't dream of breastfeeding and most people want drugs for birth and c-section seems like a perfect option.  I am not that woman.  In fact, I am opposite of that woman--I try to change that woman's mind and show her the importance of what her body can do, and how her baby needs her body to do such things.  Now I am a woman with limited options and when I let myself think about it I feel the pieces of me fall to the I accept the inevitable, put it in a box, tie it with a pretty bow and place it to the back of my head.  I peak into it every once in awhile hoping it has changed.......but it hasn't.

Each day isn't a gift.  It is an option.  Some days fucking suck, they do.  I am not a rosy, kittens and rainbows, type of lady. I am a realist.  I am a mama bear when it comes to those I love and would do anything to stop them from hurting or from others hurting them. I am gritty, raw, and sometimes too much for people to handle.  I am passionate and persuasive and can carry quite a wallop.  I was taught to hit once and make it count, so you don't have to hit again.  I am married to someone with more patience and understanding in his little finger than I can muster throughout my entire body.  I cuss like a sailor, I am a damn good therapist, and I will do anything to preserve a woman's right to chose their health care...even if I can't chose mine.

So our lives had a few rough bumps, we were 26 and on our way to our cross of our checklist of life to-do's. 

Stage 3 Cancer.

Our lives changed, we adjusted, we rallied the troops and we are putting on one hell of a fight.  But it is still cancer, stage 3, and that fact doesn't escape either of us.  We don't talk about it, because it is too scary.  We take one day at a time, because planning ahead seems futile when you aren't sure if tomorrow will be one of my "good" days.  I would give anything if our only concern was whose turn it was to take out the fucking garbage.  Or I was miserable and swollen because I was in my third trimester rather than going through chemo.  We are the sinner and saint mix that works.  

I sometimes sit on the floor and cry, I go through boxes of kleenex while Scott is at work so by the time he gets home I am out of tears.  I can't dance in the shower as much as I used to because my body hurts to stand that long.  I have mini-panic attacks when I get a mild-grade fever and am afraid of blood work because I don't want to have to be admitted to the hospital.  My body has turned against me, even my implants are making my life hell.  I am not the person I was before and I don't really know how to feel about this new person I have been forced to become.  I guess I have the rest of my life to get to know her.......

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

look mom, new blood!

Mom and I at the oncologist before heading to the hospital
"There is a storm raging outside--I hear the wind howling, the rain pelting the side of our over sized oval window in our oncology room. A whole floor where specialized nurses can work together with a specialized team--I am in their hands now. I am gently woke up for medications, blood draws or more fluids--there haven't been any bright lights flicked on, just gentle voices making sure I was comfortable and had everything I needed. They think Scott is adorable (too much of this and it will go straight to his head) and most importantly I feel secure. Having cancer makes you question everything, down to a certain test or more fluids............and I thought I was wound tight before."---my first night on St. Joes oncology floor

Scott's bed

Home sweet home--I was discharged from St.Joes oncology wing today after my 5 day stay.  When I originally called my oncologist and left a teary, urgent message stating something was wrong and I wanted to go to the hospital I wasn't prepared that I would actually be admitted.  I went to the oncologist and got lots of fluids and morphine and it was decided that I would be better off if I was admitted--so into Tacoma we went where I was able to stay on the oncology wing (St. Joes was such a great experience compared to my last stay at St. Francis).  I wasn't ignored by nurses and I felt like my concerns were taken seriously and the staff was very accommodating to my boisterous family, my constant insomnia and chit-chat.  

Nick, Me, Kristi

The bone pain was incredible.  I am still shocked that my body could be in that amount of pain, I don't think I could have managed that on my own--thanks for all the positive vibes and thank heaven for morphine.  My counts were low, but remained somewhat steady.  I am no longer a blood transfusion virgin.  I received 2 bags of blood while at the hospital.  I had a panic attack when the nurse was trying to draw blood from my port and was having issues--I kept having to move my head a certain way, lay back, breathe deep....the pain and the medication I was on compounded and I began to cry hysterically.  The poor nurse (who I had the others days as well and she was wonderful) was shocked and not sure what to do.  Luckily for me, I had Scott on one side of me and Kerri on the other holding my hands and trying to calm me worked.

