Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

Kaelin's soccer tourney started Friday morning at 930am. It's the first time they have played 11 vs 11 and they didn't have all of their players and not enough subs for the heat. They ended up losing 0-7. Saturday they had two games, 930am and 5pm. I think it was still about 101 degrees at 5pm when they played. They lost their 930am game 0-6. They were still missing players and only had 1 sub for that 2nd game. The third game they had all of their players except for one and they started to figure out the whole 11 vs 11 thing and they won 3 - 1. Kaelin sat out quite a bit with an ankle that had been bothering her for all 3 games. After the game on Sat. her and I went with some other team parents/players and had dinner at the Cornelius Roadhouse/Imbrie Hall while Dave took Spencer to his martial arts studio movie night. The Red Magic played and won Sunday at 11am but Kaelin sat out and ended up going up to Seattle with my dad and Spencer for her cousin Ella's 3rd Birthday party at 830am. They won't be back until Tuesday! Anyways, the team ended up getting 5th place, but they really learned alot and improved and made some great team strides. Kaelin played midfield most of the time, which she usually plays one of the wings.

The kids and I went and saw "Wall*e" on Friday. It was a very cute movie with a good message. The short animated cartoon (Pixar) beforehand was almost as good as the movie!
Saturday my friend Laura had a scrapbook garage sale in her scraproom and she let Paris and I participate. Only 6 people came, but I still made about $78! We have a ton of stuff leftover, so we're probably going to have another one. I'm trying to get my stuff cleared out so I can reclaim my living room.
Sunday my friend Laura picked me up and we went to Kate's memorial service. She was the receptionist from Hot Off the Press, whom I worked with for the past 9 years. It was a beautiful service and I loved hearing her life story and learning more about her and her life/family and listening to all of the fun stories shared. I cried like a baby though. I will miss her so much and HOTP will never be the same. It's just so hard to believe I'll never see her again. And it was so unexpected.
While we were there, I gave Scott his baby gift. His daughter Clara is 3 months old now. He's a rocker and he always goes around saying "dude" so I found some "peace" baby booties and made him a "rockabye baby" card. The peace sign on the bag is what is on the shoes, minus the scalloped edge.

Now Dave and I are home alone and we're going out to dinner and a movie! I think we've pretty much seen everything, so we're going to see "Wanted" with Angelina Jolie. I'll let you know how we like it.

This weekend was entirely too hot for me. It got up to 105 degrees yesterday. I can't handle the heat anymore. I just wanted to melt. Today it was mid 80's and now there are thunderstorms. IT's kind of muggy. This temp is more my speed. Thank goodness we got the air conditioning fixed in my car!!!

I hope to get my living room/scrap room all put back together and organized and my house cleaned up while my kids are gone. I've got 2 days to go crazy! I hope to accomplish alot. We'll see! This week we're off all sports - dance, gym and soccer. So no driving around. That will be nice. I think I meet with my doc about a new plan on Wed. and my dog and daughter are both getting groomed ! lol

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!
Stay cool!!!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday: Pretty in Pink

I took this photo at Gramma's Pumpkin Patch back in October of 2007. Isn't he the cutest? He looks like "Babe"! I thought this was an appropriate photo for this week, since my friend Soocal, titled her last blog post "oink" and I've been feeling kind of "piggy" lately myself!

I have to admit, it was so nice to not do my full chemo infusion this week. I felt a little punky today, but compared to usual...I'll take it! I don't miss that chemo at all. I think I was due for a break anyways and I really needed a week off. I was getting very worried about the side effects from the Folfox chemo anyways - especially the naropathy (numbness in hands and feet). It was really starting to mess with my quality of life. So I'll be interested in hearing what my doc has to say next week. Can you believe next week is July??? OMG!!!

We'll be spending a lot of our time at a soccer tourney Friday - Sunday. It's supposed to be 96 degrees this weekend too, so I'm a little worried about the heat for both Kaelin's and my sake. We have games 930am and 330 or 5pm Friday, and 930am and 330 or 5pm Saturday and then 930/11am or 1230pm on Sunday depending on how the team does. They are playing 11 v 11 which they haven't really done before. They are used to playing 8 v 8. And the fields are much bigger. That's what happens when you play up a couple of ages, the fields get bigger and you need more players!

Spencer is spending the night at his Grannies for the next few nights and then he's going to a movie night at his martial arts studio with the boys across the street. They are going to show "Transformers" and he's excited. He's then going to ride up with my dad on Sunday up to Seattle for my neice Ella's 3rd Bday party. Kaelin will probably ride up on Sunday night with my mom, after she gets off work.

We'll probably fit in a movie this weekend too, I think Wall*e is coming out tomorrow. And my friend Laura is having a scrapbook garage sale on Saturday. I've been spending a lot of time going through all of my papercrafting supplies, putting together stuff to sell and will be dropping it off there tomorrow. Paris too. So if anyone wants to go, email me and I'll give you the details/info.

Oh, and Sunday is Kate's (the HOTP receptionist) memorial service/funeral at 2pm, so hopefully Kaelin's team will play in the finals at 930am and I'll be able to go to the service.

