Thursday, January 31, 2008

Adventures at Burlington Coat Factory

Wednesday started out as usual, with breakfast (smoothie) and working out on the elliptical for 30', showers and lunch (big salad with everything but the kitchen sink). Then Shanna and I headed to the clinic so I could get infused. Laura Allan (the woman who started the same day as me at the clinic and who looked like she was at death's door) gave us another concert in the infusion room. She had brought along 3 instruments to play and entertained us with her beautiful voice and songs. She is looking amazing. I can really see her coming back to life. She's got color in her face now and she has a glow about her she didn't have before. She also can project her voice so much more this week than last. I'm just amazed. Tomorrow is her 56th birthday. I'm going to have to get her a bday card, gift and cupcake or something when I go in. She's been trying to put weight on. She's so thin and frail. She has a scar down her front like mine (12" long) but hers is causing her to hunch over, like it's pulled too tight. So she trying to work on her posture.

After we infused, we headed to Wild Oats soon to be Whole Foods, and I got a juice (carrot/celery/parsley/wheat grass) from the juice bar and picked up some random things for dinner. Since Shanna came coatless (pullover windbreakers don't count in Reno Shanna), we stopped at Burlington coat factory on our way home about 630pm or so. I was just going to go in and look for a belt myself. But you should see their hat department! OH my! They have had the best hat selection of anyone I've found so far! Hats and hats and hats and what great prices! $4.99-14.99! And so many in the style (I think it's called pageboy) that I've found I really like! I was going crazy! Shanna brought her camera and we spent an hour or maybe more trying on all of the hats and taking photos! I had so many I wanted to get but I ended up putting several back. Shanna looked so cute in her hats too. She ended up with 2 herself! I tell ya, this hat thing is contagious!

Shanna looked for coats and I kept finding things to try on. I ended up with a long red sweater that buttons in the front and a long lemongrass colored faux suede leather looking coat (raincoat style) that would be great for the spring (It was only $22.99). Although knowing me, I'll probably take the coat back. I also found this great suitcase for $49.99. It's pink suede looking material and it's a duffle bag that is also on wheels and has one of those handles that pulls up and you can pull it along. As Paris, my mom and Dave all know, I needed my own suitcase (I borrowed Paris' big one) and I'm going to need one to take everything back in! Although I might take it back too. It looks like it has a tendancy to get really dirty. And I need to test what it's like fully packed. Not sure it will stay upright with the weight.

After spending way too much time at Burlington Coat Factory, we headed back to the hotel and started dinner prep at 9pm! We made brown basmati rice cooked in chicken broth, and then we stir fried chicken, garlic, sesame seeds, baby bok choy, snow peas, celery, carrots and broccoli in sesame oil and Braggs Amino Acids (tastes like soy sauce without the salt). We ate dinner at 10pm last night! But we were good girls and didn't eat out, regardless of how late it was. We then watched "The Devil Wears Prada" and I had a bowl of fresh raspberries with a little organic cream and then after talking, off to bed at 2am!

Woke up to sunshine and no snow today around 8am. Off to work out and take and walk and maybe hit "Wig World" to try on wigs and go to the airport to add Shanna to my rental car contract and then infuse and she might go out to dinner with her cousin who lives here in Reno tonight and I've got great leftovers from last night. 10 days down so far. Time is flying.

I totally apologize for my ramblings. I know alot of my friends and family want to keep up to date on my goings on here in Reno so typing it up on the blog once instead of repeating it verbally to everyone that calls works best for me right now. I promise I won't always be so boring and rambling in my postings!

Love ya all and miss ya all and am so thankful to have you all in my life.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hallway to Heaven and Sex in the City

I had this really interesting experience. Kind of out of the body experience you might say. After you get out of the elevators on our floor, you walk down a long, narrow hallway with a window on the end. Alot of light comes through the window and it kind of glows at the end of the dark hallway. Like you see in the movies or on television sometimes when someone is walking down a dark, narrow, really long hallway into the light on their way out of this life. Well, I keep having that experience/sensation as I get out of the elevators and turn the corner and walk down the hallway to my room. My room is at the end of the hall. Last door on the right. Just before the window. Walking down that hall, I feel empowered. I feel strong. And hopeful. I walk with purpose. Just before I get to the end, I exit to the right. Like I'm taking a detour. Like it's not my time yet. I feel like someone is trying to tell me something. Send me a signal. A sign that I'm going to be alright. It's very intense.

Woke up to sun again this morning but no snow. We're supposed to get a storm moving in, but it sure doesn't look like it to me. Another storm is supposed to come in on Thursday night. Hope that doesn't mess with everyones travel plans.

Yesterday I did my typical routine of breakfast, 30' on the elliptical and hanging about the suite before going to the clinic to infuse from 2-5pm (they sped up the drip since i'm not experiencing any side effects to it's 2 hours instead of 3 now). Then I went to the airport and picked up my friend Shanna from Cali. I was so proud of myself for not getting lost and finding my way. I now know 3 different ways to and from the airport. Seems I know my way around Reno more than I do Portland!

We went grocery shopping at New Seasons and then came back to the hotel and had some dinner. We're pretending we're two single girls living in an apartment in the city. Kind of like the show "Sex in the City" (although I've never actually seen that show, just heard about it). We could have our own show and call it "Sex in the Biggest Little City" (Reno's slogan is Reno: The Biggest Little City in the World".

We talked a bit and then watched "Hollywoodland". Good movie with good acting but sad and it's one of those movies that kind of leaves you guessing at the end. I hate when they don't tie up loose ends and live happily ever after! We might watch "The Devil Wears Prada" tonight.

Shanna brought me a really neat gift. An angel of light, hope and courage. She's beautiful and I set her on my nightstand to watch over me.

Today we are going to work out and go infuse and who knows what else. I do know Shanna needs to find herself a proper coat! I'm thinking a windbreaker isn't going to cut it. My husband made the same mistake when he was here. Hopefully he'll pack them properly. Scary thought my husband packing my kids for a trip. That should be interesting.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tattoos and Body Piercings

Did I get your attention? LOL

Don't worry, I may have purple toes but I have no new tattoos or body piercings. Or old ones for that matter. But I am amazed at how many tattoo palors and body piercing places there are around here. That and little quickie wedding chapels. One of my favorite ones that I drive by on my way to the cancer clinic each day is "The Black Hole". Kind of sums up Reno in a way.

Reno feels otherworldly to me. Like we are so far away from normal civilization and life as we know it. Maybe it's just because I'm not used to "living" right in they city and all that comes with that. But you would think that in a busy city, you'd see a lot of people walking around, hustling and bustling. It's very eerie here in Reno. For the most part, the streets and roads are quiet. Sometimes almost ghost town like. It's because everyone is inside the casinos, all day and night. It's probably more like a city inside of those places. Lots of energy and hustle and bustle. When you do see people moving around in daylight, they aren't wandering so much as they are stumbling from lack of sleep and too much to drink.

I think I must be on the opposite schedule as the people here in Reno. They come out at night and I run around during the day and hunker down in my suite for the night. It's really not safe to wander around by yourself when the sun goes down if you're a woman. It's almost like Reno is populated by a bunch of vampires. Where's Buffy the Vampire Slayer when you need her?

