Thursday, December 22, 2011

My own little snow globe

So after months away, my girls and I returned to Disneyland today. I had promised them that after I went back to work I would take them, kind of a consolation prize for having me gone half the week, (little did I know that I would be making the same about at work as I was making on disability, oh well) but thanks to a secret Santa donation and some jars of coins, today was the day, and boy was it crowded!

We managed to get a few rides in, a parade, lunch, and an ice cream sunday... Not in that order. Oh and did I forget to mention that I had surgery yesterday... Totally random and out of the blue, I had my port replaced, so I have been in pain all day, but I promised.

Towards the end of our day (really we were only there maybe 3 hours) I had my snow globe moment... There we were on Main Street, all lit up as only Disney can do, eating ice cream with my girls, when they dim the lights, and light up the castle, then you make a wish, open your eyes and...it's snowing! Honestly, it gets me every year, but this year, to be there with my babies, all of us healthy, and happy, and it was a perfect moment. We were in our one little snow globe. Magic.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy little treats

While getting my herceptin infusion, ran into some hiccups, my port wasn't quite working right, so infusion had to fo the old fashion way, though a vein in my arm. Meanwhile medication was being put into the port to help open it up... So a 30 min process is now on hour 3! But, has not all been bad, some carolers from a local high school serenade all of us in infusion and a local volunteer group brought homemade gifts for us!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Crazy hair update

So it's getting there, almost a pixie, but with this cold weather and me being self conscious I'm not quite ready to bear it without a head piece. Thankfully the season lends itself well to hats and beanies.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Walked 2 miles

Now that I've been back at work almost 2 weeks, today I got back to walking. My good friends Barbara, Darshna and I walked 2 miles, slowly, but we did it. Thanks girls!



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bad days still come...

And still I have nights where I cry and I'm scared, still all the time. And I still wish that I would wake up and this would have all been a dream, for as much as I've gained and learned, I wish it never happened. And more than anything I pray everyday that my daughters never have cancer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The day my life returned to normal...

Or at least as close to normal as it will get. I returned to work today, and it was bittersweet. I am glad to back in the game if life, but I do miss home and naps and my girls... My 3 year old buddy who asked if she could go back to work with me...I miss her a lot.

I did have a minor panic attack in the cafeteria, I think kind of a ptsd reaction, returning to work means returning to the "scene of the crime" where I found out I had cancer, where I was treated, where once upon a time my babies were born, where not long ago it was just work... It was just a little overwhelming, I think it will take some time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Random acts of (Christ) kindness


Random acts of (Christ) kindness
1. Give money to someone who ask
2. Donate books to the library
3. Pay a tab for the person behind you
4. Adopt a solider
5. Thank the mail person with a box of See’s
6. Muffins for librarians
7. Leave a small gift in the play area of a park
8. Leave laundry detergent at the Laundromat with a few quarters
9. Donate to a food bank
10. Hand out balloons
11. Leave diapers and wipes at a changing station
12. Let someone cut in front of you in line
13. Give a gift from a giving tree (like at the mall)
14. Leave $1 hidden in the toy section at the 99 cents store
15. Make bookmarks for the library to hand out
16. Buy flowers for the grocery store clerk
17. Pick up trash at the park
18. Cut coupons and leave them near the item at the grocery store
19. Post post-its with nice quotes in unexpected places
20. Bake cookies for a neighbor
21. Leave an angel for someone to find
22. Give flowers to a favorite teacher anonymously
23. leave extra stamps at the post office
24. give to the Salvation Army person and thank them for ringing the Christmas bell
25. make paper flowers and leave them at the senior center to be hander out with meals
26. draw a happy picture and post it at a grocery store bulletin board

We will go in no particular order and will probably have to repeat a few, but we are all excited!

Thanksgiving 2011


Thanksgiving came and went. I am still doing dishes, still eating leftovers, (I have yet to cook another meal!)But it was nice and it went well.

Now on to Christmas. Usually I am done, or almost done with all my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving, but I have barely started. The kids and are doing something new this year, and hopefully it will become an annual tradition. We are going to do one random act of kindness a day until Christmas. We started today with giving money to a panhandler without judgment or reservation. I am posting our entire list on the next post right now in case anyone wants to join us!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leave this..!?