We spent this week at soccer and gymnastics workouts, going to the dog park, the library and playing squirt gun and water balloon fights out in the cul de sac with the neighborhood boys, along with riding bikes. Every other question out of my kids mouths these days is "can i go outside?" They are really enjoying their summer, but boy is it going fast! I should have gone outside today and took photos of them in action. duh!

We're really enjoying "So You Think YOu Can Dance" every Wed. and Thursday. The choreographers and dancers are just amazing! As are the costumes and makeup they do! The judges can get quite annoying, but the dancing is entertaining! What a great family show, especially if you have a dancer/acrobat in the household!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I'll post soccer photos sometime over the course of the weekend! I hope you're not tired of them yet! Go Red Magic!!!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Chemo was a Bust and more cards

After napping today, I made a couple of more cards. I had 3 other great ideas, but only got to 2. The Faithful one is my favorite, but not sure it's going to count for this contest. They had to be in by midnight. I posted it around 11:30pm Oregon time. Guess they meant Utah time???? I spent too much time figuring out my source list. I should have posted and then added the source list later. Live and learn I guess. I'm bummed! But at least I have a really cute card! Check them out!

Faithful Friend Card

You Rock! Card

Today I went in for chemo, did my blood work (CA125 blood marker due back in 2-3 days), met with another doctor (Dr. Trubowitch), since my doc was on vacation or doing rounds at the hospital. The doctor said I look good and asked me some questions. She thought by the sounds of it, that this type of chemo may be responding. The Oxcillaplattin. The one with the brutal side effects (cold trigger, naropathy in hands and feet (numbness and tingling). She also brought up the genetics thing. She thinks it would be a good idea for my family (mom, kids, and brother & niece) to be genetically tested to see if we carry the Braca gene, which is prone to breast/ovarian cancer. It wouldn't do me much good now, but it could be proactive for my family members, especially my kids and niece.

My white blood cell count was up but my iron was a little low, as well as something else i can't remember. But I was given the "a -okay" to go ahead. So I infused with the Avastin first. And then the Oxcillaplattin. After about 30', I began to itch all over. And then I felt buzzing and tingling and tightness and throbbing in my head and ears. I then started to turn red and blotchy all over and I called the nurse over and asked her if what I got was what I usually get because I was experiencing things I had never experienced. She looked at me, noticed my really red ears and shut off the pump right away. Apparrently I was having an allergic reaction. One thing I've learned during this is that I am allergic to Benedryl. So they had to give me something else to counteract the allergic reaction. They hooked me up to the blood pressure machine and I was a little higher. They also hooked me up to an oxygen monitor and I was at 100%, but I was having trouble swallowing and I was panicing and freaking out on the inside, but shockingly stayed extremely calm during this whole thing. I just focused on reading, drinking my water and breathing. Pretty proud of myself for staying calm! The chemo phramacist came out and the chemo nurse went and talked to the doctor about how to proceed. They told me this is common, that patients develop an allergy to the chemo drugs. That your body can take so much and then it says "no more". She said it usually happens around round 6. This was round 3 for me. But I did 11 rounds of this stuff from Aug 2006 - Feb 2007. So it has accummalated in my system, making the side effects etc. worse now. I'm kind of relieved we stopped it, because I'm pretty concerned about the naropathy (numbness and tingling in hands and feet), especially in my feet. I'd rather have them feel dead like they were, instead of the buzzing. The buzzing hurts. And I dont' want to have it affect my hands. I need my fingers for card making!

Anyways, I had to sit there for quite awhile so they could monitor me. They sent me home with some allergy meds (not Benydryl) and no pump (with 5FU to infuse at home for 3 days). I'm trying to get in to see my doc asap so we can come up with another care plan. I don't want to wait too long because time/schedule is of the essence. I'm a little worried. It's a mixed blessing. Looks like I'll feel ok by Fri - Sun so I can go to Kaelin's soccer game, get ready for Laura's scrapbook sale and go to Kate's (late receptionist at HOTP) Memorial service/funeral. I'm sure there's some movie coming out to see too. And hopefully I'll be making/creating more stuff this week! I'm having fun! (But staying up too late).

Hope your Mondays rocked your world!!!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

I uploaded two cards!!!!

check them out!!!

For My Best Friend in the Whole World

You're a Super Friend

But now it's 12:53am and I stayed up too late!

I'm going to make a few more cards tomorrow!

Fun, fun fun! I'm inspired!


Weekend Wrap Up

We had a quiet weekend, with no activities planned. Dave and Kaelin went and watched the Southridge girls play hoops in Canby. I met my friend Laura for lunch at Noah's Bagels and then I ran some errands, running around to Michaels and the scrapbook store, looking for some specific things to make some cards with. I visited a lady from my cancer support group in the hospital and then I took Simba to the dog park. Here's a recent photo of him. Isn't he the cutest? He's getting a haircut on July 2nd. He won't be so cute anymore. He's the happiest dog in the whole wide world!!!
We grilled Raspberry Chipolte chicken kabobs and then went to see "Get Smart" on Saturday night. It was cute. Not an award winner, but entertaining. When we got home I made a couple of cards for two sets of new parents. When I pass them off, I'll share here. I don't want to spoil the suprise.