Monday I woke up at 730am to the most snow I'd seen so far. Was a little concerned about driving to the clinic for my infusion (about 7 miles away) and not sure what the weather was going to do the rest of the day. It was snowing pretty good after I had breakfast. So I switched up my routine and headed in early. Driving was slow but manageable. The sun came out and began to warm things up on the roads a bit. And the morning commute had turned a lot of it to slush. I stopped in Wild Oats and grabbed a carrot/apple/parsley/wheat grass juice and headed to the clinic for my infusion at about 11 instead of my usual time of 2 pm.

It was a full house in the chemo suite and a lot of faces I hadn't seen yet. They seemed to be the "morning shift" of infusers and then there are those of us who show up later in the afternoon and close the place down.

I was back at my room by 230pm and then had the afternoon to work on updating my snail mail address book, cross referencing all of the addresses I had with the ones on all of the hundreds of Christmas card envelopes we had received. Had leftovers for lunch and big salad with everything in it but the kitchen sink! I worked out before dinner and did the elliptical trainer for 30' (my stamina is getting better!). I answered a few phone calls and then made some rice pasta with some of Annie's leftover sauce with organic ground meat in it and a side of steamed broccoli. I made a pot of herbal tea and rented the movie "Waitress before going to bed about midnight.

Woke up Tuesday morning at about 8am and not feeling so well. Feeling a little queasy, full and bloated. Wondering if I'm reacting to something I ate. I'm making some organic slow cooked oatmeal with fresh raspberries and blueberries and almond milk. I'm going to let my breakfast settle, work out and then work on updating my address book again. Also need to make the beds in the 2nd bedroom (linen was washed after Annie and Jerry left) for my guest coming in tonight. Since I have to be at the airport around 6ish to pick up my friend Shanna (pronounced Shauna) from California, I'm going to infuse around 2pm since I'll be on that side of town around 6. She'll be staying with me until Friday. I'm sure my adventures this week will heat up now that she's involved! LOL I wanted to rent the movie "Hollywoodland" tonight but we may be busy catching up.

So off I go to start my day.

Thanks to all of you who have sent me cards and packages here to the hotel! I love it! I have them all sitting on and around the stereo in the entry way and they make me feel so loved! And popular! The people at the front desk are always callinng me and telling me I have mail or a package! It's so nice!!! Thank you!!!

love ya!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Gambler

Who comes to Reno and not gamble? Besides me I mean. I have had no interest in the casinos and slot machines that are everywhere, even in the grocery store! Besides, the casinos are filled with smoke. The first night Dave and I were here, to get out of the cold and make our walk shorter, we tried cutting through the Sands Casino on our way walking to Hollywood Video. I took two steps inside and had to turn around as the smoke was just too much for me. I don't need a casino to gamble, I just need an alternative health care facility in Reno. I figure I am the biggest gambler of them all. Afterall, I'm gambling with my life here.

Reno has been good to me so far. Or maybe it's just the fact that I am away from home and all of my responsibilities. Or the fact that I'm not living in the fast lane trying to be 3 places at once and do 5 things at once. Or the fact that I'm only responsible for myself. There are no birds, dogs, kids, husbands or moms here to consider right now. Just me. And it's quiet. I can hear my own thoughts. It's peaceful and calm. Serene even. A girl could really get used to this.

I think it's also due to the fact that I'm feeling so well and sleeping better than I've slept in years. I've got a lot of energy, yet I can lay down and go to sleep and then instead of dragging myself out of bed, I wake up on my own and jump out of bed, eager to start my day and new routines. And I've been going to bed earlier and getting up around 830am or so. On my own. No alarm clock. It feels good to do that. And I'm dreaming. I always know I'm sleeping hard and getting quality sleep if I dream. I really need that. That's when your body repairs and rebuilds. I think that was one of my problems that probably contributed to this whole cancer thing.

I woke up this morning to about 3" of snow on the ground and the sun shining. It was so pretty and made me feel so alive. Last night I ended up renting "John Tucker Must Die". It was a cute little comedy. Light stuff. I made myself a smoothie for breakfast and read the paper while my breakfast settled. Then I went up and did the ellipital trainer for 30 minutes. I made myself eggs and sprouted grain toast and a salad for lunch and I read some of the books I bought recently. I then took a long bath and read a gossip magazine (US with Trista Sutter on the cover in her bikini after losing 30# five months after giving birth). I headed out for a drive up to Barnes and Noble and Wild Oats and got an apple/carrot/parsley/wheatgrass juice from the juice bar and then I treated myself to an organic coffee latte with rice milk. I stopped at another grocery store on the way home and picked up a shot glass so I could make Margaritas (just kidding!!! it's for measuring 1 oz of a ph supplement that I have to add to my water called pHnomenal). Came home and spent the next 3-4 hours on the phone as Paris, Shanna, my dad and my mom all called me back to back! After my phone-a-thon I stir fried chicken, almonds, onions, garlic, red peppers and pineapple in olive oil and made a salad and ate dinner about 9-10ish.

Now I have the kitchen all cleaned up, the dishwasher and laundry going, I'm in my PJs with my slippers on, I have my herbal tea steeping and I've got my blanket I brought from home (it was my Gramma's and I can't sleep without it!) and my pillow set up on the couch and "The Notebook" cued up in the dvd player. Life is good.

Cue phone it's Dave on the phone! And Dave's mom and the kids called me this morning to check in. So now it's 11:20pm and I've got all of my phone calls out of the way and my tea's getting cold so I'm going to press "start" and watch my movie and go to bed so I can get up and start my 2nd week of infusing etc.

Sweet dreams.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Purple Toes

We woke up to sunshine today!

Dave's dad drove up from Northern Cal on Friday night and we went to the airport and changed Annie's rental car into my name. They got up this morning and headed home a day early in hopes of missing the big storm coming into town. They did so much for me while I was here and took such good care of me that I was sad to see them go but glad to have some alone time all to myself and my thoughts.

I cleaned up around here and did some laundry and then I hit the workout room and walked on the treadmill for 50 minutes as I watched TV. In the process I got hooked on the movie "Never Been Kissed" with Drew Barrymore. So I came back to my room and continued watching it as I had lunch. I took a long, hot bath and headed out to the store.

I went to Wild Oats/Whole Foods and picked up some things and had a juice from the juice bar. I wish our Whole Foods had one of those. I stopped at Walgreens to get a few things and thought I'd pick up some things to give myself a pedicure. After adding up the costs of the supplies in my head, I thought that I might just go get a pedicure at a salon instead. I found a little hole in the wall salon in a strip mall on my way home and went in to see if they took walk-ins. She told me to come back in 30 minutes. So I did! I sat there and she gave me a pedicure while I read trashy magazines. She asked me to choose a color so I chose purple. Afterall, purple is the color of hope. I can use some hope. So now I have soft feet with purple toes! It's kind of like a superpower. :)

So back to the hotel I went, purple toes and all. I made myself dinner and talked on the phone and read a little bit and now I'm going to watch a movie I rented from downstairs. Tomorrow is another day to myself.