How am I'm going to leave this to go to work on Tuesday?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving thanks

So it's obvious what I am thankful for, but I will list them anyway.
1) my Faith
2) my family
3) my friends (who let's face it are family!)
4) my co-workers (who let's face it are friends!)
5) my doctors ( who... are... my... co-workers!) Hmmm, I see a pattern...
6) my health, which I know you would expect to be higher on the list, but without the above I don't know if I would have had the motivation and strength to get here

Now is it wrong that I don't want to do this on thanksgiving? I just don't think I can emotionally handle (especially after cooking all day) 30+ family members (its going to sound bad) but, reminding me that I had cancer...

So am going to ask that we give thanks by saying grace and that's it, if everyone else wants to go around the table they can, but I think I will excuse myself.

I am very grateful for my life, and I hope people know that without me having to say it.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Burnt

My skin is so burnt and tender. It is so painful, its nauseating. I took a picture to post, but it looks too gross.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I love this video

Cancer Crusade Video

moving, and touching, and put into words so well, please watch

and an update on me. Yes, all the aggressive treatment is done, but apparently the radiation will continue to burn through my body for 2 weeks, even leaving an "exit wound" on my back. under my arm i have a 3rd degree burn and my ribs feel bruised. The good

thing is that this all came after radiation was over, some people get these symptoms durring radiation and have to contiune to get radiated through the burn! (ouch!!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

I will go on



So as quietly as this journey began, in a radiology room, today it came to an end in a radiology room. I am now done with all of my aggressive treatment. I have been cut open and pulled apart, mutilated and poisoned, bruised and burned, and the cancer was destroyed, and I am here and I am still strong. I have battle wounds and dark memories, but I still have hope. And my mind still drifts to dark places and I think I will be scared for a long time, but I will always have faith.

It's a really weird realization that it's done. I said good-bye to my techs, who have been by my side, everyday for this last part of my fight, and good-bye to my comrades in the waiting room, (we have seen each other daily for weeks now) and the receptionist, who know us all by name, handed me my "diploma" recognizing the end of this road, I couldn't help but cry. I was sad that I went alone and had no one to share my multitude of emotions with, but in a way it was very fitting.

Then I came home and the house was still a mess, I still had to pick up the kids from school, and go to parent teacher conferences, and gymnastics, and homework, and scouts... and life goes on.

I ended my first post with "This is my journey and it will be led by God, my family, my friends. I will have bad days, it will be hard. It is the fight for my life, and I will win!" And now I know the journey is never over, it is what keeps us going, and you win the moment you chose to fight, and yes, it is hard, and yes there are many bad days, but there are many good days, and days that you don't cry, and although you never forget that you have had cancer, you realized the you have gained more than you have lost. And when you make it out you are called a survivor.

My husband asked if this means the end of the blog and I said no. I have told this blog my secrets, my fears, my happiness, my memories. And I still have 8 months of herceptin, and I got in to a blind trial to test a medication that may help me stay in remission till the 5 year mark... so I will go on...

My new theme song




Foo fighters
Walk

A million miles away
Your signal in the distance
To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Every time that I return

I'm learning to walk again
I believe I've waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I'm learning to talk again
Can't you see I've waited long enough
Where do I begin?

Do you remember the days
We built these paper mountains
And sat and watched them burn
I think I found my place
Can't you feel it growing stronger
Little conquerors

I'm learning to walk again
I believe I've waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I'm learning to talk again
I believe I've waited long enough
Where do I begin?

Now
For the very first time
Don't you pay no mind
Set me free again
To keep alive a moment at a time
But still inside a whisper to a riot
To sacrifice but knowing to survive
The first to climb another state of mind
I'm on my knees, I'm praying for a sign
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I'm on my knees
I never wanna die
I'm dancing on my grave
I'm running through the fire
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna leave
I never say goodbye
Forever, whenever, forever, whenever

I'm learning to walk again
I believe I've waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I'm learning to talk again
Can't you see I've waited long enough
Where do I begin?

I'm learning to walk again
I believe I've waited long enough
I'm learning to talk again
Can't you see I've waited long enough

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My little pumpkins


Both costumes were home made or home assembled. My 6 year old and I made her pirate costume and we put the cowgirl outfit together from clothes we had a home. The 11 year old was ryan seacrest, mostly because he really wanted to wear his suit jacket. Over the weekend even I dressed up as a flapper with a 20's wig and all!

So today I had my 21st of 25 radiation treatments. Next monday will be my last treatment. I will still have 8 or so months of Herceptin infusions (every three weeks), but it looks like I will be oficially ready to go back to work the Monday after Thanksgiving. A little nervous, yes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Family Dinner

Thank you, thank you to all my friends and family who came over for dinner last night. I had a great time. I love you all.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Updates on bathroom and hair

So, yeah! The bathroom is finished and it looks great. It was the weekend project that took nearly 4 months, but it's done and looks fantastic, glass tiles in the shower, travertine floors, it's great. Towanda!

