Thursday, December 30, 2010

Almost New Years!

Well the new year is just around the corner. Are you ready? I can't believe that 2010 is finally almost over and a new year is about to begin. Thank Goodness! This year has been tough for the Taylor family and I am looking forward to turning that clock over to 2011 and starting the year fresh and new. My retreat to Park City, Utah for Metastatic Breast Cancer survivors will be a positive way to start the year and I looking forward to getting to know other women in my situation and hearing their point of view, how they keep their attitude positive, handle the side effects, keep their friendships alive, stay in charge of their households and their families. I am excited to learn about someone elses perspective on this chronic disease and how they deal with the unique challenges it presents.

The week after I get back Peyton will get her wisdom teeth out, which will not be a pleasant experience, but necessary. I am not going to watch thousands of dollars worth of orthodontic work go down the drain because she doesn't have room for any more teeth! I am sure they have modernized the procedure and it won't be near as bad as it was almost 30 years ago when I had it done. I hear from her friends that they were up and around in a day or so. So I don't think it will be near the experience that I remember. I hope its a piece of cake for her. I hate the thought of her in any pain or discomfort.

My next doctors appointment and chemo is scheduled for January 10th. I won't know until then if I am going to keep going with chemo or not. It will depend on the outcome of my scans and the status of my medications. As long as I stay on Avastin I can keep getting it, but if I take a break, I don't know if I can get approved to go back on. That makes a difference too. If I can't get back on it after taking a break I would say no break, keep going and taking the medicine that is saving my life. I am tolerating it okay. I have my tough days, but they are not unbearable and I want this gone, GONE. I don't want to risk it sneaking back up on me.

I hope you have wonderful plans for New Years and that you ring in 2011 with a heart full of love surrounded by people who bring you joy. God bless you in the upcoming year. Its going to be a year worth living, so grab it with gusto!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Round 6 is done

The final dose of round 6 is in and I received some good news regarding my ability to continue to get Avastin even though the FDA has rescinded its approval. Those of us who are already on the drug will continue to receive it. What we don't know is if I take a break from the drug, can I get back on it. That is the question that I will ask at my next appointment with Dr. Rado on January 10th. I don't want to take a break from chemo and then not be able to get back on it. So I don't know much right now as far as further treatment. Alot will depend on the outcome of the scans on January 7th. But even if they show clearing, there is always the concern of little pieces of cancer roaming about my body just awaiting the chance to take hold again. My tendency is to keep going, the chemo isn't fun, but its not so bad, I can still live my life, albeit a little differently than before, and there is some comfort in knowing that I am actively fighting the disease. I will have more answers when I see Dr. Rado and am looking forward to the discussion and exploring my options for the future of my disease.

The Zomeda may be affecting my jaw. That is a possible side effect, it eats away at your jawbone. Crazy, eh? My jaw has been sore and I attributed it to the dental work I had a few months ago, but its not getting better so I need to talk to Dr. Rado about that too. There may be alternatives to taking Zomeda, and there have been questions from the FDA about the efficacy of Zomeda, although they did say it worked better in post-menopausal women, which I am. Chemo pushed me through early menopause 5 years ago. So, Zomeda may continue to be the best option to keep the cancer out of my bones.

Insurance continues to concern me, but I know somehow it will work out and I'll find a carrier when my Cobra runs out. The cost will probably be outrageous, but it is a necessity no matter what the cost. Right now I am waiting until March to do further exploration since my Cobra doesn't run out until May and I have to exhaust my Cobra in order to get private insurance without enduring pre-existing condition clauses.

The week has been quiet. Peyton is home from school and work, so we are just hanging out together. Mason came back from Canada Sunday night, so I know she is glad to have him home again. He spends quite a bit of time over here and with Peyton's new wall mounted flat screen high definition TV they watch alot of TV. He left for a game today but I think is back tomorrow to play here. Then there is, of course, the big New Years match up with Spokane, always a sell-out high energy crowd. I hope they win.