My friend Shanna from California is flying into town Tues-Fri and my family might come Fri-Sun and then Paris is due Tues - Sat and then we fly home together Feb. 9th. Time is going a lot faster than I thought it would! I really need to get busy and get some things done before it's time to go home.

I miss everyone and again, Thank you to everyone for all that you've done.
Love ya.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Reno:The Biggest Little City in the World

I wish I could figure out a way to post my photos from my digital camera to my laptop so I could share them with you here before I got home. Maybe Shanna or Dave or Paris could help me when they get here in the the next few weeks.

Today is Friday and I go in for my last infusion of Salicinium for the week. It takes about 3 hours to infuse and the infusion room and experience here is so different than in the Kaiser Chemo Suite. I've always heard of people talking about Chemo Buddies and how they all sit in a circle and chat and laugh while infusing in their Chemo Suites at other medical institutions but at Kaiser, because of patient confidentiality, we aren't allowed to have Chemo Buddies or guests, even family members, sit with us. All of the chairs and beds are lined up in a single file, facing out the windows. Nobody really talks or chats, except to the staff who are hooking and unhooking them. In the infusion room here, the big comfy chairs are all 3 walls of a big room, facing each other. The TVs hang from the ceiling in the middle of the room. Everyone (including my mother in law who is welcome to sit back there with me) is laughing and talking and even singing and playing instruments! One 56 yr. old woman (google Laura Allan) brought in her guitar and a thumb piano and played some songs she had written and recorded. One was called "Right as Rain" and I think it came out of her experience with cancer and it totally spoke to everyone sitting in that room. It was amazing to see this 100# little frail thing with a big voice who days earlier looked like she was at death's door. She handed out some of her cds to some of us who have been infusing during the same time as she had. She sounds alot like Sheryl Crow. It was a very moving experience. Brought tears to our eyes! Even the doctors and the staff had come in to listen and then we all applauded. It was truly amazing to be a part of that.

We are starting to settle in and get a routine going. Starting to sleep better and get up earlier every day. We usually have breakfast and have some reading/computer time and tea while breakfast settles and then we go work out for about 20 minutes (high altitude kicking my bootie!) in the hotels workout room. We shower and head to the clinic for my 3 hour infusion. Annie usually leaves me there and goes down the street to Wild Oats/Whole Foods and gets us lunch. Yesterday I met with the homeopath again at 5pm and she spent 2 hours with us! Going over different tests I should have done and how often. She set me up with a whole schedule. We talked about diet and nutrition. She is so informative and I could listen to her talk for hours.

After my appt. we stopped at Barnes and Nobel and picked up a book she reccommended. We didn't get back to the hotel until 730ish and then answered phone calls (our phones ring off the hook in the evening!) prepared dinner and didn't eat until about 9! We sat around the dinner table talking for the next 2 hours and then didn't get to bed until around 12am.

Dave's dad, Jerry, is driving up to get Annie earlier than expected because there is a big storm rolling in that is expected to hit really hard on Sunday. Here in Reno it's the strangest thing, it snows every night! Not during the day though. I guess once that storm hits on Sunday, more and more storms are expected to roll through with no end in sight. So hopefully that won't mess with anyone's travel schedules. My friend Shanna was going to come into town Thurs - Tues, but may try and change it to Tues - Fri and then Dave and the kids might fly in Fri - Sun. since Kaelin is off of school on Friday (Spencer will miss). And then Paris is due in Tues - Sat and we fly home together. Time is going so fast! I'm going to blink and it's going to be over. I guess staying busy and occupied helps. I just wish I had more down time to really get some things done. Like my Christmas and Thank you cards! I have so many people to thank. It's getting harder and harder to keep track.

So for those of you out there reading my blog, thank you. Thank you for all that you have done. For the support. The love. The friendship. The emails, blog posts, friendship, phone calls, meals and carpooling for my family, donations, travel and hotel accomodations, cards, etc. etc. etc. I am so grateful and thankful for everything and each and every one of you. You all make all the difference in this fight. It's empowering having a whole army behind you. We can do anything together right? Let's win this one.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Checking in from Snowy Reno

Well, I thought that I'd have all of this down time to read and blog and do my Christmas cards, but the truth is, we haven't had any time at all to just sit, chill and relax! So I'm sorry for my tardiness with an update. My head has been spinning with information and I don't even know where to start. I'm still trying to process it all. Thank goodness I have Annie here to take notes and explain things to me over and over again. I'm going to blame my memory lapse on chemo brain!

Dave and I arrived Sunday and couldn't check into our hotel room until 4pm, so we had the hotel hold our luggage and we wandered around Reno checking out the local movie theater (just a couple blocks away, within walking distance) and ate lunch at a little bar and grill. The casinos are way too smokey, so we've avoided those. But they are everywhere!

They got us into our one bedroom for the night. Dave's mom was so sweet and had flowers and a little bear wating for me. Dave and I, tired from pretravel prep and our travels, hunkered down for a nap while we waited for his dad Jerry and stepmom Annie to arrive (driving up from Sea Ranch, California). After our nap we walked to Hollywood Video and rented the Bourne Identity triology. We came back to the hotel and began to watch it. Jerry and Annie arrived and settled in and then Annie made us a nice dinner and then we watched movies.

Monday Jerry left to drive back to Cali and Dave, Annie and I went to our first appt. with Dr. Forsythe at 12pm. They were behind schedule so it took awhile to get in to see him. It took him awhile to read through all of my records. He was very pleasant and likeable. He suggested taking the German test, which is a blood test that they send to Germany to get results. It takes about 2 weeks to get the results. They test the DNA of your metastatic cells that are harvested from your blood and they test the cells against different chemos to find what they are least resistant to and find which kinds of chemo would work best against them . It's supposed to be the most comprehensive test. He talked about effective therapies such as PolyMVA (alpha lipolic acid and palladium (precious metal) which takes a ride on the free radicals and uses them as transport to the cells. They can target and eliminate cancer cells without hurting the healthy ones. Cellular nutrient that interrupts the transformation of healthy cells to malignant ones) and a Salicinium (addresses all of the inflamatory properties) drip with DMSO and high vitamin C. The DMSO is the carrier for the Salicinium and makes the cancer cells more permeable. He explained how cancer cells thrive on simple sugars, acid environments, low oxygen environments and how in their krebs cycle they go down an anaerobic pathway and regular cells don't. He explained that cancer cells are low energery and produce 5% of the energy normal cells produce. He also talked about how he used to be a pathologist and he suggested that the ovaries could have produced a krukenbrueg tumor, because ovaries can produce any kind of tissue in the body. He did an exam where he felt my belly and my nodes and said my belly feels excellent. He showed me how to look for a left scalene node above the clavical on the left side. That's a place ovarian cancer would metasticize to.

I was then sent into the infusion room where they hooked me up via my port to a Salicinium drip for about 3 hours. This is something I will do every day for 3 weeks Monday- Friday and then take it orally over the weekend. The one side effect it definately has is that it makes me smell of DMSO, which is a kind of Garlicky, Oniony smell. It seeps out of my pores. The whole clinic actually smelled like it when we walked in, but now I can't tell. It makes my breath smell bad too.