My new blood

the CNA wanted me to stay hydrated

Mom was here for part of my stay as well, which was an extra bonus.  When I was hospitalized last time she had already left after taking care of me post chemo--it was nice so she could see how I was doing in person without it being relayed to her--less stress for both of us.

Scott, Me, Luke

I will have my labs drawn and meet with my oncologist on Thursday to see where we are.  Right now I am so bloaty it hurts. My feet, ankles, hands, belly, face, .................everywhere is sore and bloaty. I am left with pain medication, THC pills, and mouth wash.  Because my counts were low and I was not as diligent with my preventative care while in the hospital and I now have mouth sores again!   Still waiting to catch a break.

Josh, Me, Allison

Saturday, October 23, 2010

hospital stay round 2

Chemo #4
Dear chemo,
Lets be friends.  I am sick of thinking we are all chummy, working together for the greater good and then I pull the knife out of my back.  You know the knife you jab in right when I think things are going to turn up?! So I just finished up chemo #4 (which leaves me with 2 more) and it was a hot mess.  Chemo itself was great, having Scott and Luke there made the time go by much faster.  The next day was a different story.  I was (still am) in pain.  If you recall after my first chemo visit I wasn't given the Neulasta injection--which is why my ANC went so low and I was hospitalized.  After that mix-up I have received the shot the day proceeding my chemotherapy.  So Wednesday I got the shot..........that is when my world went upside down.  I was able to dodge chemo's knife but didn't see the shot coming my way.  I was in pain, and lots of it. I was sitting in the middle of my bed hysterically crying, frantically calling the on-call stating "something was wrong" "I just wanted to be the in the hospital" and alot of other rash frantic sentences.  When Scott saw me he calls the oncologist and we schedule to go in.  I was pumped full of fluids, given some anti-nausea meds, some morphine and some encouragement.

"I love you"
It was decided that I should be admitted to the oncology wing at St. Joes in Tacoma.  My prior hospitalization was at St. Francis (where scott works, so that was convenient) but a ward suited to my particular needs was much more appealing.  We arrived and I have a private room. I once again cried hysterically on my hospital bed in pain with Scott and mom rubbing my back.  My sisters come by to bring encouragement, laughter, love and food.  I got a surprise visit from Luke!  Allison and Josh made the drive down--lots of positive energy.  At least this time I am not in isolation so I get visitors and attention.

Hey cancer, you picked the wrong bitch
The pain is my bone marrow multiplying rapidly to help prevent my counts from dropping.  The pain is almost unbearable.  It feels like my shins are being split with an ax, my hips are being twisted and ripped apart like a turkey leg and I have a terrible case of vertigo.............and I still have to do this 2 more times.  They aren't sure how long the pain will last that I am currently experiencing, we are just treating the symptoms waiting for it to subside.  I just wanted to update everyone---sorry no catchy/witty comments from me, morphine will take that out of you.  Keep the positive energy coming!
Luke & Scott kept busy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chemo Eve Round 4

Wishing I had hair
Round 4 is tomorrow...I feel like I should wear those pink boxing gloves because the fight is definitely getting harder. My counts were just high enough to continue with my chemo schedule which means tomorrow is the day.  This also means that there is a pretty good chance that I will have a transfusion and/or be hospitalized before my 5th round....I am okay with that--I am pro with the hospital/ER now...bring it on.

I called my Grandma Lou today, talk about an angel she is just missing her wings.  She is 90 and the sweetest woman you could ever meet. I think I am doing so well just with her prayers and positive thoughts alone.  My mom lives 1 1/2 miles from her and my Grandpa Charlie so they get the "dori updates" daily and when my mom comes here to take care of me after chemo she calls them daily for the update. I am so thankful to all my family that is so supportive from all over the map--love you all!

I am scared for tomorrow.  Chemo hurt last time, bad.......even though I bounced back earlier than before I was in the most pain and on the verge of wanting to go straight to the ER on a daily basis.  I wish I could leave you with something more inspiring because I don't blog (just tweet) for about a week or so after chemo because I can barely make it to the bathroom and back into bed....creating a sentence would be like brain surgery---but to be honest (I know, I know, something new for me) I am fucking terrified and it is overpowering my ability to be witty and gritty. 

