Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Weekend Update - My Surprise

It was one of those weekends with the highest of highs and some lows thrown in.

  • Shave your legs
  • Go to bed early
  • Leave early Saturday morning
  • Need to go to the West side of town
Those were the things that were told/leaked to me by my husband on from Thursday thru Saturday morning about my surprise Valentine's day present. I did end up guessing it on Saturday morning and he was almost relieved to no longer have to hide it.

For those that have no idea, it was a massage and pedicure at a fabulous salon and spa in town. It was fantastic and after everything that 2008 dealt with, majorly welcomed. It was amazing and I told John that he just raised the bar. ROFL

Afterward, we did a bit of shopping an ended up not getting home until late. This forced me to have to hurry to do my Valentine's Day present to him. Rushing around is not a good thing. I ended up jamming my finger into the wall at one point trying to catch something that fell. However, I finished a beautiful, romantic, candlelight dinner in record time. Complete with a fancied up strawberry cheesecake that I only cheated on a little. :)

Sunday, I spent most of the day at the clinic waiting to see a doctor since the finger I jammed looked really bad. It was swollen at least 3 times its size and purple from tip to last knuckle. It wasn't broken but they put it in a splint anyway. I'm just glad it wasn't broken even if I did spend over three and a half hours at the clinic.

That was the weekend. Back to work today. From highs of "No tumor regrowth" to lows of jamming a finger, it was a weekend to enjoy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Monthly Update For February 2-14-2009

Sorry for the lack of updates but there hasn't been a whole lot to report.

  • I am 8 months from having my brain tumor resection
  • I am 4 months since ending radiation
Medically - The retina specialist agreed that my funny-looking optical nerve is from surgery and radiation. We will monitor it to make sure it doesn't get worse but he doesn't expect it to.

I had an MRI on Monday and it proved that my new Neurologist and my Radiation Oncologist were correct. It appears to just be necrosis. The MRI showed improvement and there is no sign of tumor regrowth. I get to go 6 months before my next MRI now!!! I won't know how to act since I've had at least 11 since August of 2007. **Does a Dance**

I will FINALLY be getting two of my trouble teeth remove on Tuesday. I can't wait to get them back to healing instead of constant pain. I believe they knocked a filling loose when the intubated me for surgery and it's taken me this long to convince the dentist and set up the appointment with the Oral Surgeon.

In other medical news, I passed my physical with flying colors and I appear stable mentally. (I'll wait while you stop laughing...)

Emotionally - I am continuing to hold up very well and I'm really excited to be doing Relay For Life this year. I think having something to look forward to really helps keep your focus. I've been brainstorming fund-raisers, ways to decorate, and lots of other things. The boys are helping out too so it's a family affair.

Mentally - I'm really not seeing much change here. I'm happy where I am. I can do a lot of the things I did before including my brain games, logic puzzles, math homework, etc. I still have to change my focus now and then to keep from getting bored but that is nothing new.

Physically - I get stronger each day. I can actually work all day now and go home and do the things that need done. I have continued with my wiifit as well and I'm enjoying it. :) I am proud to say that when I started wiifit I could not hold the plank for more than 5 seconds. Now I can consistently do the complete 30. I've also lowered my weight another 10 pounds. I'm just glad to have my energy back. The truth is, there are times I think I have more energy then before I had surgery and radiation. I'm not complaining mind you. I wonder is this was a "side effect" from the tumor I didn't realize I had. Ahh the questions that can never be answered.

Work/Family/Play - Work has been very busy since we came back. We have been migrating and collapsing our domain and dealing with all the brushfires that come along with that. (I know... too technical) Just suffice to say we've been very busy.

Today my baby turns 12. It doesn't seem possible. He's taller than me and he's catching up to me in weight as well. He's a big boy!!! He's struggled recently with school but we hope we have him back on the right track. Please keep him in your thoughts that he can turn things around.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Last night John told me that I need to be sure to shave my legs when I take a shower. He also told me we have to go to bed early Friday night because we have to be up early on Saturday. Suffice it to say, he has a surprise for me. I love when he surprises me like this. I can't wait to see what he has cooked up. I have a few ideas of what it might be but unfortunately I can usually tell when he's lying to me and I don't want to ruin the surprises. :)

The 26th John and I will be going to Indianapolis to see Jeff Dunham in person. He is a fabulously funny ventriloquist that we both enjoy. If you would like to know more you can see his site at: He has clips on there as well that you can watch. I can't wait to go and best of all the tickets were free!!! (Thank You Andy E.)

Relay For Life - My delimma of which team to join was pretty much decided for me since John will be unable to attend the Relay for Menard County. So I will be captaining my team in the Logan County Relay and will be a team member in the Menard County Relay. Our team name is "A Pot of Cancer Cure" and our theme is Winnie the Pooh. We currently have five official team members and a couple that are still on the wall about it. We can recruit up to 15 so if anyone is interested, let me know. We have some neat ideas and fund-raisers in mind that I will talk about when I do my updates. If you would like to see what we are all about you can visit our team page and see what is going on. Our first goal is $1000. I didn't know what to expect for a goal so I was told to start here and you can always raise it later.