I hope you are settling back into the post holiday week and things are quiet and calm. New Years is just around the corner, but I doubt we will do anything. I am usually in bed between 9 and 10 and I can't imagine making it to midnight the first week of chemo. Mike and I will probably get together to have dinner, play some cards and celebrate New York New Year. I hope your New Years is a wonderful time and that 2011 ushers in a new light and life. I pray you are blessed beyond belief and that the year finds you healthy and happy and your days are full of joy. Of course, joy is a state of mind. You can be joyful in the midst of strife if you choose to; so choose joy. Its always the better place to be.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I hope you had a joyous holiday. I know that mine was wonderful, one to remember. If God does not allow me another Christmas, I can die with a smile in my heart over Christmas 2010. We went to church on Christmas Eve at "The Living Room" and they had the Ashante Childrens Choir from Rwanda performing. They were awesome. We then all came to my house for pizza. My traditional Christmas eve present is new pj's and I was a little worried that Jessie would be bummed that the gift he opened wasn't a toy, how wrong I was! He loved opening the present, that was the gift. He hugged the box and said "I love my box" and I had to tell him, "look, there is something in the box." "Really?" he tore open the box. "I got a blanket, I love my blanket!" "No sweetie, its not a blanket, its pajamas." "REALLY! I LOVE MY PAJAMAS! Do YOU have pajamas?" Whereupon he took the time to open everyone's pajamas. It was precious. He then tried on his pajamas and wore them the rest of the night.

After everyone was gone and it was just Peyton and I, we engaged on our tradition, reading The Night Before Christmas and Grinch and then watching the old Grinch cartoon narrated by Boris Karloff. As we read to each other, sitting close on the couch, I could barely keep the tears away. During the movie, my big grownup daughter became my little girl again, curling up under my arm, letting me hold her as we sang along with the Whos. I hope I get to do this for many years to come. It is our tradition and it makes our holiday complete. But if somehow my life comes to an end, I hope she always remembers me holding her singing the Who Christmas song. I know its forever etched in my mind and on my heart.

Christmas morning began at my house about 8am and there was no chaos that would normally be associated with having a three year old in the house, he was so excited about everything. Didn't matter what it was, he was thrilled with it! I was a beautiful lesson in gratitude. We should all be so grateful for the smallest of things. After all the presents were done, I made my traditional biscuits and gravy, and then we enjoyed playing games for the afternoon. Peyton had me buy the family "Pictionary Man" and "Mad Gab" and we had a blast. We laughed until tears were running down our faces. What a perfect day.

Then it was off to mom's for a great dinner of ham and all the fixins. Elena and Jessie had to head out to her parents house for part of the day so it was just the immediate family (Gma, Gpa, me, Mike, Peyton and Houston) and we must have sat at the table for at least an hour after dinner talking and laughing and enjoying each others company. Finally, my energy was waning and I headed home. Peyton stayed and helped clean up and move food from the inside fridge to the one in the garage because the compressor went out in their fridge on Christmas eve. God bless her for staying and helping. What a great gift to give my parents, her help.

It was a beautiful day. It was not about what we got, it was about what we did. It was about our laughter and our giving of ourselves. It was about sharing time with each other and being a family. A family who loves and gives to each other no matter the challenges that have befallen us or the transgressions we have beset against each other. We forgive. We forget the bad and hold on to the good. And we hold on to each others hearts, the most precious gift of all. May this New Year bring us many more moments of laughter and tears of joy. It won't be perfect but as long as we are all together, it will be full of pleasure and delight.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Are you ready? This is the last day to wrap, buy, clean, cook... Hopefully you have been able to get most everything done so that you can enjoy your Christmas eve. I am done, of course I don't work so I have an advantage on all you people with full time jobs and kids. I need to clean my house today, but I don't go overboard since its just my family, kids and pets who make a mess the minute I'm done cleaning anyway!

Mom and I are going to church tonight at "The Living Room", I love their music and Monte does a wonderful sermon. We are going to pick up a couple of pizzas from Papa Murphys to cook when we get back. Everyone is coming over here since I have Christmas eve traditional presents...pajamas. My kids always get pj's on Christmas eve. Back in the old days Peyton and I would get matching pj's and she used to get so excited to be dressed just like mom. Those days are gone, her style is definately different than mine. So we all get our own style, but we have new pj's when we open our presents on Christmas morning. Its tradition.

Mike and I drove around last night and looked at Christmas lights. There are quite a few beautiful displays out there (my house included!) but I have to say that the Senske lights are nothing short of spectacular. If you haven't gone over and sat in your car to watch the dancing lights, make sure to drive over, I believe they are up through the new year. You tune your radio station to 100.1 and just watch the lights dance in unison to the music. It is wonderful. I plan on going back over again to watch some more. I don't think I could tire of watching, it is so fabulous. So, if you haven't gone yet, load up the family in the car and get on over there! Its worth the drive.

