Thursday, March 31, 2011

Driving home from the downtown Rotary meeting today (my second presentation so far) I caught this beautiful vision of spring. The pale chartreuse branches blowing in the wind caused me to whip my neck so quickly that I almost strained it. It was breathtaking. Instantly, I asked my dad to swing back around the tree so I could take a photo. 

I'd love to share about the presentation, but I am absolutely pooped. Both times that I've presented, I have adrenaline surging through my body from morning to night. It's about 7:30pm right now, and the sun is setting. With it goes my energy. It's bedtime.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life Is In The Details

Views of my garden. I know it seems as if there IS no garden, at first glance, but things are starting to sprout. This little nugget of land makes me smile so much. I investigate each square foot on a regular basis, checking to see how the growth is coming (I just cleaned out the old dead growth from last season). It's soothing to me. I guess we all have our favorite things.

I've been thinking all day that I'm actually excited about my next MRI. I almost can't believe how things have changed. For the first time I'm not afraid, in fact I'm ridiculously excited!

I'm grateful that I've had a full year without radiation. I feel so lucky! So blessed! I find myself listening to music and dancing in my car. I turn on our Sirius radio in the house while I cook and laugh and dance. We're watching TV less often, and getting outside more. It's nice with the change of season, it makes it easy. I'm enjoying my life, grateful for each moment. I'm noticing the barely there buds on the trees, and I'm driving through the warehouse district where I live, slow like I'm doing a drive by, searching for fatties (also known as marmots). I'm waiting for the fatties to come out of hibernation. That will be a great day!

I feel like the beauty of life is in the little things. Monumental accomplishments are also fantastic, but those little things, the tiny almost not noticeable things, are what give me the most joy. It's all in the details.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life's Music

My goal for this week is to do 30 minutes of running each day. When I got to the gym this afternoon, before I knew it, I was challenging myself to 45 minutes of running. I turn the running into a game. I watch TV while on the treadmill, starting at 6.0 (a 10 minute mile). I select a TV show, and as soon as a commercial comes on I bump up the speed by 0.5. By the end of the show I'm running an 8 minute mile and I've gone for 45 minutes. When the commercials appear I listen to music on my mp3 player and flip a magazine to keep my attention. I figure the more I distract myself the longer I can run.

Anyway, I only had an hour after my run to get home and shower before my book club, so I was in a bit of a hurry, but at a stoplight I saw the craziest personal short bus. I looked over my shoulder and moved to the other lane, and tried to follow the bus, trying to get a photo of the massive sign painted on the rear exit door. I would have followed it all the way to East Wenatchee, but I was running late and had to turn to head home. The sign said, "If you aren't dancing, you must not be able to hear life's music."

I couldn't get it for the photo of the day, but I'm telling you I laughed the entire drive. I'm going to be searching for the special short bus for a long time, and when I do, you can bet I'll make sure I have a photo! What a great quote.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My First Ponytail!!

HELLO PONYTAIL!!! Oh, how I've missed you. The truth is that underneath the hat I have a bunch of short hair on top of my head and it looks pretty weird, but with the hat and the new pony I no longer have a mullet. PS Sorry for the sweaty picture, it was taken after a run.

 I had been wondering if I would ever be able to have long hair again. Obviously I can grow hair, but the scar on my head from the front to the back is pretty thick and causes problems for a hair part. I should take a photo of that soon. 

It's not the end of the world if I don't have long hair, but it's a desire that will not subside. I'm pretty stubborn, and I'm convinced I can find a way to eventually have the long feminine locks I dream about. Just another little hurdle to jump; I'll find my way around this little scar dilemma. It's nice to have hair as my biggest concern!
 Post Soccer Meeting

This is yesterday's photo of the day. It was a bumper sticker on a mini van. I laughed hysterically because it made me think of my friend Jenny (seen in the group photo above). She's the only girl I know that couldn't wait to have children because she could legitimately drive a mini van.

Friday, March 18, 2011

1st Presentation

It turns out that my gift of gab translates perfectly into a love for public speaking. My mom likes to tease that I started talking seconds from the womb. Sharing my story with the Rotary was thrilling. My legs were shaking, and my lips got really dry, and I did mostly note card reading, but I think I can smooth it out with experience. The best part of the whole deal was all of the hugs afterward. It was incredibly moving to have people connect with what I was saying.

I think I can work the kinks out. I have two weeks before my next presentation, this time at an even larger Rotary in Wenatchee.

It's really nice having these presentations distract me. I have less than a month before the next MRI, and reliving my experience continues to make me grateful for my growth, my life, my friends, my family, everything.

After the Rotary presentation a gentleman came up and shared the story of his wife who had a double mastectomy six years ago, then underwent chemo. I keep hearing stories about people going through radiation and chemo and people are knocking it back like it's no big deal. I love it! It's encouraging. I think that when my time comes for radiation, I'll be able to conquer it.

It has taken me 11 months to come to terms with radiation. I'm finally no longer scared of it. That's huge! I've jumped a lot of physical hurdles, definitely a ton of cognitive hurdles, and lately, a lot of emotional hurdles. It's a great feeling!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Sexy Surprise"

From left to right: Jessaca, me, Michelle, Rachel & Jenny 
(Matt, Rachel's husband, dutifully took the photo)

Yesterday was absolutely unreal. I was in heaven, bursting with endorphins. I went skiing!! I wore a helmet - don't worry :)

To explain the photos above, the first is a regular group shot, then you say, "Sexy Surprise!" turn around, flash back and give your sexiest pose. It was Rachel's brainchild from her college sorority days. It's pretty fantastic. As you can see, I'm still working on my sexy side. I smiled pretty big though, and I'm pretty proud of that! That smile was truly genuine. It turns out I love to ski just as much as I love to run - which should speak volumes.