After the infusion, we went to Wild Oats (which is being changed over to Whole Foods as we speak) and stocked up on groceries. While we were gone, the hotel moved our stuff from the one bedroom to the two bedroom. What a great setup. It doesn't really feel like a hotel so much as an apartment. It has a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, kitchen with blender, toaster, stove/oven, fridge and all of the kitchen utensils. It has 2 bedrooms with separate bathrooms and a living and dining area. It's quite spacious. They don't have maid service unless you schedule it (as you can wash your own towels etc). The pool is closed because it's outdoors and the hot tub is outdoors too, so we won't be using those. But we did use the little work out room that has a universal gym, treadmill and another cardio machine that is popular right now but I can't think of the name.

We cooked dinner and watched another Bourne movie and then went to bed before getting up again and starting over! I went in to get infused for 3 hours and then I had a 5pm appt. with the homeopathic doctor. She went through all of my supplements and set me up with a schedule and pared down on what I was already taking. I walked in with two huge gallon bags of supplements (set up by my naturapath at home). She told me all of them were excellent choices, but that I didn't need to take some of them right now, especially the antioxidants because they don't want them attacking the free radicals during this treatment because they use the free radicals to transport the stuff to the cancer cells quickly. She also has me on PHenmominal, something that you add to your water that you will drink to alkalize your body. Most water has a ph of 7, phenominal has a stable ph that when mixed with regular water has a ph of 11. The doctor told me that I should try and bring my ph up to 7.42. She gave me homework before I left and asked me to write down 10 "I want..." goals for my physical self. And that when your brain talks to your body, it needs to be simple and and direct, like speaking to a 5 yr old. We ran out of time before we finished, so I am scheduled to meet with her again on Thursday. Annie had to take Dave to the airport in the middle of my appointment so they left and Annie came back to get me afterwards.

It was 730pm before we got back to the hotel,worked out and then we had dinner and rented "Finding Neverland" from the front desk for $3.00. We went to bed and slept in until about 930am and then got up and did it all over again today! After infusing, we stopped at Barnes and Nobels and picked up a few books and then Walgreens for some humidifiers because the air is so dry in Reno and our hotel room (no humidity). We came home and made dinner and tonight we sat around and read, and talked and blogged. It's now almost midnight and I've got to get in bed. I'm trying to get to bed earlier, but I guess it's not working very well for me yet!

So hopefully that catches everyone up with what's going on with me. I'll try and be better about getting on here more regularly so my posts aren't so long.

Thanks again to my army and Catlin family.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reno Here We Come!

How cool is it that I'm sitting in the airport with my Starbucks (thanks for the Birthday gift Jo!)blogging and taking care of last minute details regarding my kids and their schedules??? Waiting for my plane to take me to Reno in about an hour. Dave's sitting next to me, checking his emails on his laptop. We are quite the pair. Once again, thank you to Tami, Weyerhauser and the Crusaders Car Club for the donated laptop. I'm putting it to good use already!

What a hassle though to get through the x-ray machines with a laptop in addition to everything else I'm trying to take/carry. There's a whole blog post in my head about my packing and my x-ray experience and hopefully I can sit down tonight and write it. I need to thank my mom and Paris for their help packing and Dave for his patience. And thank you to Paris for the ride to the airport too. No one should have to get up so early on a Sunday!

I said my goodbyes to my friends, family, kids and my Simba. I'm going to miss them all. It's a very strange and scary thing leaving for 3 weeks. I know everyone else will watch out for them and take good care of them. Thank you in advance to those of you organizing my kids and accommodating their schedules, etc. I'm going to miss my bed and home too. Idid make sure to pack my favorite blanket though! (It keeps my bald head warm at night!)

Thank you to everyone for the bday wishes, gifts, cards, calls, emails, love and support. I've been spoiled rotton to the core and I feel so special and loved. It makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing by going to Reno to try alternative treatments. It fills me back up with hope, something I've been running low on lately. So thank you for that.

My love to all.
Wish me luck!!

Shauna (getting ready to board!)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

i'm leaving on a jet plane....

I'm off to Reno tomorrow for 3 weeks! Returning Feb. 9th if all goes as planned. I will keep everyone updated via my donated laptop and blog.

I have so many people to thank for so many things. I am just speechless at the kindness and generosity of the community. Stunned and flabbergasted. It's astonishing what they have all done for me. I don't have time now to go into it (I haven't started packing and it's 10:41pm!!! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek) but I promise I will get back to my blogging from Reno (I hope I'll feel up to it and I won't be too busy with the clinic stuff!). I can never thank you all enough.

And thank you for all of the birthday wishes, gifts and shout outs on your blogs (Paris, Laura and Nic! links are listed on the right of my blog) What fun to read through the memories and flashbacks and kind words. I feel so special and loved. Thank you! People have been spoiling me all week with gifts and cards and it's been so fun!!!

I have a good feeling about 2008. Everyone cross your fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes and heart for me! I'm hoping Reno ( has some answers, hope and healing in store for me.

I will miss you all and will keep you appraised of my progress via my blog. Feel free to email me too at


Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Drive By Posting....

I've been crazy busy this week trying to get ready to go out of town for 3 weeks! So I am sorry that I haven't been keeping up with my blog. I sat down tonight to post and I am at a loss for words!!! I guess my creativity is all dried up! So i'm just going to do post a little update.

Dave: the Southridge Girls Varsity Basketball team won their second league game tonight and Dave's off watching game tape with the other coaches (it's 12am). He's going to be leaving for Reno with me on Sunday morning and returning Tuesday night. My mom will be holding down the fort while we're both gone.

Shauna: I've been busy going out to coffee/tea and lunch this week, and squeezing errands inbetween! Amanda interviewed me for an article she's writing for the OHSU Ethics Center Newsletter and a photographer came over today to take photos of my kids and I (bald head and all!). Another woman in my support group passed away on Wednesday. :(

Spencer: Spencer quit his classic soccer team after 3 years. He wants to quit violin and start electric guitar too. Not sure if I should be worried or not, or if it's a stage he's going thru (he'll be 13 on May 21st).

Kaelin: Is busy again as she's gone back to gymnastics and dance practice, stretching, conditioning, working on her left hand coordination and learning the routines. Has now decided it's ok to let people sign her cast directly. The cast really hasn't slowed her down all that much. And her spirits are good.

Thank you to everyone for their emails, cards, donations and offers to help while I'm away! I have a laptop now (thanks to Weyerhauser/Crusaders Car Club!) and hope to keep everyone up to date via my blog while I'm in Reno. I'm not sure how much access/time I'll have for emailing though. Feel free to contact my husband Dave at

I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Shanna in California!!!!

