Saturday, October 30, 2010

My First Haircut

Yesterday, on the six month annaversary of the second brain surgery, I decided to get my first hair cut and color. Prior to the appointment I had avoided any kind of heated hair tool, hair dyes, sissors or cutting tool of any fashion. My hair had been pure. longer!!!

I now have a fun color, and an actual hair style! Woo hoo!!! I wish I could say that I am not my hair, but the truth is that I have always been a hair girl. With my short brunette hair I had been feeling like Harry Potter, and needless to say, that's not a sexy feeling. Now, I'm starting to find my mojo!

These past six months have happened so fast, and yet I feel like I've been reborn, and gained a lifetime of wisdom. I wouldn't say that I'm wise, but I have definitely learned an unreal amount of lessons.

I still wouldn't change my life, I'm a better person because of this tumor. The challenges are still facing me, I'm still getting back on my feet. I'm still working incredibly hard to fight this diagnosis, but at the same time I'm able to enjoy the gifts in life. In fact, this past week I was able to start up with my women's soccer league. I'm so grateful that I can run, and I can play. My life is wonderful. Even though it's literally raining outside, I feel like I have sunshine from the inside warming me. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's just how I feel. Things aren't always perfect in my daily life, and sometimes I worry more than I should, but I'm ecstatic about my life. This little lemon (as my friend AJ calls it - which is awesome!) does not define me, instead, it has developed me. I'm a different person. Like a new and improved version of Jess - Jess 2.0.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Icing On The Cake

Here's the updated news regarding Nancy:
"Just spoke with the surgeon. She's all done! Preliminary results show it was as expected, a benign trigeminal schwannoma. He is confident he got it all. Will see her in about 30 min in the ICU. Best outcome possible. All the thoughts and prayers from around the world paid off! We can't thank you enough." (written on Tuesday)

Excellent news! I know that during my process, there was still some unexpected situations, and that things are never simple. If you don't mind, please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as her challenges are still at hand. 

On a lighter note, I'll receive the results from my neurological testing next week. You know, that series of testing that I took around the same time as my MRI? Anyway, I'm excited and nervous to check out the results. It's going to be incredibly helpful to see the areas that I need to strengthen (Or, who knows, maybe they'll start taking pictures of me and recording my chart as the biggest genius in all the land. You never know...). All in all I feel like I've baked the cake, and I just have to put icing on it. Things keep coming together, step by step. I can't believe that almost exactly 6 months ago I was in surgery for the resection. Here I was, a girl that had never even broken a bone or had any serious illness. I'd never birthed a child, or had to test my pain threshold. This has been a seriously wild ride. At times I didn't know if I was going to make it back. I'm grateful for all of the support of my friends, my family, and all of those out there that don't know me, but help lift me up. I couldn't be as successful without you. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

For Nancy

Tonight, I need everyone who reads this blog to send love, and prayers to my friend Nancy. She's about six months younger than me, and tomorrow she has a craniotomy scheduled. I didn't ask her for permission to mention her name in the blog, but since it's only a first name basis, I'm hoping she won't mind.

Please send her strength tomorrow. She's absolutely amazing. Sometimes a little bit of love from one person, turns into a lot of love from lots of people. I can't imagine anything better to think of tomorrow than sending Nancy my love. Please join me. I know how much the prayers and love helped me. Let's pass it on! Thank you.

First Full Day Of Work!

I had my first full day of work today, and it was AMAZING. I'm so grateful to be healthy! I can't believe how fortunate I am. I love working, it gives me a thrill, almost as satisfying as running. It has been incredibly hard to be continuously exhausted (still battling that one a bit), and unable to comprehend tasks. Luckily, I'm on the up and up. I'm confident that my mistakes will be minimal, and that there are many great years of work in my future! I'm grateful to have a roof over my head, and to have good health. Also, I'm ecstatic to have a job.

Danny and I were watching the news last night, and I was blown away by the stories of those who are being devastated by the economy. People are losing their homes, their retirement, they can't even afford food. Things are bad. I have a feeling that considering the percentage of those effected by the economy, there have to be friends who are hurting. Danny and I have definitely been effected by the economy, but luckily we've been able to lessen the blow by downsizing everything in our life. We do what we can, and at the same time we know that every moment is precious.

For the past several months I've been pretty oblivious about current events. I couldn't deal with the information, processing it and then comprehending it. Now, I'm starting to get it. In fact that works with a lot of things. It's been almost six months since my surgery and I'm finally getting to higher levels of thinking.