I am so excited for this holiday. When you are facing a life threatening illness like I am I can't be sure if this is going to be the last time I get to enjoy this holiday with my family. Of course, none of us know if we will be here next year. Life is so unpredictable. We never know what might happen to any of us. So bite into the holiday with gusto, let the juices drip down your chin and spill on the floor around you. Don't bother to clean it up, revel in its mess and the beauty of its joy. Gaze around the room, look at the faces of those around you, love them, appreciate their presence in your life and give thanks to God for the gift of family and most of all for the gift of Christ. Remember that is why we are celebrating. Amidst all the bows and ribbons is the birth of a tiny little baby who came to redeem us all. Every one of us. Not just a select few, but everyone. He was born and died for you, for me, even for that person you might not like. God sent him for all of us. So somewhere in your holiday sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. When the kids were little we would do a birthday cake every Christmas and sing to Him. So take time to remember the reason for the season. If there weren't one present under the tree, Christmas would still be Christmas. Take a lesson from the Whos. Even when the Grinch took everything, they still joined hands and sang...heart to heart and hand to hand.

So sing your joy. Raise your voices. Praise God. Give thanks. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is almost here!

Well we are only a few days away from Christmas. I am done shopping, as long as I stay out of the stores and don't see that "one more thing that I HAVE to get for...." Everything is wrapped and Santas stocking stuffers are all separated and ready to go in their places on Christmas eve. Peyton still has some wrapping to do, and I'll probably help her wrap, I love to wrap presents. I love decorating them best, making them all shiny and pretty. The cat likes all the sparkly pretty trimmings too! I keep having to shoo her out from under the tree and quite a few presents have lost their bows thanks to her playfulness. The dogs have been great about leaving the tree and its presents alone. Kyra I had no doubt would leave stuff alone, she is old and doesn't chew stuff up, but Sophie, we weren't sure what she would do with all those pretty wrappings enticing her, but she is really improving her behavior and the only problem I have is her getting paper and kleenex out of the trash. I can handle that, its annoying, but better than shoes!

I am feeling pretty good this week. I still get tired easy but am able to get up and around and do household tasks, then I'll rest in the afternoon. I am not able to walk the dogs, I can't handle being out in the cold. The Avastin has left my sinuses raw and bloody and the cold causes alot of pain. I saw Dr. Schwartz and he has me on a gel to moisturize the tissue and it seems to be helping a little. They don't hurt as much and the pain doesn't last as long when it does occur. I am going to go back and see him again in January and see how I'm doing. It may fix itself if I lose access to Avastin! If it looks like its going to be pulled off the market soon I'm going to try to get as many doses in as I can before the FDA intrudes into my healing. Avastin is working for me. The little tumor is completely gone, so I hope we can fight and keep me on this drug until the other one is completely gone too.

I am so excited for Christmas. Having my family here together. We will start here with presents and Cinnabons at about 8am. Should be crazy with a 3 year old who is fully aware how to open presents! Every time he comes over he wants to start opening everything under the tree! Then I'll make my trademark biscuits and gravy for breakfast. We'll relax for the day and then go to my parents house for dinner. We are still debating over the menu, Peyton wants ham (she always wants ham) and dad and I want prime rib. Maybe both??

I hope you are not so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that you don't have the time to sit back and enjoy the little moments that you come across everyday. Feel the joy of the season. Slow down, look at the lights on the houses, listen to the music, enjoy the season. Its a wonderful time to be alive.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Drug Controversy

There was a little tidbit on the news this morning that the FDA is going to revoke its approval for the drug Avastin. They indicated that the side effects of the drug do not outweight the benefits and that the clinical trails indicate that this drug "failed to show it prolonged life among brest cancer patients." This is contrary to the study that I read when I was first put on this drug and where the studies showed remarkable results. If FDA revokes its approval, it would no longer be covered by insurance and would cost thousands of dollars out of pocket if the patient and their physician want to continue on the drug. All is not lost though, the drug company has 15 days to appeal the decision. This drug is my only hope. It is the only drug which crosses the blood-brain barrier and has a chance at fighting this tumor in my brain. It has showed results in my case, my small tumor is all but gone and I planned on using Avastin to fight the rest of this tumor back. This is not good news for me, so hopefully the drug company can get an appeal through so that for us patients where this is a last chance drug can continue to use it. Say your prayers, this is a real setback for cancer patients.