Here's a photo of Shanna, Laura and myself during the summer of 2006 after my surgery etc. Shanna flew in from Cali to show her support! She flew up again in October for the Cropping Out Cancer fundraiser that Laura organized. She stayed at my house the first time she came to Oregon years ago and I stayed at her house during a visit to Southern Cal. She even suprised us while at Disneyland by picking us up from the airport and driving us to our hotel and then coming to play with us in Downtown Disney with her family one night. And I can't forget that she organized for us to be VIP guests at the Hyperion theater at California Adventure to see the Aladdin show. She's been an amazing friend and hasn't let the long distance affect our friendship at all. She's always been there for me and I love her dearly. So I wanted to wish her a very happy birthday full of love and laughter! Thanks for being my friend!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Reno Here We Come!

Reno is back on. Dave and I are leaving a week from today, on my 42nd birthday, Sunday, January 20th! I have an appointment with Dr. Forsythe at 12pm on Tuesday the 21st. I think Dave will head back home Tuesday night so he can hold the fort down and then my step-mother-in-law Annie (from Sea Ranch, California) will come hang out with me for awhile. I think Paris is planning on coming down and seeing me home on Feb. 9th. It will be strange being away from my family for 3 weeks. I'm sure they will have lots of people looking out for them! Thank you in advance!

My mother-in-law Lynda has arranged a 2 bedroom suite with a kitchen etc. through her vacation club, World Mark/TrendWest, and has covered the expenses with her vacation points. Our air travel is in the works and between our friend Amanda and my friend Tami, we have that dept. covered too. Thank you to all of you who have donated time, money, miles and hotel points to help in this adventure! We sure appreciate it!

This is a photo of my friend Amanda with me and the hat she gave me at my hat shower! It was so cute and Christmassy! Amanda is a very, very special lady (who loves green by the way and wants to steal my green/black striped hat for herself! LOL) whose daughter, Hannah, is in my son Spencer's 7th grade class. After my surgery after I was diagnosed, Amanda brought us fabulous dinners from Elephants Deli several times and had Spencer over for a playdate! I'll never forget when he came home from his playdate with Hannah, carrying a long skinny green water balloon that they had named "Mr. Pickles." He even wanted to preserve it, so he put it in the freezer and froze it! That didn't turn out so well for Mr. Pickles. They had a fabulous time that day and I was so grateful to her for making Spencer feel special.

Amanda also got me hooked up with OHSU (Oregon Health/Science University) and being a patient teacher for the class "Living with Life Threatening Illnesses/Diseases" in which I was paired up with a medical student, Kyle, and was his "teacher". What a fabulous experience. Some of you may remember attending the fundraising brunch they had at the Govenor Hotel in which they showed the video/film that I was interviewed in. Amanda organized and filled up two tables of special family and friends in my honor and I was awarded some volunteer award and it was so nice to have these special people there cheering me on. I am participating in the class again and meet with my new medical student, Jenny, this Tuesday!

Thanks for the airlines tickets and the hat and the friendship Amanda!

I Hope You Dance

Another one for Spencer and Kaelin and all of you out there...

Artist: Lee Ann Womack
Album: I Hope You Dance
Title: I Hope You Dance

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance,
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope you dance...I hope you dance.

(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

Dance....I hope you dance.I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance..(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)


Friday, January 11, 2008

Sometimes Life Isn't a Fairy Tale...When happily ever after doesn't happen

This is something I wrote in the fall of 2006 after getting diagnosed. I wanted to add it to my blog, so I hope you enjoy reading it a second time, if you've already read it once before. It was also published as the Parent Perspective in the Catlin Gabel Dialog.

Cancer sucks. There's no doubt about it. There isn't any way to say it nicely. Or even easily. The words don't roll off my tongue voluntarily. I have to force them out. Each time I say it, I can hardly believe it. It's hard to accept. I have cancer. It's true. Thinking or feeling otherwise doesn't change it. It's still there. No matter how hard I try and forget. I have cancer. Those three words have changed everything.

It's my new normal. If you can call it that. I can't change it. I can't control it. I can't make it all better. I can't pretend it didn't happen. I can't make it go away. I can't explain it away. I can't justify it. It just is. I just have to accept it and deal with it and live on the best I can. For my family and my children. I have to make the most of it, learn from it, become a better person because of it, and fight like heck so i can be there for my two children as they grow up and experience what life has to offer. I don't want to miss a single moment. I want to be there when they get their first girlfriend/boyfriend; graduate from high school, go off to college, get their first jobs. When they get married and have kids. I want to see them win Olympic gold medals. And I want to be a grandmother. I want to live to be 90 and die of natural causes. Not cancer. Cancer sucks.

I also want them to grow up with a mother who loves and knows them like only a mother can. I can tell by just a look if they are coming down with something. If they are sad, or happy. I know them like I know my own heart. They are my heart. Everyone needs a mom, even when they are 40 years old like myself. I want them to feel my love and draw strength from it; to know I will always be there for them, in good times and bad. I want to nurture them, love them, care for them, protect them and inspire them to be great human beings. And I want to be there to see how they turn out. It's what I look forward to most. But it's possible I might not be there to see it. Because...I have stage IV cancer. And cancer sucks.

There is no cure. Only hope that they will find one someday soon. Hope that I will win this fight and be in remission. Hope that I will live to see my children blossom into teenagers and adults.

So it's very important that I scrapbook and journal my memories for them today. I want to leave a piece of myself for them in photos and writings so, if and when I'm gone, they can look and read through their scrapbooks and journals and know how much I love them, whether I am here on this earth or not. I want them to know how I feel, what I think, and how very proud I am of them. I never want them to forget me and my love.

Cancer sucks. But life doesn't. Cancer actually affected my life positively, if you can believe that. Had I not been diagnosed with cancer on June 10th, 2006, I would not have known the strength and love of my community. I can honestly say that my family and I have a whole army supporting us. Bringing us dinners; cleaning our house; calling; sending emails, cards, letters; organizing playdates; carpooling my kids and I (I can't drive during chemo weeks) to our various activiities; sending gifts; giving pedicures and massages; scheduling movie nights; donating plants for the "healing garden" in our backyard; and countless other things. We appreciate it so much, and are so very thankful, grateful and lucky. It's like I got cancer and won the lottery all in one day.

Through this experience I've learned a great deal. I've definately learned how to become a better friend and member of the community from the examples that are being shown to us. I've learned to not sweat the small stuff. It's not important. I've learned to be thankful and happy for each day. To make and take time for the important things. To give more hugs and kisses. To tell everyone I love them on a daily basis. To talk on the phone more. To go on playdates with my friends. To slow down and enjoy the ride. To be more tolerant, patient and forgiving.

I've also learned how strong I am and can be. It hasn't been easy, that's for sure. Our world was turned upside down in a day. Without warning. But I survived the summer, and I'm doing well, and tolerating the chemo, and everyone tells me how great I look. I believe it has to do with all of the positive thoughts, wishes, prayers that have come my way via the community. It gives me hope. I tuck them all into a little pocket of my heart and draw strength from them. I must have done something right in this lifetime to deserve the love and support I'm receiving. I am so thankful for it.

I do have difficulty accepting help, but I'm learning how to do that, too. People want to help. They want to do something, to feel like they are making a difference. They care and want to show it. It's hard for me, an independent woman who is used to giving, to receive. But I'm working on it. It's making me a better person and, in turn, it's making my children better people too. Everyone around me is affected positively. It's quite extraordinary.