Now that I can grasp things better, I'm craving the ability to help others. I'm sick of only helping myself. Since the surgeries, I haven't been very good about big ideas, or formulating thoughts, but I'll bet there's an organization that I can support and contribute to, through volunteering. It's time to get involved in something outside of myself.

I'm not bed ridden. My wits are gathering. I'm strong. I have a lot to offer. Yet again, no matter what happens in life, I'm so grateful for every single moment. I truly am the luckiest girl in the world.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Life Is A Gift

I've been trying relax since the MRI, and to be honest it hasn't been easy. You'd think that I'd be jumping up for joy but that hasn't been the case.

It's hard to go from survival mode, to preparation for the worst case scenario, and then switch to happiness and good fortune. However, today, just a few moments ago, everything changed. I hadn't been on the internet for a few days and I went to and to see what's happening in Friday Harbor. An article on both websites talked about the passing of Nikki Fink, a girl that I went to high school with. She was two years younger, and her boyfriend, Adam, and I graduated together. I wasn't close with either of them, but it doesn't matter how close you are - when you grow up in Friday Harbor it's family. I'm incredibly saddened to hear of what she had been going through, and that she lost her battle. I encourage anyone who has the ability to donate to her fund, or send prayers and love to her family and friends, to please do so.

New Horizons Foundation
4570 Hilton Parkway
Suite 203
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

Note on the memo line: Nikki Fink Medical Fund

Courtesy of Ian at 
Although I haven't officially asked his permission :)

Yet again, I'm reminded that life is a gift, and I need to cherish every single moment.

Here's the article:

Here's the article:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Humbly Thank You

Thank you for all of the prayers, all of the positive thoughts, and all of the love. I am the luckiest girl in the world! I'm trying to get used to the thought of freedom for the next 90 days. What a great gift!

I slept for nine hours last night, and for the first time in months and months, I didn't wake up once throughout the night.

Finally, I can rest assured that the pain, heat and odd tingling is all part of the healing process. Yesterday, during the neuro-testing, I accidentally started crying, I was so relieved from the clean MRI.

I'm incredibly grateful for every moment of good health. To my friends and family - and the anonymous friends that I've never met, thank you for rooting for me! I want to do everything I can to be healthy and happy, and so far it's working. Thank you for all of the support and kindness, I couldn't be as successful without it.

I humbly thank you. Truly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No New Growth!

I'm exhausted. Monday, I conquered a battery of neuro-tests. Today, I woke at the crack of dawn, was poked and prodded for an IV, finished the MRI, and had the results of the scans. No new growth! Woo hoo!!! During the radiologist oncology appointment the doctor noticed multiple occasions of erratic twitching on the left side of my face. He said that it could be a small seizure. If the twitching doesn't go away in the next 10 days they want me to follow up with a EEG.

After the rad onc meeting, I had just enough time for lunch, and then back to testing for the rest of the day.

The stress of the past few weeks has been hard. I've been doing the old, foot in front of the other trick. Finally, I have 90 days of freedom.

It still hasn't completely sunk in that I'm clean and recovering nicely without any visible tumor growth. I'm going to need to decompress for a while.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Garden

Focusing on what makes me happy.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I find myself wondering around the house, going back and forth to the gym, and trying to entertain myself in the garden. I'm nervous, but trying to fight it. I can't even spend much time on the computer because I can't sit still. Nerves.

I guess this is how it's going to be. Every three months I'll go through the same cycle. Elation from a great MRI, feeling my freedom, working out and trying to maintain my health, then as the next MRI begins to loom over me, I'll start into a descent of nerves, battling all the while trying to stay sane. It could be worse, I could have a bad MRI. I feel I have a 50% chance of having a good MRI. I'm not going to be overly optimistic, or pessimistic. I feel like this tumor is like the ocean, you have to give it respect. It has a power of its own.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


A few weeks ago, Danny and I grabbed a few copies of files from my medical file at the UW. In the paperwork, the doctors stressed the high probability of seizures. In fact, seizures are typically the first symptom of my type of brain tumor. Reading about the seriousness of a possible seizure on paper was sobering. It's one thing to have a verbal warning, and it's a completely different thing to read it from your file.

In the documentation the radiation oncologist said, "She understands that if she is to suffer a seizure that she would be restarted on this medicine, or a similar one, and that she would likely be taking that for the rest of her life. Furthermore, she understands that in the event of seizure activity, she could not drive for six months afterward."