Scott and Luke are both going to be at chemo with me tomorrow, so that makes it better, it is less scary to wake up and know one of your best friends is the room next door and your husband is just as nervous as you are.  They plan on playing monopoly while I come in and out of my chemo daze. 

Well I am off to try and get some beauty sleep, which is silly because I usually don't sleep the night before chemo, but there is a first time for everything.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

breast friends

Fingers crossed that my platelet count is above 100,000 tomorrow when I get my labs (it was 64,000 last week) so I can keep my chemo schedule the same.  My 4th round is scheduled for Tuesday.  My legs are swollen and my veins are pretty scary--good thing it is getting close to Halloween.  My stomach is getting bigger--Allison was over Friday (and made a home cooked meal!) and I made her touch my belly (yes after some wine)--it is really crazy that the steroids are that "effective". 

Sauce from the spaghetti feed in Okanogan--it made a great dinner!!!

My clothes are becoming uncomfortable so my sister Kerri and I went the maternity section. I got some sweet pants that won't forcefully make a muffin top and won't leave me with huge dents in my belly fat from the button.  I am thinking of making a breast cancer clothes line for women going through chemo with steroids--we need contoured shirts with exchangeable pads that will work with changing implant sizes, etc..., cute & comfy pants and shoes that accommodate swollen feet!  Will do.

I went to the plastic surgeon and had my expanders...expanded.  They still don't really resemble breasts, but they are the closest thing I am going to get for awhile.  It made for a painful start of the day, but I powered through for a cobb salad and a lunch date with Scott.  It is amazing the difference in 'bed side manner' between my oncologist (ass) and my plastic surgeon (best ever).  I may have to look into some plastic surgery so I can continue to see him and his wonderful assistants after this whole cancer thing is behind me.
Kerri & I after our maternity shopping

I am looking forward to getting back in shape after this.  My mom reminded me that when I lose weight I won't lose boob fat.  Any woman reading this knows that when you get into gear and start to work out the first thing to go is your boobs...........mine will just look bigger! Dori=1 Cancer=0

Also when I get cold I don't have to worry about my nipples showing...........even though sometimes when I get cold I look down....forgetting I no longer have them. 

Lab guy: "I love your tattoo, what is your next one going to be?"
Me: "my nipples" (I answer without thinking)
Lab guy: s i l e n c e

Hot flashes are still torturing me and it seems that when I get upset one hits me from out of no where.  And not upset like in a fight or hurt feelings of any kind---I can be watching Private Practice and they talk about Dell dying and wham hot flash.  It is getting ridiculous.   Kerri and I were shopping she just looked at me and said "You are really okay?" 
My favorite purchase of the day!

Yep, I am good.  Fingers crossed for chemo, can't feel them, but they are crossed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

wrong in all the right ways

I am feeling pretty good
 Well I am blogging instead of getting a colonoscopy so my day is looking good so far.  I was scheduled for a colonoscopy today, but after having my blood work done yesterday Scott and I decided that it wasn't a good idea.  My platelets are at 64 (probably lower today, but at 64 yesterday).  My white blood cells are still good, but platelets are what makes blood clot, amongst many other things.  With a colonoscopy there is a high risk of bleeding--normal levels at a minimum are around 150.  The gastro doc said they would do it if it wasn't lower than 50, but 64 was just too close for my comfort.  If it was an urgent issue that needed to be addressed I would have went a head with it, but the benefit doesn't out weigh the risk at this point.

I stayed on a clear liquid diet yesterday until it was decided that I didn't need to prep for the colonoscopy ---which I have had before and it's the shits (HA).  The clear liquid diet extended after the decision was made--white wine is definitely clear, right?

Scott & Luke--my best guys

I am back to being a bit emotionally unhinged--thanks to reiki yesterday.  I love it, but it definitely brings your emotions to the surface, and in my case massive amounts of tears are usually unleashed.   So making the decision yesterday for no procedure was a pretty dramatic experience--luckily the only witnesses were my dogs--and they are sure as hell not talking.  I called Scott and he told both my oncologist and gastro doc that I wouldn't be going a head with the procedure---that saved me some sanity (in their eyes) I didn't have to call and state through tears that I wasn't going to be coming in...........overly fucking happens sometimes....I do have cancer after all....