There has also been some controvery on the effectiveness of Zometa, the bone strengthening drug that I am on, but initial reports indicate that current users may not be affected. There are other drugs that work like Zometa, so there are other options, but with Avastin, there is no other option. Avastin is a unique drug that actually gets into the brain where other drugs cannot go.

So this has me concerned about my current treatment, a treatment I believed in my heart would work against this current spread. Alot is also going on in my life with my health insurance which is got me reeling, praying I can find coverage to bridge the gap between when my Cobra ends and when my Medicare kicks in. I cannot go without insurance and there is going to be a gap in coverage later in Spring. I am planning on meeting with an insurance agent in March to start looking at my options. I was going to appeal the social security disability date to close the gap in coverage, but it will take 18 months to appeal. Hell, in 18 months I won't need the appeal, I'll be without my Cobra and not eligible for Medicare yet. What a mess. So I just put my faith in God that what will be will be and that somehow this will all work out for the best. But to say all these issues aren't causing me a bit of stress would be a lie. I am going to do the best I can to try to just ride it out and keep the faith.

We recheduled Peyton's wisdom tooth extraction. She really doesn't want to miss New Years Eve, and I can't really blame her. Mason plays that night and it is always a big game. I don't blame her for wanting to be a part of it. So she is now scheduled for Jan. 20th after I get back from my breast cancer retreat. I didn't want to miss that either but I have to be here to take care of my daughter after this surgery. I am sure this procedure has come a long way since I was 18 so hopefully it will be a tolerable experience.

So challenges await. We'll know more next time we meet with Rado, but I will go under the assumption that I will continue on this drug as long as I can. I don't see any options out there that work with my stage and type of cancer, so this is my hope. I will keep on as long as I can. Say your prayers that this controvery gets worked out and that those of us who are on it and it is working will continue to be able to take the drug. That's the best we can do.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

I received the coolest present last night. One of my friends got me a fluffy robe and had it embroidered with a pink ribbon on the front that says "find the cure" and a pink pair of boxing gloves on the back with the words "I'm a Fighter". It touched my heart and brought a huge smile to my face. I love it, not only is is comfy but so appropriate. So thank you thank you Angela. I will treasure this always and wear it proud, as a fighter.

I've been feeling pretty puny this week and am on a new medication that is supposed to stimulate my appetite. Its oral and tastes horrible, but if it works, I guess it will be worth it. I lost more weight again and they are really worried about me getting enough nutrition to keep up the fight. I bought some protein shakes to take as a supplement when I can't eat so maybe that will help too. I weigh myself every day and keep seeing the number go down, so I hope to have it start going up again. Goodness knows I don't want to get fat again, but I do need to stabilize my weight. I'm trying!

I wrote mom and dad an email last night, but I haven't heard back. They get to use the computers for free because of their platinum status on Princess Cruises so I figure I'll hear back today or tomorrow. I assured them that their puppy was doing fine, had given up her hunger strike and is eating again. Peyton is doing good staying there, I know she misses her home, her own bed, but only two more nights.

Peyton's wisdom teeth have started coming in...ack! They are really bothering her and I made an appointment with the oral surgeon but the earliest appointment is Dec. 28th with surgery on Dec. 31st. So she won't have a very good New Years Eve, but we need it as soon as possible so she doesn't have to miss too much school or work. She is on the cancellation list to get in earlier, if possible, next week would be ideal, then she'd have plenty of time to heal before school starts. So, I told Mike I will probably be taking care of a post-op patient for New Years Eve. Too much fun! She doesn't handle pain medicine well, they can make her real nauseas, so we are going to have a good talk with the oral surgeon on what he is prescribing so we can keep her as comfortable as possible. I hate that she has to go through this, getting your wisdom teeth out are miserable, but necessary.

I have few more small things to buy and Santa needs to work on stockings. I need more little stuff to put in their stockings but not spend too much, and I can spend alot on stockings! So I'm going to write a good list and stick to it, hoping I can keep the cost down.