Sunday I went to New Seasons for their strawberry tasting (bought a flat of Hood Strawberies!) and then I came home and went to work cleaning my house like a mad woman. I almost got it all done, along with going through my scrapbook/cardmaking stuff and getting it ready for a scrapbook sale at Laura's house next Saturday. I just don't have room for all of my (s)crap stuff now that my mom lives in our spare bedroom/office/stuido. I'm sick of the (s)crap stuff taking over my living room. I need room!!!

Tonight after dinner, Kaelin went out and played on her pogo stick. Her record today is 72 bounces! She's just like her mom, because I used to do the same thing, count my bounces and I was a champion pogo stick bouncer! Along with hula hooper!

Here's a photo where you can see her shirt. On the front it says: "Why drive?"
and on the back: "When you can fly." Or in her case, bounce!
Tonight I'm going to work on some cards now that dinner is done. We used the leftover chicken skewers from last night and made chicken nachos! Can you believe my kids don't like nachos? How weird are they? We also had a fiesta type salad: romaine, corn, chicken, red peppers, green onions, cheese.
Kaelin just came into the house in tears. If she's crying, you know she's hurt. She wiped out on her bike. So now I have her in the bath, soaking her scrapes and bruises. She won't cry for anything, so if she's crying, it's usually for a very good reason. She fell on her kneecap and said she couldn't bend her knee, so I hope she's ok cause she has a soccer tourney Fri - Sunday. She can't be too bad, cause she's asking when and if she can go back outside and play with her brother and the 3 boys across the street (who aren't very nice to her at all!).
I'm off to create. Enjoy your Sunday!
ps. tomorrow, 9am doc appt. followed by chemo. :(

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Dancer's Dream

I will not settle for less than greatness
I have the ability to move people
I am thankful for my gift
My heart screams for me to dance
I am motivated by challenges
My potential is huge and I will realize it all
I will achieve greatness in my life
I will not settle for second best...

That was the recital theme.

Kaelin's dance recital was last night. "The big dance" they have been working all year for. Now that it's over, she can now officially retire her spider costume.

She had a whole cheering section (we were all in the last row of the 1st balcony!) there to watch her. Her Grampa Chuck and Ginger (who left before we could get a photo), her "Grannie Seattle" (my mom, Cheryl), her "Grannie Gadget" (Dave's mom, Lynda), her 2nd and 3rd grade teachers (who happen to be married and who also left before we could get a photo) and myself. Also seated in our same row was her soccer coache's wife, Stacy (who was there to watch her niece) and their son, Aaron. It was so funny that everyone that we knew and who I wanted to run into, ended up sitting all in the same row, even though we all bought tickets separately and didn't arrange for it! How synchronistic is that??? That's happening a lot to me lately.

Anyways, the recital was really good. The performing company is just amazing. It's so professional. It's quite a show. The first half of the show before intermission, is alot of the youngest kids though because they want them to go early because the show runs late. The show really gets going after intermission when it's the older groups and the solos and stuff. Very impressive. We have to buy our tickets through Ticketmaster and it's at the Newmark Theater, a nice venue on Broadway Avenue in downtown Portland. Here's a photo of Dave's mom (on the left) and my mom with Kaelin. Notice that Kaelin changed out of her costume and into her basketball clothes as soon as her routine was over!

I got another parent to take a photo with me in it. Which I wish I wouldn't have, because look at how heavy I look. The steroids that they have me on with my chemo schedule haven't been kind to me, nor has all of the increased fluid in my abdomen. With the type of cancer I have, it's like a glaze of cells piling up on the insides of my abdomen and my omentum, the fatty layer over your abs. Plus the chemo destroys your lean muscle tissue. And being down every other week just really messes with a person. I'm trying to be compassionate with myself, but it's hard. I don't like it. I don't like how I look. I don't like how I feel. There's not a lot I can do about it. I'm embarrassed by what I see when I look in the mirror. All the scars and the fat and the short hair etc. I just don't look like me. I don't feel like me. But I'm in there, on the inside. I gotta remember that. It's what's inside that counts. So I'm working on the being compassionate to myself part. I would be compassionate to anyone else going through the same thing. So why not me????
Today I accompanied a friend, just diagnosed with breast cancer, to her oncology appointment. I was very happy to be able to be there for her. To help someone else going through a similar situation (even though every situation is different). To pay it forward. After the recital last night I threw this little notebook together and gave it to her today so she'd have something to take notes in while at the doctor's. It's just a moleskin notebook that I covered with patterned paper, some coordinating artwork, added ribbon and a breast cancer ribbon charm. I've been in a creative mood lately! But I'm keeping it quick and simple to make sure they get done!

Kaelin attended basketball camp this week, at Southridge High School, where her dad coaches. The girls on the team were the camp counselors. Two girls from her soccer team were also there, one of them the soccer coaches daughter, Summer. Kaelin and Summer were awarded "Campers of the Day" on Thursday. They got special "champion" SRHS tshirts as prizes.
This weekend is a quiet weekend for us, with nothing going on. Which is good before my chemo again on Monday. (didn't I just have chemo??? good gracious it comes quickly. One week off just isn't enough). We probably will go see "Get Smart" at the movies sometime this weekend. I also need to clean my house, change my sheets, etc. before going down for chemo next week. And I want to create stuff!! I'm so inspired right now. I don't know what to do with all of my ideas!
So I've rambled enough!
Enjoy your weekend! Party like rockstars!