As for my hair, the bad angle in the picture is trying to show that I have eyebrows! I can actually go out without having to draw them in, they look better when I enhance them, but at least now I don't need to. My hair is also growing in slowly but surely. My hope if for a pixie cut by thanksgiving, we'll see.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Getting adjusted to my new normal

It's weird, how you just kind of adjust, adapt to the most abnormal things that are now just a part of life. Like how stuffing my bra everyday is normal, or painting in my eyebrows, being bald... daily radiation. I drive everyday 40 miles round trip, check in and get my restaurant style pager, undress, and and walk around in a hospital gown like it is completely normal, everyday.

And I have mentioned before, I really can't remember life before cancer, it's like when you have a baby and you can't remember life before that. That is how it is with cancer, or at least for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Like I've been in the sun all day

So I have done 8 radiation sessions, 17 to go, and I am already feeling tired. Not quite fatigued, but like I have been in the sun all day, just drained. And it's pretty instant, as soon as I walk away from my machine, before I even get dressed, I'm thinking of a nap.

Monday, October 10, 2011

12 eyebrow hairs

So I have counted, I have exactly 12 hairs in my right eyebrow and about 20 in the left. Funny how my eyebrows, eyelashes, and nose hair continue to fall out even 4 weeks after my last chemo... The good news is I guess the chemo is still working, killing cells.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Me on TV


from The Doctors website:

Thriving Through the Fight against Breast Cancer
How do you find strength in times of struggle? Anise, 33, is a mother of three and is battling stage-three breast cancer. Currently undergoing chemotherapy, healing from one mastectomy and facing the removal of her remaining breast, Anise has chosen to speak out about her illness through her personal blog, and by sharing her story on The Doctors.

“I never thought I would have cancer. That never crossed my mind,” Anise says.

Anise sits down with health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels to share her fears, insecurities and hopes for the future.

“I’m not the same person right now. When I look in the mirror it doesn’t quite look like me,” Anise says. “And it’s not just the [post-operative] breast and the hair loss. I just don’t feel as comfortable in my own skin."

“The hardest part of everything is the emotional toll [cancer has taken] on me and my family,” she adds. “I want to be here for my girls. I’ve done a lot of things [in life] and I’ve been happy, but the thought of leaving my kids having to live the rest of their lives without their mom is the hardest part of having cancer.”

“I want to tell you how brave you are to come on the show today, because you’re creating awareness for so many women out there,” Jillian says. “For that, I have to commend you and say thank you.”

Anise opens up about losing one of her breasts to a mastectomy. “You no longer feel sexy or attractive,” she says. “You feel like you’ve been mutilated, and somebody literally chopped off your breast. … I never imagined that that would happen to me.”

Plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon explains that a mastectomy involves removing all the breast tissue and typically some of the lymph nodes, which are tested and evaluated for the best possible treatment plan. Dr. Ordon then outlines Anise’s options for breast reconstruction.

Anise shares her biggest piece of advice for women and their health. “If you feel something [in your breast], get it checked out,” she says. “It’s not a death sentence. Just because they tell you that you have breast cancer, [it] doesn’t mean you’re going to die. You’re just going to have to change the way you live a little bit.”

watch my segment on The Doctors

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 new tatoos

Not as exciting as I made it sound, last Thursday I got tattooed for radiation. Tiny pin sized blue dots, targets to align the radiation. It's a giant sci-if looking machine. I'll write more about the experience tomorrow, my first of 25 daily (M-F) treatments.

Set your DVR

My segment on The Doctors is set to air tomorrow Tuesday October 4, on CBS. Here in the LA area, it's on channel 2 at 2pm. I'm only on for about 5 min in the first half of the show.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New and improved infusion center!

So my unnamed treatment center just got an updated oncology and infusion center and it is so nice. Too bad it couldn't have been completed while I was having 4 hour treatments. But I will happily enjoy the buttery leather recliners with attached flat screen tv/dvd/computers and all the light from the walls of windows which overlook the duck pond, every 3 weeks for the next nine months! (I still have Herceptin infusions)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Me, a natural, not a pretty sight

So this is the me I see everyday. I kinda look like a balding man with no eyebrows. I don't even remember what it was like to have hair, I don't remember what I was like before cancer. What were my fears? My goals? How nice it was to not have to worry about dying. I'm not trying to sound morbid or depressed, but I took for granted my youth and health. And I feel like that Mumford and Son's song that I really like, it says "death is at your door step, and it will take your innocence but it will not steal your substance. " Now I realize the death was not at my doorstep, but it did enter my line in sight. And it took my innocence, but not my substance. And I will figure out who I am now. What I know is that I am a mother and a survivor.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Thank You Santa Barbara


Here are my pics from the Avon Walk, thank you all for you support!

click here

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Avon walk day 2

I got my first survivor button thanks to my bro and sister in law. Also received my first survivor shirt!