I have received so much positive energy from others, it doesn't surprise me that I 'go' really well for awhile, riding high and feeling great---then BAM tears and craziness.  I know everyone experiences it, has days where you look in the mirror and think "what the hell is your deal today"....emotions are like finicky babies, you try everything but they still get their way, if it wants to cry it lets you know it.  Poor Scott, he thought I was a bit crazy before cancer...jokes on him.

Pre Maroon 5 concert

I also think it has to do with me feeling good lately.  After chemo and when I am all drugged up my brain runs on coma, then I get up and back into the world and I have sensory overload.  I read emails, facebook whatnot's, cards, and talk to people and I get overloaded.  It takes awhile for me to sort through the emotions to get to the root.  Sometimes I feel guilty for having so many people thinking of me, like when you have die hard sports fans that continue to root for their team even though it is an obvious shut-out.  I am wining the battle, but there is always going to be a war.....

I broke Scott's X box.  Ooops.  When I was having trouble sleeping, or when I couldn't feel my feet and was bed-bound  or post chemo I watched netflix on demand via X box continuously.........until it showed the ring of death (I had to google it, but I recognized that red flashing lights probably wasn't a good thing).  So not only does his wife have cancer but she broke the fucking X Box (he is surprisingly tolerant and lovely). We are just going to have to get a new one---I couldn't imagine my post-chemo days without it.

Me & my father-in-law, who shaved his head when I started losing my hair

My platelets being low can also contribute to me feeling more sluggish than  I have been.  I was able to have a great weekend in the rain for the marathon and go to a concert with my friend Luke AND remain out of bed for the past week and a half---so now waking up and still feeling tired just reminds me that I am still sick.......fuck, I was really on a roll there for awhile.  Sluggishness aside I still feel pretty good.  I am going to get my breast expander's expanded some more tomorrow and then head off to my pre-chemo appointment. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

V is for Victory

What a great weekend! Friday night was my sister Kristi and her fiance Nick's engagement party--it was so nice to feel "normal" and be around people who have germs I have not met yet..........and still feel good!  Saturday we headed to Portland where Scott and my father-in-law Greg were going to run the Portland Marathon.  My sisters and friends came too, it was a wonderful weekend, despite lots and lots and lots of rain!  We walked and walked and walked some more---something that I haven't done since surgery. 

Post Marathon

By the time we were back at the hotel on Saturday and I took my shoes off my feet were so swollen I couldn't get shoes back on to go to dinner = room service. Sunday was race day (and the rain continued).  Both Greg and Scott finished well and raised money for breast cancer research!  We ate at a brewery after and I had the beer that would have just got watery with all the rain if I had it beside the course.  I didn't even bring my chair, I stayed on my feet and moving both days, very proud of myself--and my body. 

Bloaty is as bloaty does.  I have new stretch marks on my steroid filled fluid sac (which is my new word for my stomach).  I am going to view them as battle scars, which in time will fade.
Scott, Me, Greg
As you can see in the photos my face has taken the shape of every other woman who has received steroids with their breast cancer chemo treatments = round. 

And instead of being pregnant, which was our hope many months ago, we have finally received our bill for the fertility treatments, which if you recall were not covered by insurance.  Those are expensive embryos we have on ice in Reno.  Thinking back on all the tests and procedures I have had done in such a short amount of time is unreal.  The fertility treatments just all blend together--multiple daily shots, multiple labs weekly, vaginal ultrasound after vaginal ultrasound, trips to Seattle, the unknown, the general anesthesia, invasive procedure, abdominal pain................ here are some photos from our fertility adventure.

Nurse Kerri

 It is an understatement to say that this has been a whirlwind--when it is over (or at least no more chemo) I will take time to reflect on each process, go back through all my blogs, pictures, and work on processing it (coming to terms with things both good and bad) and moving on.  I am grateful that I have shared this experience in brutal 'fucking' detail with others.  I give a face to the fear that women feel when they hear 'breast cancer.'  This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month, wear a ribbon, and if you have breasts or if you know someone who does--remind them of the importance of self exams.  A self exam saved my life.  I had a lump one month that was not there the month before---and I have Stage 3 cancer.  20 minutes could add years to your life--the unknown is scary, so are the statistics, but what you don't know can kill you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a new normal