Favorite Photo Friday

I decided that every Friday I am going to post one of my favorite photos and call it "Favorite Photo Friday." Here's a photo of my cousin Angie's daughter, Violet. It's taken at our annual Wilkinson/Crow Family Reunion held at Mudd Mountain Dam in August 07. She's a total "girlie girl" and she goes by the nickname "Chickie." I love how the slide in this photo frames her and how the green of the slide shades her. I love the expression on her face.

I'll post later about the recital and some photos I took of us.

Enjoy your Friday!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The (not so) Itsy Bitsy Spider

Yesterday was spent at Kaelin's dress rehearsal at the Newmark Theater. It ran late, so I missed my support group, but Kaelin and I enjoyed lunch at Baja Fresh and then hanging out at Borders Books for awhile before going home.
I had a very productive day as I attempted to go through all of the stuff that used to be in my spare bedroom/office/studio and has been pretty much sitting in my living room for the last 2 years, since the whole cancer thing started unexpectantly and my mom moved into the room when I spent two weeks in the hospital. Dave works from home, running several different businesses, so our formal dining room became our office and our formal (well, as formal as you get at Team Immel's house!) living room became our dining room and my scrapbook/papercraft/rubberstamp storage. I don't have enough shelves and cabinets for everything, so there are boxes and boxes and piles of stuff just waiting for a home. So I've been going through stuff, getting ready to downsize my craft supplies considerably and start freshy and maybe havea big scrapbook/papercraft supply garage sale!!! Maybe I can make some money to buy some more cabinets! LOL
In between going through stuff I worked on some projects and found some projects I had started and am anxious to get back to and finish.
I did make it to the grocery store and the dog park, but not to the hospital to visit my friend or the farmer's market. Maybe I can visit her today while Kaelin is at basketball camp and go to the market on Saturday morning.
The big dance recital is tonight! My dad and his partner Ginger, my mom, Dave's mom, myself and a couple of Kaelin's school teachers are going to watch her "crawl" onto stage and perform her Spider Dance. They don't allow flash photography due to the safety of the dancers, so I never have any performance shots to share. Just posed shots. They have a great sculpture chair in the foyer of the Newmark that we always pose on. They encourage you to climb/sit on it!
Just rambling today. Haven't been able to sleep since my chemo week, so I've pretty much been up at 5am since last Saturday, after going to bed after midnight each night. I've even resorted to sleeping pills this week and they don't seem to be working. I can't complain about the beautiful weather, but I like it dark to sleep. The sun shining at 5am doesn't help. I've been a little crabby, but overall, I'm handling the lack of sleep pretty well. Monday starts chemo again, so that could account for some crabbiness. There just never are enough days off in between. We have a quiet weekend, with nothing planned, so that will help.
Have a great Thursday everyone!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tag, You're It!

So, I've been tagged by my friend Ali

Five Things About Me

The rules:

1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?

5 Years ago, my kids were 4 & 8, so Spencer was in 2nd Grade at Fir Grove Elementary and I was taking Kaelin to preschool at Westside Dance and Gymnastics and then driving to Canby to work at Hot Off the Press while they were in school and over the weekends. I was also taking Spencer to Martial Arts, Soccer, Baseball and basketball. I was probably not getting a lot of sleep, staying up all hours and working in all of my spare time.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1) Take Kaelin to her dance rehearsal in makeup, hair and costume!
2) Go to the Grocery store and local farmer's market (after menu planning too)
3) Go to my Women with Stage 4 Cancer Support Group (if we get home from the rehearsal in time!) and visit one of the women in the hospital while I'm there.
4) Take Simba, aka "The Happiest Dog in the World", to the dog park.
5) Watch "So You Think You Can Dance" with my family

What are five snacks you enjoy?

1) Starbucks Coffee Frappiccinos (the kind in a bottle) over ice and with a straw.
2) Seattle's Best Coffee/Vanilla Javakulas with no whip
3) fresh fruit (pineapple, berries, cherries, you name it!) and veggies
4) smoothies
5) fresh juices (wish i could find an organic juice place around here for juice on the go like in Reno!!)
I'm not really a "snacky" person. I like my snacks in liquid form!

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

1) Donate/give back to the community (Catlin Gabel, Westside Dance & Gymnastics, Westside soccer, My Smiling Violin, SRHS, OHSU) and numerous/various charities supporting cancer research and children, education and the good for all mankind!
2) Buy a couple of earth friendly, "green", hybrid cars
3) Take my family and friends on trips to places like DisneyWorld, Italy, Bora Bora, Australia and New Zealand, London, Paris, Sweden and other places we've only read/heard about!
4) Go back to school and take animation, computer graphics, photography, illustrator & advertising classes and start my own business that caters to the cancer community, giving a percentage of my earnings to cancer research.
5) Travel all over the nation/world to seek the top alternative and conventional cancer specialists/institutions/treatments

What are five of your bad habits?