I was nervous at first, but two runs down the mountain I was getting my ski legs back. I started skiing in elementary school, and it's true what they say, it's just like riding a bike. I didn't even fall once!! I definitely fell a few times when I went skiing in Dubai, but this time I was warm and ready.

The whole time I was skiing yesterday I just couldn't believe my great life. As I skied with the group, we hop scotched down the mountain, and I would hear the laughter from my friends. It was like hearing music. Everyone was having so much fun. Days like that are priceless.

They were so patient with me; they were encouraging and we moved like a school of fish through the snow.

Unfortunately, we were never able to track down Heather, who was also on the mountain. I want to thank everyone for the gear loans: Heather, Marsha, Aaron & the whole Mauseth, Eastman & Taylor crew - and gifts: Jessaca. The only thing I had for skiing was my coat, which ironically was given to me by Libbey a year ago. So, actually, the whole experience was provided to me through the generosity and kindness from friends. A helmet, goggles, poles, skis, boots, pants, a coat, even the gloves were Danny's. Wow. See! I have such a great group of friends, I just can't even believe it!

I'm so grateful for my life. I'm thrilled to have my health. This life is such a gift!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Danny's 33rd Birthday

Sorry for the lack of posts!

Last Thursday was Danny's 33rd birthday so we had a few festivities scattered across a couple of days. Probably due to all of the excitement and packed schedule, I woke up on Sunday sick. It was such a rude awakening that I took a couple of NyQuil pills and went back to sleep.

It was one of those sicknesses where you don't have the energy to get up from bed. It felt as if I had an alligator hibernating in my throat, it was miserable. I thought, at one point, my entire head might explode, or the track of my scar was loose and the two halves of my head were separating. It was nightmarish, which made it quite easy to continue my rotation of sleeping pills, absorbing the sleep like a sponge.

I'm better now though! Back to life. I started with a half day on Wednesday and I haven't looked back.

Here's a couple of photos from the Venom game last Saturday (one of the birthday festivities). It's a local arena football team. Danny was in heaven having football in the off season.

Between playing catch-up at work, with all sorts of price increases on various textiles, I'm trying to iron out the details of the Rotary presentation. There's a chance that I won't be able to share photos. Yikes. I love photos, they speak a thousand words. I was really relying on them. Well. I guess I'll need a Plan B.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rotary Presentation

In two weeks I have my first real public speaking engagement. It's not as fancy as it sounds, it's just a little talk to my father's rotary. I'm going to share my story. I can't wait!

I've been brainstorming a bunch, trying to piece everything together. It's hard to figure everything out, do I tell the story chronologically, or jump around. How do I hook 'em? How do I transition things? How do I select the best parts of the past 11 months, and share the details. I have to omit stuff, what do I omit? It hurts my head to figure it out. I'm excited though! I just don't want to forget anything important.

I keep asking myself, "What is my purpose in sharing my story?"

I've come up with all kinds of answers, but none of them seem to feel exact. I want to share my story because it's absolutely crazy. It was all so sudden. It's eye opening. It's scary. It's triumphant. It's human. I guess I want to share my story and everything that goes with it. It's ok to be sad, it's ok to feel scared, it's ok to be overwhelmed, but never defeat yourself. Surround yourself with wonderful people who love you unconditionally. Find the happiness in little victories and try not to be too hard on yourself.

I feel like the past 11 months have been an out of body experience. It's like living a dream or a movie (I'm outing myself, I do love lifetime movies). This whole story is foreign to me even though I'm living it. It's hard to explain.

I'm now undergoing my largest intellectual project since they explored my noggin. I've advanced so far! I'm proud of myself. Sometimes I forget how far I've come. From not being able to say my name, or know the day, month, the name of the president, handling a fork, hitting two syllable words, learning how to read again, solving word problems, higher thinking, and here we are, truly the most difficult form of organization and planning that I've faced. It's fun! Scary, but fun. One more challenge to keep me moving!

I can't wait to face this group, mess up my words, laugh a little, apologize and keep going. My dad said that I should picture talking to a bunch of friends because that's all this is, friends, people who want me to succeed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Little Green Foxes

With my head phones on, munching on steamed organic broccolini (thank you Costco for the new selection!), I'm weighing out my meals for tomorrow. Literally. Piece by piece I'm trying to figure out the restricted ketogenic food plan. I definitely use a different ratio than the typical 4:1:1 (fat:carb:protein), I'm more of a 4:2:1 (the 2 is for the extra carbs in the vegetables). I love vegetables, especially broccoli and all kinds of cabbage. I know that if I get too regimented I will fail. I need that hard crunch of veggies.

Danny has his Netflix dialed in, relaxing, watching Deadwood. Me, well, I'm doing what I love to do....I'm silently dancing behind the wall that divides the living room and kitchen. Weighing, measuring, listening to MGMT, shuffling to Kings of Leon, and working my abs with a few fearless dance moves to the Scissor Sisters.

There used to be a time when, enjoying my time alone, I used to get dressed up to bake in my kitchen. I wore cute dresses and my highest heals, my clothing protected by my great Auntie Myrt's apron. It's buttercup yellow with tiny little green foxes (practically minuscule little fellas). It made me feel feminine and sexy. It was my little secret. My "love ingredient."

Sometimes I have to remind myself that happiness is internal and yet something that I have to reach for.
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