part of a wonderful care package!
I am much less emotionally unhinged today, so that was a welcomed change.  I had physical therapy this morning.  My right arm (the side that had many lymph nodes removed) has been feeling heavy, that is a sign of I scheduled to see my PT.  He took more measurements and compared them to the measurements at my first visit--tomorrow I should get a phone call with the results.  If my right arm is more than 10% larger than my left then I may have to wear a sleeve to help decrease the chances of lymphedema.  But because I am on steroids with chemo there is a good chance that it is swollen from the water weight and just upping my lymphedemic massage may help---not to mention all the love and positive energy I have received!  I will be doing the massage daily, it is getting more difficult because my fingers are numb....

Despite the heavy arm I am feeling better than after any of the past chemos.  Don't get me wrong, it is a bitch and I felt really shitty for the week after chemo (the worst yet).  But today I feel somewhat normal.  I even was even able to stay up (without any naps) and visit with a great friend this evening (love you Allison!)---it was normal.  Well somewhat normal, prior to cancer I never would have pulled down my shirt so she could take a look at my "boobs" and discuss the addition of extra skin for nipples or to have them tattooed on in 3D....but that is my new normal...I chose to embrace it.

I am looking forward to the weekend.  Scott is running his second marathon so we are traveling to Portland Saturday and then he will run with my father-in-law on Sunday.  I also get to celebrate my sisters engagement tomorrow night--a full weekend, just like before cancer.  I know I will have to sit a lot while watching the race (my mom made sure I had a chair that I will bring) and it won't be like his last race where I stood for hours and walked like a mile for normal, got it.  I will be the chubby, somewhat bald, scarf wearing, very sweaty, wife of an athletic, running crazed man sitting in a lounge chair on the side of the marathon course............if somehow a beer could be placed in my hand it would be paradise.

My new thing is bloody noses..........

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

go hug yourself

I had my one week post chemo appointment yesterday and it couldn't have gone worse (I am healthy and my counts are good, it's more of a customer service complaint).  I guess when I walked in I left myself at the door because I felt railroaded and didn't stand up for myself. I was too tired. I am too tired. I am exhausted from being sick, emotionally drained, walking on a thin line between normalcy and going off the deep end because there is just too much on my plate. 

There are two oncologists and I normally see one of them, she is amazing, she listens and I trust her.  When we first went there we met with the other one, he seemed nice enough, but I haven't seen him since.  I think in the pecking order he is above her.....when we were dealing with fertility issues prior to surgery my fertility doc was talking to him, he was the one making decisions. He was the one who made the decision that I couldn't receive the injections that would shut down my ovaries--this would help and give them a chance to recover when chemo was done, he didn't think there was enough I am premenopausal.

So yesterday I met with him instead.  I brought in my normal list of concerns and new developments and it was for the most part ignored.  He addressed all his questions and answers to my questions to Scott and I felt like a third wheel.  I was on the brink of tears because I was too frustrated and didn't want to speak, or interject because I felt like a breakdown would be something that the doctor would expect--more ammunition for treating me like I don't have a voice.  The doctor then preceded to tell me to stop medications that I thought were helping.  And I felt like I wasn't getting answers to my questions and left the appointment visibly upset.  I was at least able to make it to the car before I started to cry.  And lash out at Scott.  Mostly because he has a penis and the doctor felt like they were on the same page and I felt like I needed protected and Scott didn't do anything.  Obviously that is not factual and it was a 15 minute appointment but I felt unsafe.  That is what it comes down to.  Not like I was going to be attacked, but because I am at my most vulnerable now and my emotions are right on the surface, I am really sick and I was treated like I didn't know my own body and as if the doctor thought he knew my experience better than I do.    (I don't have to say anything about mommas and babies here do I...the arm of medical bullshit reaches to everyone)

So because Scott has a penis he had to deal with me the rest of the day.  I was miserable and upset and crying so hard I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to stop.  I guess I had my breaking point, done and done.  It carried over into today.  I emerged from my week of hibernation in the bedroom and felt overwhelmed............result=more tears.   I think I am dry now more tears. I hit the wall but now I have climbed over it, done and done.

Oh..........and I refuse to see that oncologist again.