1) Coffee drinks
2) Insomnia and staying up too late
3) Not flossing my teeth
4) Nagging
5) Impatience & perfectionism

What are five places where you have lived? (I'm answering with 5 states!)
1) Sunnydale, Bakersfield (Kindergarten), Huntington Beach (Through 2nd grade), Canoga Park (through 3rd grade), Los Angeles (college @ UCLA), & Santa Monica (post grad), California
2) Waimanalo and Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii (6th & 7th Grades)
3) Kent, Magnolia & Lynnwood, Washington (Born in Washington, lived there from 8th grade on)
4) Ballina, NSW, Australia (post grad, Dave played pro basketball overseas)
5) Beaverton, Oregon (in our first and only house since October 1995)

What are five jobs you’ve had?

1) Waitress at Red Robin in Southcenter, WA & Beaverton, OR
2) Cafe Manager at "The Potlatch" in the Graduate School of Management at UCLA
3) Physical Therapy Assistant for about 4 years or so in Bellevue & Seattle, WA and Beaverton, OR and live-in caretaker for a quadraplegic man for 3 years in Magnolia, Washington while going to grad school at Seattle Pacific University.
4) Cafe/Front Desk Manager at The Hoop, a basketball athletic club (and the reason we moved to Oregon) in Beaverton, Oregon
5) In House Designer for Hot Off the Press in Canby, Oregon since August 1999

Five people I tag:

1) Jo
2) Laura
3) Paris
4) Soochal
5) Nic (sorry Nic, I don't have anyone else left who's blog I read! Or rather, who reads mine! I know you're still trying to deal with the hometown tag thing!! )

And anyone else that wants to play along! Tag, you're it!!!!

Today we have Kaelin's dance recital rehearsal at The Newmark Theater and then tomorrow night is recital!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Bunch of Hot Air

After being down for the week from chemo (especially Thurs. & Fri.), I seemed to feel better than I had last round and woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday so I decided to drive out to the Tigard Balloon Festival and watch the Hot Air Balloons launch. It's like my body was telling me to get up and go. That I needed to go.

Two years ago, the weekend before undergoing surgery and finding out I had Stage 4 Cancer, Kaelin and I got up early one morning before Spencer's soccer tourney at the Tigard Balloon Festival, and we watched the hot air balloons launch. At an uncertain and scary time, it gave me hope and made me feel alive. So this year, my internal clock woke me up each morning and I headed out to watch them launch both Sat. and Sun. at 5:30am before Kaelin's soccer tourney. It was and is a very "uplifting" experience. Here's a photo of Saturday, when the weather was clear and the sky blue. I missed the initial launch, but caught a few balloons floating off into the distance.

I headed home, coffee in hand for my hubby, and we packed up and went back to the Balloon Festival for a 9am soccer game. Here's a photo of Kaelin in one of her 3 games on Saturday. I felt nauseous all weekend, but I felt well enough to watch her games and I was thankful for that. We went home inbetween each game so I could nap!

Kaelin (9 yrs, going into 4th grade) plays up a year on her soccer team with a few other 9 yr. olds and the rest 10 years olds (going into 5th grade next year). Their whole team played up in the U12 (12 and under) division. Here's a photo to show you how much difference in size and development some of these girls they are playing against are!!!

After Saturday was done, they had won 2 and lost 1, putting them into the playoffs for Sunday, in the top/Gold brackets. Here's a photo of "The Happiest Dog in the World", aka Simba. I took him to the dog park after the tourney on Saturday. He just needed to get out and run and play after us being gone a lot during the day.
Here are some photos of the balloon festival on Sunday. Again, my internal clock woke me up at 5am and willed me to go. This time I saw the process from start to finish. Included are some of my favorite "arty" photos.
This was my favorite balloon!!!! The big blue cow with big eyes!

Here's a photo of them all launched on Sunday. There were parachuters out there too! The sky wasn't clear and blue like Saturday though.
Kaelin's team played 3 games on Sunday too. They won 2 and lost 1 they should have won. They played like rock stars though. It was some of their best play yet in my opinion! Alot of girls came into their own! Kaelin scored a few goals and missed a lot of goals (kicking them all OVER the goal!) but she played her little heart out and was a warrior. They ended up winning 3rd place overall in the tourney! Here's a photo of Kaelin after she received her medal.
Here's a photo of the team (minius a few girls) after getting their "hardware".
It was a tiring weekend and I ponied up and got through it. Just so happy to be there and watch.
I've finally turned the corner and I'm feeling more like myself, getting a lot done and having fun. Monday night my family and I went to see "The Incredible Hulk". It was pretty fun (PG13 and a little violent for lilttle ones though!) and we are so excited for the obvious "Avengers" they are setting up with the "Ironman" connection!!!!
Thanks for listening to all of my "hot air".

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm still alive and kicking...

Had a tough week last week, but felt good enough to spend all weekend at a soccer tourney this weekend. I had to upload a bunch of photos to my pc, so I promise to post a catch up post and photos tomorrow. I've only got 6 days before I go down with chemo again, so I'm a busy bee trying to get caught up from last week and get ahead for next week. Bear with me! I miss you all!!!!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Officially a 2 Year Cancer Survivor as of Today

I told you today was a "special day", well, not exactly "special" but "monumental". It's my 2 year anniversary from the day I went into the ER with abdominal pain and they did an US and CT scan and found a large tumor on my ovary. It actually was a large tumor on both ovaries and a whole lot more than that once they opened me up to diagnose and treat me. It seems so long ago, but also just like yesterday. Here is a recap of my journey:

1 Year Cancer Recap

2 Year Cancer Recap:

Nov. 2007: CA125 has risen to 96. Normal is 30ish. Dr. Leimert decides to go back to chemo.