Hope your holiday season is joyous and calm and not full of stress and tension. Calm down and enjoy, enjoy the treats, the company of your friends and family, and the sheer joy of the season. Take the time to visit and share with your friends and family and don't forget to tell them how much you love them and what they mean to you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Round 6

Well round 6 dose 1 is in. This is my last scheduled dose. I have dose 2 on Dec. 27 and then my CT and MRI on Jan. 7 and then another dose of chemo tentatively scheduled for Jan. 10th. I'll see Dr. Rado, see how my scans are and make the decision whether to continue chemo or take a break. Alot will depend on the status of the brain tumor, has it grown, has it shrunk, has it remained the same. I really have no sense as to what the tumor is doing. I still have problems with headaches and numbness and balance on my right side. To me, that means the tumor is still there. I have not gotten worse, so that feels good. I feel like if it had grown, my symptoms would be worsening, not staying the same. Of course there is the rest of my body we have to check too, hopefully it has not spread anywhere else in my body. I am praying that the rest of my body continues to stay clear of disease. So keep the prayers coming.

I felt pretty crummy yesterday. All I wanted was the day to be over so I could go to bed and wake up today and feel better. So far today, I'm okay. I have a PT appointment this morning to work on the swelling in my arm which will be nice. I always feel better when my swelling is down. But then I'll get my shot of neupogen which always knock me on my butt.

Mom and dad are still on their cruise, hopefully having a great time and not worrying too much about me or their dog. Or maybe I should put Lucy first. They worry about her terribly when they are gone! But Peyton is taking great care of her, walking her and the other puppies everyday. I miss having Peyton here, its quiet with her gone, she'll be home on Saturday night and things will get back to normal. I miss my parents when they are gone. They are such an integral part of every day so when they are gone there is an emptiness to my days, something is just missing. My house is quiet without my family around.

Almost done with Christmas. I have a few cards left to do and a few small presents left to buy, but most is done and I have even wrapped a good portion of them. I just have to decorate the presents and get them under the tree. The tree is beautiful, its just missing presents! I am hoping to feel good enough today to get something done, I wasn't able to do much of anything yesterday. I am trying a new drug to help my appetite. I lost another 6 pounds and I really need to stop losing weight. Its a liquid that I drink every day and tastes nasty, but if it works, its worth it.

All for now, off to PT. Have a wonderful day enjoying the glimpses of sunshine out there!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Party was Great

I was honored to attend the Kadlec Christmas party last night and I had to say it was awesome. I felt good since I'm two days from my next chemo and got to hug and visit with so many of my friends, tell them how much they mean to me and how much I love them. I hope I took every chance to let my friends know they are loved and that they are an important part of my life. Because they are so important to me. I hope that things go well with my treatment and within the next year I am an integral part of that family again. Kadlec, not only a higher level of care, but a higher level of employer, one I hope to be a part of for many years to come. Thank you to Kristen for inviting me to join her, it was an honor to sit with the folks from HR, what a great group you are. We were right next to the admin table so I got to spend some time with them too and hear a bit of chatter about what is going on in my former department.

I am going to the Nutcracker this afternoon. My friend, Sherri, her little boy, Noah, is in the party scene and I promised I would go see him perform. I am looking forward to seeing the show, I didn't get to go last year, that darn hospital stay last Christmas season took away alot of my holiday activities. I am bringing kleenex, because I know I will cry. I always do, remembering Peyton up there dancing so beautifully, before her injury forced her to give up her dream of dancing. She was going to go too, but she got sick this morning, and has been throwing up today. She doesn't feel like going nor does she want to expose me to the stomach flu, especially with chemo tomorrow. That would be the last thing I need! I am just sorry that she is sick. But she is at the gparents taking care of Lucy and she and puppy can just lay together on the couch today and rest. I miss having her here. The house just seems empty without her energy.

I am enjoying my new recliner more than I can say. I had no idea a Lazyboy would be so comfortable. I just sink down into it and relax, enjoying my holiday decorations, the lights of the tree, surrounded by the beauty of the season.

Chemo tomorrow, dose 6. We will get the CT and MRI scheduled and will know a little bit more about the path forward. I am praying it is clear so I can start getting my health back and get moving back into my regular life. Its there, waiting for me, I'm ready to dive in!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Preparation

Well mom and dad are off on their cruise to Mexico for the next seven days. Mom called from Los Angeles last night and they will set sail at 4pm today. Their first port of call is Puerto Vallarta so for the next few days they will sit on their penthouse patio, yes, they got upgraded to a penthouse, and enjoy the vista of the beautiful pacific ocean going by them. How wonderful will that be! They have been on so many cruises that they enjoy the relaxation of it all, the service, the food. I am glad they get to do this to celebrate their 52 anniversary. What an accomplishment that is in this society. Not only have they been married for more than half a century, but they continue to enjoy each others company and spend most all their time together. We could all be so lucky to be so in love after 50 years. I am so proud of them. I know I'll never have that kind of relationship approaching my 50's but I pray for it for my children, that they will find a soul mate to marry, are able to make it through all the trials of marriage and growing old together. Its such a beautiful thing.