I've been journaling a lot since this all happened. It's so important to get the words down. I'm also keeping a journal for each child in which I write to them nightly/daily and they have the opportunity to respond to me in their journal - or not. This is difficult for them to go through, and giving them a safe place to record their thoughts and feelings or ask questions of me is very important. We've tried so hard not to have this disrupt their lives, but how can it not? Sometimes they respond, sometimes they don't. But they do look forward to reading their journals every day. I usually do my journaling at night before bed and leave the books for them to read at the breakfast table. Sometimes I journal about how well they did in their respective soccer games or on their homework. Sometimes I get heavier and talk about my chemo. I find that children open up more in their journals and find it an easier way to communicate. It provides a safe place for them to speak.

If and when my time comes, now or much later, I know that my children will have words and pictures to remember me by. Memories to hold on to and pull out and touch and read when they miss me or need some reassurance. They will know how much I love/loved them. They will hear my words and hopefully keep a connection with me to see them through difficult times. They can read through their journals and laugh and cry over the stories and adventures of the past, and draw strength from this mother's love. I always end my journal entry with "p.s. i love you." That love will live on in these books, whether I'm here or not.

So as you can see, I'm not "living happy every after" like the fairytale I had planned in my head, but I am "living" and I'm "happy." It's hard. Don't get me wrong. Cancer sucks. But like in the fairytales, you've gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you get to your happy ending. Cancer is just one of my "frogs." My life is now a "fractured fairytale."



Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Bucket List

1. Write and publish a book. (Hopefully one that will then get made into a movie!)
2. See my kids graduate from High School.
3. See my kids graduate from College.
4. See my kids get married.
5. Become a grandmother.
6. Renew my wedding vows.
7. Put together treasure boxes of significant gifts and cards with handwritten notes for big milestones/occasions for my children to have in case I'm not here to celebrate them in person.
8. Put together scrapbooks of myself for each child.
9. Take my family to Disney World and ride Splash Moutain and Thunder Mountain Railroad more than the 8 times we rode it at Disneyland!
10. Finish stripping the wall paper from my bathroom and bedroom walls (a project I started about 9 years ago and never finished!) and redecorate/paint it the way I've always envisioned it.
11. Get all of my papers/affairs/arrangements in order now while I am still able.
12. Go through the boxes and piles in my house/garage and simplify our lives!
13. Landscape our backyard.
14. Be the change I want to see in the world...
15. Redecorate Spencer's room so he doesn't have a little car and truck border at age 12 going around the top of his walls!
16. See my kid/s play college sport/s (if they so choose!)
17. See Spencer get his first girlfriend.
18. See my kids become teenagers and all that goes with that.
19. Grow old with my husband.
20. Take Kaelin to see Cirque du Soliel

To be continued....

Have you heard of this movie yet? "The Bucket List." It's based on a book and it stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and it's about a list of things to do before you "kick the bucket". In other words, things you want to see/do/accomplish before you die.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Starting to compile my own list. There aren't a lot of things that I can tangibly do/see/accomplish and check off my list without "time". Time plays a key factor in my list. And most things I've been thinking about involve my kids and big bench marks in their lives as they grow older and experience life. So I'm having trouble putting together a list that I can run through and actually do/see/accomplish and check things off. I'm not sure how much time I actually have. It's a scary thought. But one I have to face.

When I was diagnosed in June 2006, I only had one regret at the time. I regretted that I didn't force Kaelin go to Nationals in gymnastics when she qualified and made the Regional team in spring 2006. It was in West Virginia and I wanted to go so badly. But she wanted nothing to do with it. She was scared and nervous and only 6. It was too much for her. So I listened to her, and we gave up her spot on the Regional team thinking that she's only 6 and there will be many more years she'll make it to Nationals. I couldn't wait to experience that! And then I got diagnosed and all heck broke loose. All that I could think of was that I wasn't going to ever get to see her compete at Nationals. That I missed our chance to experience that together. That was my only real glaring regret that ate at me in terms of missed opportunities that I should have taken at the time.

But then the next spring came around and she made the team and she wanted to go and it was in Boston and a couple of her buddies also made the team. I almost didn't get to go because I was diagnosed with pnumonia less than a week before! I was even on a chemo break. Kaelin didn't want to go without me. I got well enough in a few days to go and we went and had the best experience! We had so much fun exploring Boston with our friends and the big group that went from our gym. And she ended up 9th place all around at Nationals in her age group in Level 5.

You can see the photos here:

Do all of you out there have a "Bucket List" started? What are you waiting for? xoxox Shauna

p.s. This is a photo of Kaelin and I with our new hats we got today! We went to the mall to spend our gift cards we got for Christmas and while there, we looked in every single store for hats! We found these in Macy's and they were marked down to $12 each! Kaelin wanted a matching hat, so we both got one! Aren't we cute? This style hat is totally working for me right now. It's got enough height and it's low enough around the ears to hide my head. So I don't look "bald", just stylish! LOL

Notice Kaelin's cast. She won't let anyone sign it, but they can put a piece of masking tape on it with their signatures! LOL

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thank you Teri, Tami, Weyerhauser & Crusaders Car Club!

Look what arrived at my door this week! My friend and locker partner from 8th grade, Tami (Wilkerson) Dunning called me last week to tell me that after reading in my blog about how I was going to have to try and borrow my husbands laptop for my Reno trip, made some calls. In turn, those people made some calls, and so on down the line. What then happened was that Weyerhauser, who can't make donations to an individual, but can to a non-profit, donated an old lap top to a car club called Crusaders (in Washington), who then in turn donated it to me so I could have it for my long chemo days, my days spent in bed after chemo and for my Reno trip! Can you believe it????? I can't!!!!!!! I was just flabbergasted at the generosity of people's time and resources. Just as I am floored by all that everyone has done for me the last 1.5 years of battling this disease. I have to tell you that my belief in the goodness of mankind has been restored and then some. It is unbelievable the support I have been shown, by people I know and don't know. By the most suprising and unlikely places. I am in awe of all of these people and the good that they do. They are role models for us all and I admire them so much. Thank you for enriching and touching my life so positively and making the last 1. 5 years much better than I could have ever dreamed. I am really happy and in a good place most of the time, regardless of what is going on with the nasty C word, and that is in large part due to you all and the support you have shown me in every which way imaginable. From every hug, email, blogpost, hat, letter, card, phone call, gift, donation, laptop, I love you spoken, prayer said, etc. Every little thing matters, so thank you from the bottom most reaches of my heart.