The weekend was emotional, inspirational, challenging, exhausting, and rewarding! Cant wait to do it again next year.

And thank you to my brother and sister-in-law who crewed and camped with me!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Avon walk day 1

Tired. Day started at 5am. I was out on the route today and met a lot of great people and heard some amazing stories. I have hugged so many stranger, survivor sisters! Can't wait till tomorrow and some sleep!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 0 (because it's a 2 day walk)

So we made it to Santa Barbara, Refugio actually. The walk starts tomorrow, so day 1 will be tomorrow. After a flat tire, we finally made it to registration a little late, but we made it. We are staying the night a Refugio state beach, where my husband and parents will stay the weekend with the kids. Tomorrow we have to start early 5ish... But tonight we're enjoying the campfire!




Thursday, September 15, 2011

Santa Barbara Here We Come!


So tomorrow we leave for the Avon Walk in Santa Barbara, although we are not walkers, we are part of the crew that helps make it all possible, or so they tell us. All in all, it is a great experience, I cannot believe that last year I was listening to the stories of amazing women who never expected to be diagnosed, and they were there now, as survivors. I never, ever imagined that I would be back a year later, one breast lighter, bald, 16 rounds of chemo in me, preparing for radiation, but like them now, a survivor! Really, you NEVER know what life is going to throw at you, what a year will bring, but that is why events like this are so important. I was reminded by a doctor this week that if I would have been diagnosed with my cancer 5 years ago, I would not be here today because there was no medicine to slow it down. I am literally alive right now because of a medicine that was invented and approved within the past 5 years, Herceptin. More research still needs to be done because I need at least another 40 years. To donate to the Avon Walk you can click here, or women can sign up through Army of Women, an organization constantly looking for women to participate new research studies, (both with a history of breast cancer and without).

Thank you, and I can't wait to share pictures of the event with you all!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes at night

Sometimes at night, I cry, and I still can not believe that this is really happening to me.


Just found this at the bottom of the page under daily psalm
"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
Amazing!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hair and bathroom updates

First off I have to acknowledge that today is September 11th and take a moment to remember all we lost and hope that we can all remember how united we were as people, as communities, as a nation, and hope that with this 10 year anniversary we can once again share that kindness and compassion.

Secondly, here is my latest hair and bathroom updates. So now that chemo is over, I bit the bullet and forked over the money for Ovations hair cell therapy. Now I know my hair will grow regardless, but if there is something to help it along, why not try it... So I have posted mt latest hair pic showing a really ugly stage of hair growth and I guess we'll see...

Now the bathroom, my nightmare, if I knew it would take over 2 months I would have left it alone. As you can see, it's slowly coming together, but next time I will take on a project that I can complete myself, start to finish.




LA County Fair

Our family made our annual trek to the LA County Fair. We saw the animals and expos, and are bbq corn, and drank chocolate milk. Same as every year for as long as I can remember... I hope for at least another 33 years of fairs.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

6 months later...

So it has been six months since my mastectomy, and although I am in a much better place, I am still scared a lot of the time. And now, as I am getting closer to getting back on to that merry-go-round of life, I am scared to go back to the everyday, to move on and be "normal" As much as Ii miss it, Ii am nervous, I need naps! And I guess with the kids back at school and schedules resuming, sports, ccd, boy scouts... I'm slowly assimilating myself back into the real world. I guess I am getting ahead of myself, Ii still have 1 chemo and 5-6 weeks of radiation, but there is finally an end in sight, kind of...

And 6 months healed, no longer sexy or even useful, but now a symbol of strength...