Peyton is taking care of Lucy who has a very hard time when her parents leave town, especially her mommy. She cries when she leaves and then mopes around the house, not playing, not eating, just waiting for them to come back. My parents have a hard time leaving her but I'm glad they have Peyton to trust to take care of Lucy. She does a great job loving her and taking care of her, staying at my parents house so she can have a familiar environment while she mourns the departure of her parents. Our dogs are just so spoiled.

We got the Christmas tree up on Thursday night before my parents left and had the whole family together putting up the ornaments and enjoying the company of each other and the memories that each ornament brings. I love how my grandson grouped ornaments, all the M&Ms and Energizer Bunnies hanging together, and the majority of ornaments on the bottom 2/3 of the tree because thats where he could reach. Now I sit in my new comfortable Lazyboy and turn off all the lights except for the tree and just rest and think. Beautiful memories of Christmas past come rushing behind my eyes, some bringing smiles, some moving me to tears, but all warming my heart with a special joy. This is the best part, the prep for the holiday, the spending the time together, the music and movies, the decorations that each tell a story of their own.

My favorite movie is "Its a Wonderful Life" and I could watch it every night. The story of hope beyond great loss is an important moral. We could lose everything, but if we have each other, we have all we need. So as you are rushing around this holiday season, remember the people that you love and give thanks to God that they are in your life. Treasure the moments you spend with them and let them know how important they are to you and don't forget to tell them you love them. We can never say those words enough. So to all of you...thanks for being in my life; I love you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tough Day

I am ending the year with a bang. I backed into a van in a parking lot yesterday. I don't know where she came from, I am always scared to back into something or someone, so I try to be real careful, but all of the sudden I hear the crush of metal. What an awful sound. I look over and I am against the rear panel of a 70's era econovan. I got out and although I couldn't see any damage to her vehicle (that good ole 70's solid steel construction), mine had definately seen better days. So we pull back into the parking spots to exchange information and I just lost it. The tears started streaming down my face. It was just one more thing on my already overflowing plate that just set me over the edge. I felt sorry for the lady, it was my fault, and she is rubbing my arm asking me if I am oky. I was honest, no, I wasn't okay, I just want to get out of 2011. She was so kind, hugged me and told me she would pray for me. I tried to pull it together unsuccessfully and tears streamed down my face as I wrote down all my information and thought about an insurance claim and what if they cancel me? I can't afford for my insurance rates to go up.

So we finished our business, she had my information, I had hers and although I could see no visible damage on her vehicle, there was definite damage to mine. So I headed over to State Farm to file a claim. Still crying I entered the door of the agency. She handed over the box of kleenex and asked if I was okay. I nodded my assent and began the diatribe of details related to the incident as she entered it into the computer. I told her I doubted there was damage to the van, but just in case, she seemed like the type that would turn it in. She wanted the call the cops, but with it being private parking and all, the cops wouldn't come anyway. Thank God. I really don't need a ticket on top of everything else.

So I left the agency and went straight to my parents. When the going gets tough, the tough go cry on their mother's shoulder and ask their dad to fix their car. Just by serendipity, Mike showed up and while I sobbed in my mothers arms he and my dad they fixed most of the damage, and determined the rest could probably be done relatively cheaply. So, if there was no damage to the van, and I don't turn in my car, no claim, no increase in rates, no worry about cancellation. So I calmed down and finally headed home to drop whatever residual tears were left. Once home I called the lady with the van and asked if she looked further and noticed any damage. She said no, but wanted her husband to look at it. I asked her if there was damage, if I could pay for it rather than go through insurance. She was more than amenable to keeping insurance out of it. I was so relieved. So I called State Farm and again serendipity interrupted and the claim didn't transmit, it errored out when she sent it. So there was no claim. So from the initial shock to a few hours later, the outlook was much better. I had cried all the tears I needed, it was time for a nap.