The lap top thing happened at such a bizarre time. The week before I got the phone call from Tami, my "Making Life Count" Women with Stage IV Metastatic Cancer support group (aka The Death Squad") was just talking about this very thing. It's so weird how stuff like that happens. We were talking about 3 ladies that had gone on Hospice and who didn't have access to a computer anymore (we have an email group to trade info, updates, etc) because they were bedridden. Someone suggested getting some laptops donated that we could in turn loan out to the ladies on hospice and then labeling them etc. to make sure they got back to us and erased etc. when they were done with them. Someone had mentioned that companies (such as Intel) can't donate to individuals, but can to nonprofits. So we thought that the moderators of our group, Cancer Care Resources, could be given the laptops as donations. I had thought it was a good idea and made a note in my head to ask Paris' hubby, who works at Intel, about it. Then I promptly forgot (common thing with me the last 1.5 years). 5 days later, before going into my chemo, I get a call from Tami about that very thing! Isn't that weird? I feel kind of guilty being the one blessed with a laptop, when these other women are in need of one more than I though.

So if anyone out there knows anyone or a company that is upgrading their laptops and getting rid of their old ones, email me at or make a call to someone, who makes a call to someone, who then makes a call to someone and then Cancer Care Resources get about 3-4 used laptops in the mail for the women that go on hospice in my Metastatic Cancer support group to use. That would really ROCK. Not to mention, make a lot of very ill ladies very happy. I love to see them happy because we've been seeing way too much sadness lately. I would be eternally grateful. As would they. Thank you.

Now I need to thank my friend Teri Cutts for this great hat! It's an unexpected and very appreciated Christmas gift! I can't tell you how many compliments I've gotten on it the last two days! And people wanting to know if I made it (I should just lie and say "yes" LOL). And people not even noticing my bald head because they are so distracted by the hat!!! Love that! And look how great it goes with my brown sweater that my mom gave me for Christmas!

Cut to funny story about not noticing my bald head.... while at the Sprint store getting my phone switched to Dave's old one (I dropped my other one way too many times), the sales clerk wanted to know if I wanted a Blue Tooth or something. I commented that "with my luck, it would probably give me brain cancer!" Dave laughs and we share a look and then the guy, clueless to my baldness (thanks to my great hat), says "well, we're all gonna get cancer anyways". I just let that one go, but felt pretty good about flying under the cancer radar, regardless of my baldness.

Ok, cut back to Teri Cutts.

Teri and I know each other from our hobby of scrapbooking. It was probably about 8 years ago that we met at a Creative Writing (using those Zig scroll & brush, Calligraphy and fine/bold pen sets) class at a little, tiny scrapbook store that used to be in Beaverton, just off of Hwy. 217. I think it was called "It's a Wonderful Life" or something like that. We both had signed up for a beach weekend trip full of scrapbooking, prizes, and eating and was put on by the ladies at the store. She came with her friends, and I came with mine, and we all hit it off.

I remember being in awe of her scrapbooking style, her creative pages and her sticker stash! She had every single sticker ever made I think! I remember her being in awe of my patterned paper stash (helps to work for a big scrapbook paper maufacturer). I think we inspired each other! We both started frequenting a newly opened scrapbook store and going to big all night crops on a regular basis. We became fast friends and went on several Scrapbook Adventures together, like the first Creating Keepsakes University (big weekend of scrapbook classes and cropping) ever in Provo, Utah and CKU Anaheim. Boy did our group, The Cowabunga Croppers, clean up at CKU Anaheim. We were a finalist and asked to perform our theme song, "Everyone's Gone Scrappin, Scrappin CKU" at the big tailgate party. We won the door contest with our treasure map, Delux Die Cuts, pirate themed door decor and 3 of us from the same hotel room/group , won in the page contests (Teri, Nic Howard from NZ and myself!).

Once in awhile we still get together to shop, bake (remember the caramel/chocolate apples and pretzels at Paris?) or scrapbook at Teri's cabin (with Paris and Kimberly Llorens) in Black Butte (Southern Oregon). Or we meet for lunch or coffee. Not nearly enough though. Very far and few inbetween. And usually they are going or meeting without me because of my busy schedule. But I cherish those times we have spent together and look forward to more. And I usually see Teri more on the soccer field anyways (both of our daughters are playing soccer in the same league!). It's always nice to run into her.

What I will remember the most though, is that after my surgery, she sent me a card in the mail every single week, without fail. She always found the greatest cards too. This probably went on for at least a year. I can't tell you how much it meant to me and brightened my days. She has always been so generous and thoughtful and I love her so much! Thank you Teri!!!!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Kaelin's Winter Break

Well, there goes basketball season, indoor soccer season, acrobatics, rhythmic gymnastics competition season, PE and recess. How are we all going to survive a Kaelin who is unable to work off all of her energy? Imagine the Tasmanian Devil unable to spin and create chaos and destruction. Scary!!!!

Wish we had some great story on how she broke her 4th whatever bone in her hand. She didn't do it running and jumping. Or flipping and spinning. Or even playing sports for that matter. She did it messing around with her brother Spencer, blocking his jabbing fingers into her belly on Sunday.

When it happened, she was more dramatic than usual and got pretty emotional. She's a tough cookie, so if she's in tears, you know she's hurt. But it passed quickly and and she could move her fingers. So we thought she was ok. She had told us she heard something crack though. And then the next morning when she awoke, her hand was pretty darn swollen. We sent her to school and I called the doc and couldn't get her in until today (Tuesday). She was favoring it a bit (so unlike Kaelin) and wincing doing simple tasks. Took her to her pediatrician today and had it xrayed. Got referred to the urgent care at the Orthopedic clinic. They put her in a cast for about 4 weeks.

Spencer feels pretty bad about it. But they are both to blame. Kaelin had her pick of colors for her cast, and she had it narrowed down to the dark blue or neon green. She saw a man getting a dark blue one on his hand and she liked what she saw. I think I would have picked pink myself. I'm not a pink girl, but for some reason, have felt myself drawn to it lately.

When Kaelin found out it was broken, her reaction was "oh poop". She told the doctor she had a goal of never breaking any bones. And while in the car on our way to the orthopedist, as she's pondering getting a cast, she bursts out "how will I eat?" LOL Her mood perked up when she realized that we will miss the last two qualifying meets for Rhythmic Gymnastics (she loves to train, hates to compete and be judged). They are Feb. 3 and Feb. 9. I'm really bummed because I was really looking forward to watching her compete and she's been looking really really good lately. Now she won't be qualified to compete at State, to make Regionals to then compete at Nationals. Who knows how she would have faired at any of them, but now we won't get the opportunity.

It's a good thing I'm not in Reno right now, with the weather and the broken hand thing. But now it will be easier for those left behind when I go, since they will have 4 places less to drive to, taking hoops, soccer, gym and dance out of the picture! Although, Dave's first reaction was that now they can work on strengthening her left hand (dribbling, shooting, etc)!

She's not in a lot of pain. She has a high pain tolerance and she's a little giddy over the excitement of it all. She's in good spirits and is looking forward to showing off her arm accessory tomorrow at school. And like I said, the idea of not doing those two meets relieves her stage fright.

Why do these things always happen in January of a new year though? Spencer broke his arm in two places in January of 4th grade. Of course they can't happen in December, when we've already met our medical deductable and it won't come out of our pocket. It's always something isn't it? You'd think we've had our fair share of the medical bills to last a lifetime! Oh well, this will just help us meet our deductable sooner rather than later! Guess that's how the cookie crumbles, or the hand breaks!


ps. I'm kinda excited about the prospect of scrapbooking broken arm photos! I can do a page of both Spencer and Kaelin LOL

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Wish

for Spencer and Kaelin and for all of you out there....