Dec. 2007: Start Carbo/Taxol chemo geared toward ovarian cancer. Bone scan and mammogram come back normal.

A favorite blogpost: The Wiggin Out story!!! (Appointment to try on wigs)

Dec. 12, 2007: Paris and my mom host a Hat Shower for me.
Here's my favorite Hat of Hope Story.

Dec. 23, 2007: Pulled a Britney Spears and shaved my head.

Dec. 31, 2007: Round 2 Carbo/Taxol chemo and first wig (donated). Check out my balding head!

Jan. 9, 2008: Tami Dunning, Weyerhause and Cruzaders Car Club donate laptop.

Jan. 20, 2008: Turned 42 years old!

Jan. 21 - Feb. 9, 2008: Alternative Therapy in Reno, Nevada (Thank you to the families that donated airfare for myself and family and those that kept me company and took care of me in REno! Thank you for the Catlin community for donating money towards the trip and treatments!)

Jan. 26, 2008: My best friends since Jr. High, Janelle (Brebner) Reber and Loni (Geiseking) Syltebo, along with Todd Reber, host a "Pass the Hat" and Casino Night fundraiser, inviting Kentwood high school friends.

Feb. 1, 2008: Wedding Vows renewed in Reno, Nevada

Feb. 9, 2008: Return from Reno to find my bedroom totally redecorated by the love and hard work of my friends, their family and the Catlin community.

March 3, 2008: My oncologist retires. I meet with Dr. Lycette. My CA125 is 93.

March 9, 2008: Southridge Skyhawks Varsity Girls Basketball team and my husband win their 4th State Championship IN A ROW!

March 10, 2008: CT scan results: spot on omentum has grown. Suspicious spots on spleen and increased fluid. Time to restart chemo.

March 17, 2008: Carbo minus the Taxol chemo resumes.

March 28, 2008: Hair begins to grow back

March 31, 2008: Normal Brain MRI

April 1, 2008: My daughter turned 9!

April 14, 2008: Carbo minus Taxol Chemo

April 2008: CA125 = 112

May 6, 2008: Carboplatten minus Taxol chemo

May 13, 2008: CA125 = 143 (normal is 30ish)

May 20, 2008: CT Scan results : Increase fluid. Spots on omentum stable. Bladder wall has improved. But CA125 increased, so Dr. Lycette wants to switch back to aggressive chemo geared toward Colon/GI cancers - Folfox/Avastin.

May 21, 2008: My son turned 13 and I have a teenager!

May 28, 2008: Round 1 (2nd cycle) of Folfox/Avastin Chemo

May 30, 2008: Featured on Write ARound Portland website and published in Anthology.

June 9, 2008: Round 2 of Folfox/Avastin Chemo

June 10, 2008: 2 Year Anniversary of Cancer

Two things that really inspire me:

Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch Graduation Speech

Thank you to everyone for their love and support in all various forms over the last 2 years. It seems like forever ago, but still it feels like just yesterday. I feel like I've been "stuck in moment" for the past 2 years. Unable to go back, or to move forward and on with my life. With cancer, time doesn't necessarily heal all wounds. Here's to many many more years.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Chemo and Creativity

So darnit (?!) my bloodcounts were good and I was a "go" to get chemo today. I spent from 9am - 230pm at the chemo suite today, giving my blood and "infusing" and then they hooked me up to a portable pump ("Fillup"). I'll go in on Wednesday to get "DCed" (disconnected). So far, so good.

The first few days of chemo aren't so bad, except the being tied to a portable pump and the time spent infusing. You even get a little chemo high rush from all of the pre-meds and "roids" (steroids).

So I like to take advantage of those highs. On my way home from chemo I stopped at Hollywood Video and rented the last CD of the last season of 24 because for some reason, my husband and I never saw the season finale. And we LOVE this show. I also rented the first CD of the 1st season of Sex and the City because several people told me "you have to go see this movie". And I've never seen an episode. I figure I can watch it on the portable DVD player or my Ipod while I'm at chemo for 6 hours every other week. That ought to catch me up quick ya think? But geez, was that show really on for at least 6 seasons? That's a lot of catching up. Maybe if I just get the gist of the characters.

I also stopped at the post office to mail several things. A birthday card and little gift to my friend Amanda (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY 6/9!), a gift to someone special (It's a suprise!) from Simba. A copy of the Write Around Portland anthology (in which my poem was published) to my motherinlaw in California, some more Christmas cards/letters (if you haven't gotten yours, it's possible I don't have your updated address!!! Email me!), a congrats card for my sister in law who made "Phi Beta Kappa (is that the honor society one?) at Mill's College (you rock Ali!) and a card to let my friend Teri know I'm thinking about her after the loss of her husband. I've learned from a lot of you (and especially Teri Cutts and Chris Taub) about how meaningful it is to send a card every week or so to let people going through hard times know you're thinking abou them.