Love N Huggles

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Help Support Relay For Life

I’ve decided to take a stand and fight back against cancer by captaining a team in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life® event right here in my community. Our team has pledged to raise $1000 to support the Society's mission to save lives and help people who have cancer. I'd love to reach that goal and be able to increase it. Remember every dollar counts when it comes to fighting cancer.

To steal my words straight from my Relay For Life Personal Page:

I Relay because I know that cancer doesn't care if you have a young child at home, have adequate health insurance, or are still in the prime of your life.

I Relay because I don't want to see any more children like Coleman, Julian, and Finn lose their childhood to cancer and earn their angel's wings way too early.

I Relay because I don't want my son and grandchildren to have to worry about losing their spouse, child, or parent to the beast we call cancer.

I Relay so that those that do have to travel this roller coaster have access to invaluable resources, support, and weapons in the fight against cancer.

I Relay because I want to see an end to cancer during my lifetime. Relay gives me the unique opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and support the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission by fighting back against a disease that has already taken too much from too many families.

I Relay because on August 23, 2007 I had an MRI that was resultant of being hit in the face with a baseball while playing catch in the backyard with my son. The MRI changed my world forever. Five little words changed my life when I was told I had a "benign" brain tumor.

I Relay because in June of 2008, the surgery that was to remove my "benign" brain tumor revealed that I had a grade three Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Malignant. Brain Cancer.

I Relay because I don't want others to have to hear those five words, "You have a brain tumor."

I Relay for me, my family, my friends, and those I have never met that have struggled alongside me or someone they love who is dealing with cancer.

I won't be alone in my efforts. Relay For Life® brings together more than 3.5 million people worldwide to:

  • CELEBRATE the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight.
  • REMEMBER loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing.
  • FIGHT BACK. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease.
  • I hope you will support me in this important cause by making a secure, tax-deductible donation online.

    Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.



    Thursday, February 5, 2009

    Attitude Really Makes the Difference

    I was talking with my therapist today and we got on the topic of personality and attitude. Now not attitude in a bad way but the outlook and attitude that allows you to overcome major obstacles. I have thought about this very thing a lot in recent months. It never fails, at least once a week and sometimes more, I will hear someone say, "I don't know how you do it. I don't think I could have the outlook you do if I were in your shoes." Most don't believe me when I tell them I used to feel the same way. I fully believed that when faced with something like brain cancer, I would curl in a ball and turn my back on the world. Just the thought of cutting my hair shorter than my shoulders would almost put me into tears. So what changed? When you are given no other choices you have to make the decision or in some cases die.

    So much for trying to make that a small introduction. LOL Anyway, our conversation continued down that way and I voiced something that I have only thought about until now. I'm sure everyone knows someone who is or was a survivor of cancer or some other "terminal" illness. So let me ask you... What Who is a survivor? A survivor is someone who looks at the odds then chews them up and spits them out. Sure, they may still fall victim to their element but it wouldn't be due to a lack of fight. For those that fight to the end, we don't believe in saying they lost the battle, instead we say that they won and are now in heaven and are healthy again.

    Besides the obvious things of when it was found, type, etc... The obvious difference between those that survive and those that don't is attitude. Seriously. How many survivors do you hear utter the words, "After I was diagnosed, I quit my job and just sat around the house waiting to see what would strike me down next"? How many survivors do you know who found a corner somewhere and curled into a ball for days at a time? How many survivors say "When they wanted me to walk around the hospital wing, I told them I hurt too much"? The answer is not very darn many and possibly even none.

    A survivor might have bad days where they don't want to get out of bed, but they do anyway. A survivor stands up and takes what comes their way and researches for the future on their own time. A survivor takes that extra lap around the hospital wing even though they are tired and their whole body aches. A survivor knows that the most powerful of treatments are meaningless if you do not have a positive attitude and a will to fight and live life. A survivor knows that if you are going to sit around feeling sorry for yourself while life passes you by, why live?

    I would also bet that a vast majority of survivors didn't think they had it in them before the doctor uttered the words, "You have... I'm sorry." It railroads them just as any bad news tends to do to a person but they reach within themselves and find that will to live. Some do it for their spouse, some for their children, some for our family, and others our friends. No matter where the motivation comes from, we all find it and soon we know that WE want to live.

    Before long we find ourselves comforting others, telling them everything will be fine. Before long we are presenting the doctors with clinical trials we want to look in to and treatments they haven't mentioned. Then we have the doctors telling us that we have made a wonderful recovery and that we are handling things well. We have friends and acquaintances telling us that we are an inspiration and that our outlook has changed theirs. I don't know about others, but I don't wish to be anyone's inspiration but if my journey can help someone else through a bad situation... then it is all worth it.

    I may not see my 100th birthday, dance at my 50th wedding anniversary, or possibly even reap the benefits of retirement. However, I know I will live my life to the fullest, will be fighting to the very bitter end, and will be looking to the angels to heal me on the other side.

    Remember Attitude is Everything!!!