Since I had to take seizure medicine for weeks before and months after the surgery, I'm acutely aware of the side affects. In fact, at the time of this documentation, I was still on the anti-seizure medication. Here's more which I found kind of funny, "Her parents and significant other, who accompany her today, state that she's been more irritable than usual, and endorse that she acts as though she has a 'shorter fuse.' She states that she has not acted out against anybody, however generally feels that she has less patience and notes that she used the phrase "I want to kick a puppy," for the first time in her life a few weeks ago. She is uncertain what precipitated that statement, though generally she is concerned that she is 'not acting like herself.' "

So there you go. I remember taking that horrible medicine. It caused irritability, which isn't something that I normally have to deal with. I dread and fear the onset of seizures. Although the doctors said that since I haven't had any seizures, it is probably unlikely that I will have them. And though that is reassuring, I feel like there are no guarantees in life. I've seen enough surprises to knock me off my feet.

After reading that document a couple of weeks ago, I started subconsciously tapering off my running. I got scared. I don't want to lose my independence, or my positive attitude. Those are two things that I can't live without.

Luckily, with all things, I have a tendency to get scared and analyze the situation, and then I get back up on my feet. I ran twice before the run last Saturday, and I got back into the gym Monday, and Tuesday. Today, I'll do it again. It's the only thing that keeps me sane. I've even been working on my man push-ups. I've gotten up to 12 at a time. I'm hitting about 25 man push-ups a day. My goal is to 100 a day (it doesn't have to be all at once). It's a little thing that I can do when I'm stressed. I do them in the kitchen, in my office, even in the bathroom. I once bet my friends Matt and AJ that I could do 10 man push-ups in the middle of their going away party at Brouwers in Freemont. It's a real crowd pleaser.

Anyway, I get scared sometimes, but I'm not going to let my fears define me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Week

At this time exactly, next week, I'll be meeting with my radiation oncologist receiving the news of my MRI results. I'm anxious, and nervous, and excited, all at the same time. Good thing it's a running day. I need to blow off some steam!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Leavenworth Marathon Relay

This past weekend was our annual team relay, the Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon. First thing in the morning, our carpool of racers dropped off Michelle and I to pick up the packet, and get her to the starting point (she was the first leg of the race). Walking through the madness, I ran into Steve, the editor from the Wenatchee World who wrote a pretty amazing article about me (which I feel was too nice). It was wonderful to see him, and I gave him a huge hug. He instantly said, "Hey, have you met Ted's wife Lynda?" I shook her hand, and almost stopped breathing. I was so honored to meet her. It was a simple, quick greeting, and we were both on our way. That chance meeting set the tone for the entire race for me. 

Side note: Ted Finegold and a buddy started the Leavenworth Marathon and Wenatchee Marathon. He was also an attorney that worked with my girlfriends here in Wenatchee, and a close family friend of another of my girlfriends. He passed away this summer after losing his battle with cancer. Everyone I know from Wenatchee has at least one story about how amazing Ted was. Even though I wasn't lucky enough to have met him, I've definitely been inspired by him. Here's a wonderful article about Ted to know more about who he was.

Last year, during the relay, our group was a wild tornado of adrenaline and debauchery. I think costumes have a way of doing that to a person. This year, my life is completely different. As I was running the second leg of the race, looking around at the "Ted" shirts, was overwhelming. Before I knew it, I was crying as I ran. I couldn't help it.  

I was incredibly touched by a man who had impacted hundreds, even thousands of people. He was young, only 43. He had a family, two children, and an absolutely gorgeous wife (from what I hear she's beautiful in personality too). The t-shirts that my friends were wearing said, "I run for Ted," and as I saw another shirt along the trail, I thought, "You know what Ted, you don't know me, but I'm running for you too. And your wife. And your children." Then I started to cry again.

There are people who don't even know that they're impacting the lives of others. I've ran in six of Ted's races, and at the time, I had no idea who he was. I'll never forget how powerful life is, and how powerful his life was. I'm incredibly grateful for Ted's life. His story is an inspiration to me. 

After running my leg of the race, I was standing with a group of friends cheering on the runners. I happened to look over, and see Lynda walking away hand-in-hand with her child; it absolutely broke my heart. In fact, it made me start crying again. I wish there was no such thing as loss. I wish that people didn't disappear so soon. I can't even fathom how hard that would be.

Operation Grab-A-Stein

My Wenatchee Girls
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Back to Top