Friday, September 2, 2011

Quotes from this week's chemo card

So like I have mentioned, every chemo day my sister sends me off with a card. This week's was full of great quotes:
"I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing Light of your own being" Hafiz

"turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you" Maori proverb

"your work now is to find your fire and rekindle it- and then to let it burn bright" oprah Winfrey

"there is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly the Spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways. " Mother Teresa


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some time after midnight

So it's late and it was a chemo Wednesday (yea, after only 1 left!). And I'm exhausted, but my mind won't stop! I have taken 2 anti anxiety pills and still no rest for my wondering mind. I am now equally excited and terrified to stop the chemo. All of a sudden I have soreness and pains throughout my body, my foot, my ankle, my knee, and my armpit, my neck... the list goes on and on. And I think it is all in my head because it only last a moment, but my thoughts can't stop and I'm so tired and I have to get up early tomorrow to take the kids to school... Oh, and and those darn hot flashes, still driving me crazy. I have tried to meditate but it just makes me anxious right now, I've tried praying, and kind of help, but I'm still awake!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Tired and a little sad

I think with my hectic week last week and the difficulty I am having sleeping due to those darn hot flashes, I have been feeling really tired, and a little down. I think part of it might also have to due with the fact that I only have 2 chemos left. The I know it sounds weird, but with the chemo I feel like I'm actively fighting the cancer, and I know the radiation will also do that, but then what, my body will be left on its own to fight... That's a scary thought for me, and probably for anyone who has ever had cancer. So I've kinda been feeling drained, physically and emotionally. I could use a nap, but my husband is out of town for a work thing, so it's just me all week... Early bedtime for all!

A mom update, with each craziness of last week I forgot to mention that my mom started her reconstruction last week! Last Wednesday, while I was at chemo she was having expanders put in. I think she will go in weekly for 4-6 months to have them slowly filled until her body is ready for implants. Like I have mentioned , its more that just a boob job because there is no breast tissue and so much skin was removed. But she is very excited to have the process started.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Doctor's


So last Friday I received a call from the producers of the show, The Doctor's stating that they were interested in sharing my journey with breast cancer, now, like with this blog, despite not being happy with the way I look right now, and definitely not camera ready, this is real, and this is what cancer looks like for me, whether I like it or not, this is me, so of course I said yes to being on the show. I want others to know, to feel what it is like living with breast cancer without having to have it themselves. And it’s definitely not pretty and not easy, but I do it, and I live it, and I go on. And some days are good, some are bad, I still think about cancer a majority of my day, but I am okay.

A plus was that I got my hair and make-up done, I got to sit down with Jillian Michaels, super sweet, and get some information from the doctor's. I am not sure when the show will air, but I think it is in October, I will post it when I know. So that was my week, along with the fact the kids started school on Tuesday, first and sixth grades! And I had chemo on Wednesday, only 2 left!!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Side effect rears its ugly head

So just as I'm feeling good, no more nausea, little fatigue, I start to notice that I am losing some feeling in my feet. The doctor had warned me that neuropathy or numbness in the hands and feet is a common side effect of each chemo I am on, and so far it hadn't lost any sensation, but I kind of started to notice yesterday that my feet feel like they are falling asleep. I can still feel them and I can move my toes and all, the but I have that pins and needles feeling and I have 3 chemo left. I am hoping that this is as bad as it will get, but it's a weird constant sensation, and we'll see, and honestly I would take numb feet over the terrible nausea and fatigue. And I'll take it all to kill every last cancer cell.


Concerts at the park

Most of the summer we have spent Sunday evenings at the park enjong the free concerts. For the past 3 years we have been doing this, and since my entire family now lives in Glendora, it's easy to do. So last night was the last concert of the season and we had a relatively small group, just me and the girls and my parents. We had fun though, picnicking on the grass listening to the music, it was a great way to end summer. tomorrow, the first day of school!


Friday, August 19, 2011

I make cancer look easy!

So yea, after a couple of weeks of vacations I was able to get back to the gym today and take a yoga class. My regular instructor was out today, but it turned out that our sub was a cancer survivor (lymphoma). She teaches a Monday morning class that I may also start taking.

Like I have mentioned, between the steroids, slower metabolism, and menopause, I am very much struggling with my body image and the weight gain, and the moon face... So a work out this morning defiantly helps me feel like I can have some control.

But despite all that, but my cousin Eileen gave me a compliant that I very much appreciated, she said that I make cancer look easy, which I love because I have cancer, cancer does not have me.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Refugio

So we are on day 4 of a 5 day getaway on the coast of Santa Barbara. I made some homemade marshmallows and grahm crackers so we enjoyed those friday night. Saturday I went on a very tiny bike ride. On Sunday I went out on the kayak, it was nice, we got to see a seal up close. Yesterday we spent the afternoon I was Solvang. The weather today is great, clear and sunny. We head back home sometime tomorrow. Hoping to take the long way through the 126 (I think) and stop by some fruit stands. Get home in time for chemo thursday this week, I then after this week only 3 chemo left!