Once I got home, I organized and prepped dinner: Maple Marinated Roasted wild Alaskan Salmon (Paris' recipe!), baked potatoes with organic sour cream and chives, organic steamed asparagus and spinach salad with strawberries and sautayed almonds, organic of course. The reason I tell you this is that this is impressive for me. I never have the time or energy or oranizational and time management skills to cook like this. And everyone is never home at the same time during dinner time. Well, dinner for us will be around 830ish but at least we're together. And schools out for summer!

While dinner was baking/steaming/sautaying, I made and finished my cards for Jessie and Kaelin's 2nd and 3rd grade teachers, who happened to be married! I made them a quick card to send dance recital tickets to them! It's for her "Spider Dance". This will be the first time I post anything creative, besides writing, which I have done on my blog. Look out! Don't get too excited, I literally threw these together while dinner was in. So don't expect masterpieces that will ooh and aaah you! It was easy to use the Hot Off the Press Finished in a Flash kits (Halloween) and Use Em For Anything (Citrus papers and Monograms), because everything was there in one place and coordinated. I used Paper Zone cards/envies, which I love and want to marry. Check me out!!!

From my weekend list, I pretty much got everything done except cleaning our downstairs bathroom and changing the sheets on my bed. Dave will help with the sheets and who knows about the bathroom. Maybe I can get Spencer to do it for money. He's really motivated right now. He's been doing the laundry for me the last few days. $1 a load to wash, dry and fold. He doesn't get an allowance, but he gets certain amounts for certain jobs. He has a list he can choose from. He also has jobs he has to do daily/weekly that he doesn't get paid for. Not sure if this is the smartest parenting or not, but we do the best we can. Read about this somewhere along the way.

Well, I've talked your ear off. Tomorrow is a special day. Well, not sure special is the word. Monumental is more like it. I'll share tomorrow...



ps. it's NEVER too late to send a card to someone! If you want to support and participate in the card shower for a 13 year old cancer patient named Jessie, mail your card to:

P.O.Box 538
Monrovia, CA 91017

I can tell you from experience that getting cards, especially in the mail, means a lot to someone fighting cancer. It makes you feel less alone and it lets you know that people care. That there is hope. That you can do this. You can fight. You've got people in your corner. Behind you. Thinking of you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

So I finished my 2 page 8x8 layout for Kate's memorial scrapbook and I drove it into work on Friday. I stayed too long visiting and missed the ice cream sundae party in 3rd grade, so I don't have any photos of that. Here is a photo of the 3rd grade as they counted down from 100 to be released on the last day of school. Kaelin is the one plugging her ears and posing for the camera. That's my girl, always aware of the camera and eager to smile for me.

Now here are two attempts to take a photo of my 7th grader, now 8th grader, on his last day of school...

Needless to say, I give up.
After their last day of school we went to a matinee and saw "Kung Fu Panda." Really fun and cute movie!!!
We didn't have anything planned this weekend, so it was nice just playing it by ear. The kids went to my inlaws Sat. and Simba and I went out to Portland Community College at Rock Creek to watch Stan the Man's (from work) daughter play in a softball tourney. They live in Canby, so I figured this was my chance since they were in my neck of the woods. AFter the game Simba and I went to the doggie park.
The kids ended up staying the night at their grandparents. I made a card for someone and wrapped a gift to be mailed and then Dave and I went to the movies. I've seen everything out pretty much so we went and saw "Don't Mess with the Zohan" an Adam Sandler film. It got a "D" in the Entertainment Guide. LOL It was funny in parts but pretty ridiculous. The theater was packed though. AFter the movie we went and hung out at Border's Books. I read scrapbook and stamp magazines and Dave read Trading books. It was nice.
Sunday I cleaned out my fridge. I'm talking, take everything out, take the whole thing apart (this fridge is awesome and is so easy to take apart and wash!!! It's one of those Kenmore Elite with the French doors and the freezer on the bottom). I made a menu plan and grocery list and made leftovers for dinner. I also did about 5 loads of laundry. And started reading "The Big Turn Off" by Ellen Currey-Wilson. Simba and I picked up Paris and went to Starbucks for coffee and then to the dog park and we walked while Simba ran! Now Dave is watching the Lakers game after picking up the kids (I already miss the peace and quiet) and I'm off to the grocery store to stock up the sparkly clean fridge!
I still have to change the sheets on my bed and clean the bathrooms before I go down for chemo again tomorrow. Man, tomorrow has come so soon. Ugh. I also have to finish my Jessie B+ card and another card to send recital tix to Kaelin's teacher. It's already 730pm, so not sure how I will manage all of that, but I will give it the old college try.
There aren't any TV shows on really that we're watching this summer except "So You Think You Can Dance." Love that show. WE all do. It's amazing what those people can do!!! Kaelin can really appreciate it and she totally knows what they are talking about when they saw to do a Passe or SaShay or whatever! Our favorites so far are "Twitch" (I think he's a popper?) and Carrington (a soccer playing dancer!). I also am watching old episodes of "Smallville" to get caught up since I didn't start watching that show until the last few seasons. I sure miss "Buffy the Vampire Slayer!" ;) But I've been reading a lot of young adult vampire books, trying to fill the void. Looking forward to Stephanie Meyer's sequel to the Twilight series coming out Aug. 1st and then the movie, filmed here in Oregon.
Hope you all had a great weekend as well. School's out for summer. Let's see how long before I strangle my kids...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pet Day & Field Day

This was the last week of school, so lots of activities this week! And some of them not in the best weather! Tomorrow (Fri) is the last day of school! Kaelin's class is having an ice cream sundae party! Our job is to provide the chocolate and rainbow sprinkles! I think we're going to go see "Kung Fu Panda" tomorrow afternoon and then we have an open weekend for once. Nothing planned! It will be nice to have a weekend at home before nasty chemo again already on Monday.