Life is rough.  Life with cancer is rough.........but it has rocks thrown in, so it can be dangerous.  I am barely holding myself together, very patchwork---duct tape, Elmer's glue, glue gun, string, bubble gum, the whole junk drawer....I have 3 more chemo treatments left, just 3 more.  Rocks can hurt like shit so I need to be careful, and one dumb ass doctors who throws rocks, well that just isn't an option for me.  Maybe he can get together with the bitch from Fred Meyer.................I'm just saying misery loves company.

As for me, misery doesn't live here.  I don't have the energy, I do have cancer after all--that is a full time job.  My plate is full, no room for misery.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chemo Truck

I'm back. It has been a week since my 3rd round of chemo. This round was was worse. 2 of the 3 chemo meds I get build on each other, so I expected it to get worse, but I don't think I was really prepared for it. My past chemo rounds were rough, but I was mostly flat out exhausted and had mouth sores. This time I felt like I was hit by the chemo truck, then it reversed and ran over me again, then again, and again, until I was ground into the pavement. I am having intense muscle spasms, extreme headaches, more nausea than ever, dizziness, numb fingers and toes, my stomach is so swollen and tight it hurts and is tender to touch.... I feel like a bad case of the flu with some gnarly mouth sores and bloody stool thrown in as a bonus.

I still can't believe how hard chemo hits you. I can barley connect words to speak, let alone type. It literally takes a week before I am able to type again. I have finally got a grasp on it though--I am riding it out, but now I have a better arsenal. I am at my half-way point with chemo and am finally out of tunnel vision. When I was diagnosed I was so focused on cancer, surgery and chemo that I lost the holistic part of me that I rely on for balance. Now that I feel like I have a handle on the chemo I am bringing in nourishment for every aspect of this fight. I have started acupuncture again, massage, and lots of good for you supplements. My cells have been depleted from cancer and now are being sucked dry by chemo--I feel guilty that I have been depriving my body of what it needs to rehabilitate--but its better late than never.

This is my jumping off point to better health. You can't really start any lower than cancer, so I feel positive about the momentum I will have. I am going to force myself to make changes. There is nothing like stage 3 cancer to get your ass in gear.

I also owe it to Scott. I don't mean that I feel guilty for having cancer, or that I need to repay him in some way for taking care of me......but I owe him. I owe it to him to be around, to be his rock when he needs it, to embrace new things with. I have been given a chance to see how terrifying it is to think of not being around anymore, forced to fight to live. Things are different now, petty shit isn't worth the limited amount of energy I have to spare. And trying new things seems like a damn good idea. Hell, you only live once and I refuse to let cancer win.

Scott loves the outdoors and running-----I like indoors and sitting. But now that I am being forced to sit and stay inside it has lost its charm. The romantic notion of an afternoon nap has lost its indulgence when you are already in bed a majority of the day.  I wish I could get up and take a walk, or even work out......a complete 180. Scott takes care of me when I have cancer, I learn to like trees........sounds like a plan.

This past Saturday the first Bouncin for Boobies event took place based out of Okanogan. Once again the support I am receiving from my home town is unbelievably inspiring, here is my note of thanks to the participants:

Thank you. There are many things in the world that separate people. You all are participating in an event because we are similar. We are all at risk for breast, ovarian and cervical cancer--it is a secret club that no one wants to join, the initiation is just too rough. But some of us are forced to join, and are able to continue the fight because of your support and participation in events like tonight. In honoring this fight, this shitty fight that some of us are forced to take, the inability to have control of your fate shakes you to the core. But we fight, we fight together, we fight with undeniable support and positive thoughts.

You support me by being you. Individually you are here for your own reasons, but this nasty thing inside me has brought me to you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for participating, for bouncin' for the boobies that I lost!! (and the hair, and the feeling in my feet, and the security I once had and the medical bills I can barely see over)

I am told a lot, that, I am too young to have to deal with this. But no one should have to deal with this! And no one should have to go it alone. I am far from alone here, I have a tremendous support network on this side of the mountains, but nothing beats home. Home is who I am, where I come from, what makes Many of you have never met me and still you are helping to raise money and support me in this fight. You are stepping out for a cause that hits close to home. We are all in the same fish barrel, I am vigilantly hoping I took the only bullet.

Thank you for being strong, supportive and bouncin'. I welcome you to my fight, I won't let you down.