"My Wish"

I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,
But more than anything, more than anything,

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
And you always give more than you take.
But more than anything, yeah, and more than anything,

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

This is my wish
I hope you know somebody loves you

May all your dreams stay big


ps. photo by Jim Dukes! September 2007

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I see the light....

Cycle 2, round 2 of carbo taxol not so much fun. I'm finally starting to feel like I'm making the turn. This time I slept the whole time. I think it was harder on me in a different way though. Last round I couldn't sleep and was awake to feel every discomfort. This time I was wiped out. And I'm not recovering as quickly. Didn't get that burst of energy I had before when I made the turn. The kids and I did declutter/organize the game/movie bookcase in the family room today and that about did me in. I also helped with dinner and we watched National Treasure on DVD. But I'm still feeling queasy and my insides are not um..."stable." LOL And I'm nursing a sore throat. Oh, and my shiney bald head (with fuzz hair growing back?????) is covered in some rash. Lovely. Not only am I bald, I'm bald and red and bumpy. You think I could catch a break eh?

I'm still planning to take off to Reno, but want to recover and not rush this time. I want to feel prepared. I have all of my medical records in hand (thanks Paris!) and I have some paperwork and loose ends to tie up and some more arrangements to make. I guess it's a good thing we didn't go when we were supposed to because of that big winter storm that blew up the coast and put Reno under water!

I was hoping to go into work tomorrow, but I think I may need another day or two to get my feet under me. They say your immune system is the weakest at day 7. Today is day 7. We'll see how I feel when I get up to take the kids to school.

I've been feeling blue all week. A dear dear lady in my Stage 4 Women with Metastatice Cancer (aka "The Death Squad" - more on that later) passed away this week. I didn't know her well, but man, she lit up the room like a chandeleir. She was so kind, sweet, loving, positive and supportive. You sought out her presence. It felt good to stand in her light. It made you feel all warm and fuzzy. I can't believe she's gone. I really can't. I can't imagine going to group on Wednesday and her not being there. I just saw her. And she looked well. She sounded well. She was happy. She had just gone to a holiday concert with some other ladies from group and was all inspired and even told us how after hearing the beautiful music they stood up and yelled "I'm cured." She was laughing and giggling as she told the story. It just doesn't seem possible or real. My heart just breaks for her family and close friends. If I feel about her the way that I do, imagine how those who really knew and loved her are feeling...the loss and emptiness that has replaced that light in their life. Although I can bet you that she's the brightest star up in the sky tonight.

And then there is the matter of 3 other ladies from group that have recently gone on hospice. One is still coming to group, one is hanging in there with the help of pain meds and the third isn't expected to last but a few days. Her two daughters are scrambling around trying to plan her service and seeking donations to cover it before it happens. If anyone is interested in helping her daughters with a small monetary donation, email me and I will send you their snail mail address where you can send a check to help cover cremation expenses. They firgured they needed to raise about $1,000. Thank you for holding all of these women and families in your hearts. I can't imagine how much it must hurt for them, as I am hurting and I am so far removed from the big picture.

Give kisses, hugs and hold your loved ones close. Tell them you love them. Be patient with them. Enjoy them. Do what you love and love what you do. Time and love are so precious and in the big scheme of things, they are the only things that really matter. Nothing else is or should be as important. Life is so unpredictable and can be cut much shorter than expected. You never know. Live your life with no regrets. Start now. Today. No regrets.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Heather!

Cycle 2, day 1 of carbo-taxol (warning TMI to follow) brings emotional turmoil, diarreah and stomach cramping. And insomnia (it's the steroids they give you as pre-meds. Barry Bonds ain't got nothing on me!)

Our New Year's Eve: Spencer and Kaelin's Japanese teacher picked them up tonight and took them to a Japanese New Year party while Dave and I were at my all day chemo appointment and then rented all 3 of the "Ocean's" movies and watched only the 1st one so far. Dave picked Kaelin up around 10pm and Spencer stayed the night (I think he's secretly hoping to defend his title in the traditional pancake eating contest). Kaelin passed around these glasses she made at school and we stayed up and took photos (my photo was just too too scary to share) as we watched the Ball Drop and counted down with Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve.

Here's a photo of my balding head. More and more seems to get lost each day. And boy is this weather cold on this girls naked head! I find hat's itchy or that they affect my hearing if they have ear flaps and affect my peripheral vision if they have brims. And they definately affect my look. I'm definately looking like a cancer patient now, for the first time really. It's very odd. But I love my assortment and continue to alternate wearing them. My photog just hasn't been around lately to take my photo. Or vice versa.
Meet Heather, my wig. It was donated to me. It's not real hair but it's hair I don't have anymore. The color is a little darker than mine, but it looked the best on me. It's straight out of a tiny box, so it's very messy and wild and well, stuffed-in-a-box looking. I guess I need to wash it and set it on a wig stand (which i need to go down the street and buy. It's that simple, you'd think I could handle this!). The ladies at my hat shower, and many people (friends and family) donated money for me to buy a wig for myself. I think, if you all don't mind, I am going to put that towards my trip to reno when the time comes. I just am hoping that I dont' need the use of a wig that long and I can't justify spending that money on a real hair wig yet, even though that is it's purpose. I thank you dearly and am so very very appreciative of your kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity. Wow. And who knows. I might change my mind as time goes on. Bald isn't all it's cracked up to be. But it sure is easy to get ready in the morning! I bet I have you all beat shower to dress and out the door in 15' tops! Maybe you all should shave your heads and buy wigs!!!! I know a couple of great wig shops! ;) And I have lots of friends named Tiffany and Alyssa and Courtney etc! Think of the fun we could all have! And we could mix and match (as long as none of you with hair has lice! LOL) What do ya say? Are you with me????? Chickens!

I hope your New Year is filled with good fortune. I've been told by several people that 2008 is a lucky year. First of all, in numerology the numbers in 2008 add up to a "10" or something like that, and that means good luck. And in the Chinese calendar, it's the year of the mouse. The mouse is supposed to be good luck. I was told to get a mousetrap and break it in half tonight! I think I may just do that tomorrow! I can use a little luck!!! But not in the friend and family department. I won the lotto on that one - I'm the luckiest girl in the world! I love you all!

Shauna and Team Immel

ps. forgot to say that my locker partner and friend since 8th grade, Tami, got wherehouser (how do you spell that correctly???) to donate a lap top to me thru a non-profit company for my trip to Reno! Woo hoo! I know that my women with Metastatic Cancer Support Group (known as "the Death Squad, but that's a whole nother story and post) were just talking about this very type of thing for our group to have and loan to the women going onto hospice and being bedridden in their comfy hospital beds! Maybe we can look more into this and I'll try and get more info from my awesome friend Tami! I just was a little overwhelmed today with decisions as the chemo nurses kept coming over and asking if I was ready or if I had made my decision yet to have it or not. I did a lot of arguing with myself today trying to come up with the best case scenario, and with cancer, there really isn't one.