Here's a photo of Kaelin and Simba at pet day on Wednesday. Simba got the award for "Most Lion Like Labradoodle." LOL Look at how clean he is! Dave gave him a bath just before the big event.

Now notice how dirty his mouth is already. Just a short while after being at the event. Something sure smelled good in the grass and mixed with all that doggy slobber and drool....makes for a dirty doggy beard!

Here's a photo of Kaelin with a classmates dog. We refer to these little dogs as "purse puppies". Kaelin has been begging and pleading for a "little dog I can carry around with me." Obviously she wouldn't carry one in a purse, as she wouldn't be caught dead with a purse. But you'd probably see it sticking out of her soccer bag! LOL You have to admit, she sure looks cute with a little furry accessory.
Today was field day. And it rained. And rained. And rained. It's too bad because what an event it was! The theme was "rodeo" and I tell ya, the school went all out! They had an enormous bounce house that had tunnels and slides and tents and you name it. It's the biggest and best one I've ever seen. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of it because it got shut down due to the rain. It wasn't safe. And Kaelin's group/rotation missed getting the opportunity to bounce once it started to rain. The stations set up went with the theme perfectly. There were cactus' everywhere. Haystacks. BAndanas. There was a lasso tossing station. A tent to color bandanas. Due to the rain, they had to cut all of the stations short, and open up the library for some of the kids to go in if they got too cold and wet and miserable. I arrived during the tug of war. Here's a photo of Kaelin pulling. It was boys against girls. The girls won! But we all know girls rock! (and well, they had Kaelin on their team! LOL)

They also had pony rides. Kaelin says to me "I've never ridden a horse". I tell her she has, she just doesn't remember because she was too young. There were a bunch of ponies and one big horse. She ended up with the horse of course! Check out the smile on this girl's face. Is that pure joy or what? I think I am in serious trouble. She gets off the horse, her eyes all glazed over and she says "That was fun. I want to do that again!"
I say to her "So now do you understand why all the girls in your class play horses and gallop at recess?" and she says "It's not like I'm obsessed with them or anything. I like horses like I like soccer." What is it about girls and horses? I went through this too. I was obsessed with horses/unicorns and pegus'. I even got my own horse in 8th grade. I don't think Kaelin knew that until I told her today.
Here's a photo of the relay race. You had to run and climb over the bales of hay and then run around a cone and run back and tag the next person. Kaelin didn't climb, she jumped/hurdled and sometimes did stradle jumps off of the bales of hay. Notice her bandana. At the drink station, everyone got to pick out a bandana. They had all colors to choose from. Kaelin wanted black, but the only colors left were pink, purple, or light blue. Everyone else wore theirs on their heads or necks. Kaelin had to be different and daring and wear hers like a bandit. She wore it like that all day. Even to soccer practice later on. LOL
The bandanas made for great photos! And this blue one goes great with her eyes! It's just too bad the rain put a damper on things.

This little bandit sure stole my heart.
I hope everyone has a great Friday. I'll share ice cream sundae photos tomorrow!!!
ps. thanks for all of the kind words re: Kate. Tomorrow I'm going to go into work and deliver a 2 page scrapbook layout for the memory book they are going to give her husband and son at the service in a few weeks. It's the first time I've done any kind of scrapbooking or papercrafting in months and months and months. It felt good. I also started my card for Jessie.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Goodbye My Friend

I've worked at Hot Off the Press for almost 9 years now (minus the disability). Kate, the receptionist, was the first person who greeted me in the morning and the last person to wish me a goodnight at the end of each day for the past 9 years. She was the first person who welcomed me in when I interviewed for the job. She was always the first one to greet me with a hug when I came for a visit for the last 2 years while battling cancer. Always with a smile and positive attitude. Always with some spunk. Always with big wide open warm mothering arms that wrapped all the way around you when she hugged. Always with stories to tell. Always glad to see me. It was never the same without her at that desk when she'd be away on vacation or sick, which she rarely was. I liked to sneak into the lunchroom while she was eating lunch, just to see what interesting lunches she created with her expert gardening talents. She loved to share too. Always bringing beautiful bounties from her well tended gardens for us all to marvel over and enjoy. Whenever I asked her how she was doing, she would always say "I can't complain." And I always responded with, "you never can!" And she never did. She did her job with a smile on her face and in her heart and she never complained about a thing. She was so calm, and I never saw her stressed. You felt at ease and relaxed in her presence. She was a grounding force amongst all of the chaos. And she will be missed. She passed away at work today from a massive heart attack at age 62. She leaves behind her a son (going to culinary school), a husband and an empty place in our hearts. Hot Off the Press will never be the same. There will never be another Kate.


ps. no one ever knows when their time will come. live each day to the fullest. say what you mean and mean what you say. don't leave anything unsaid. no regrets. live each day like it's your last.