So I dozed on the couch, Mike was scheduled to come over a 3pm so we could go select a tree for my tree trimming family get together tonight. The next thing I know my mother is coming in the front door with a big balloon and my dad and Mike behind her with a large recliner! They had bought me a Lazyboy for Christmas and it just so happened it was delivered yesterday, when I needed a cheering up the most. We set it up where my old rocker was and I sank into its delicious fabric, leaned back and felt the relaxation take over my body. It was awesome. So I got my present early, since there was no where to really hide it, not to mention, I really needed a boost.

So while it could have been much worse, it turned out okay even though I still have a dent in my rear bumper. I haven't heard from the other driver, she said she'd let me know if they found any damage, so maybe I'm going to get lucky. In the meantime, I'll relax in my new recliner and pray January 1st comes soon and 2011 turns into a better year. Next year just has to be better than this year! (Knock on wood!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Loss of a Brave Woman

Elizabeth Edwards lost her battle with breast cancer last night. I don't even know her, but for some reason this news was like a blow to the heart. How could she lose this battle? She was an idol for people fighting this disease. Her strength and fortitude, her grace in the heat of battle. I was certain she would outlive me and suddenly, she is gone, leaving such a young family. It is so very sad. She wished to be remembered for her life, not her death, so to honor her wishes I will remember the words I heard from her in interviews and public appearances; words of wisdom and encouragement for those with and without cancer. She was a beautiful and honorable woman, and for that she will be remembered.

I don't know why this hit me this hard, maybe its because our battle has lasted about the same amount of time. We were diagnosed around the same time and both went into remission and then it came back. They could never get it under control again, and that feels like me, like we can't get mine under control. We keep treating but it doesn't go away, it lingers on continuing to make its presence known in my life. Its vengeance never far from my mind, constantly reminding me to stay on my toes, keep fighting, but most of all to keep living. Because when my time comes, I want to be remembered for the joy and the laughter not for the cancer. I want to leave behind a positive legacy and a knowledge and love can conquer any foe because love lingers on long after our body is released from this place.

So focus on the good and don't dwell on the bad. Look at challenges as opportunities to overcome, as ways to make a difference in this world. And I pray that through this challenge I will be a beacon of light and a model of love and hope in this sometimes dreary world.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Joy

Well I have been pretty sick all week. My stomach just can't seem to balance itself with this mixture of chemotherapy. I have lost a lot of weight and now weigh less than I did when this whole thing started. They did give me some pills that take away the nausea and give me an appetite but I the side effects leave me unable to function. I am totally wiped out and don't do anything but just lay and doze or watch TV. So, although I can eat, I can't function and I can't accept that side effect. When I see the doctor next week I'm going to ask if there is anything else we can try. I want to keep my wits about me during this treatment. I am tired enough, I don't need drugs that wipe me out too.

I am moving into feeling better this week and should be able to really enjoy the party this weekend. I bought new dress, which is fabulous and I am so excited to see my Kadlec family. I hope to be able to stay up a little later than normal to allow me to stay and visit and maybe dance for a little while! That would be so fun! I plan on being there right at 6 so I can spend as much time as I can visiting with my friends. Mike has taken his suit out of its dust cover and will be as handsome as a movie star! What a pair we will be. Both bald and dressed to the hilt.

Mike got my lights up this week and the house looks great. I am so excited! I love seeing the glow of the lights turning my home into a gingerbread house perfect for the holidays. I have almost completed my Christmas shopping and spent a few hours yesterday wrapping presents. We are putting up the tree on Thursday. My parents are leaving for a 7-day Mexican cruise on Friday so we want to get it up before they leave. Putting up the tree is a big deal for me. I have ornaments that go back to my childhood. I don't have the trendy matching "pretty" tree; I have an eclectic tree with decorations made by my children over the years and special treats from friends and family. Each one has a story and as we hang them up those memories come rushing back, bringing a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart that is unmatched.

Peyton and I are going to hit the mall today and finish up some last few items. I'm sending my packages out today and picking up my cards from Costco. Those should go out in a few days. Not working gives alot more time to prepare for the holidays! I am never this far ahead. Truth be told...I'd still rather be working, but take advantage of the time I have. I am going to enjoy every moment of this holiday season, who knows when it might be my last, I want to make it as perfect as possible.

Happy holidays. Slow down and enjoy every moment, this is a special time of year, a time for forgiveness and redemption, a time for family and friends, and time to laugh and smile, a time to be joyous and enjoy all the little things in life. Our savior is born, born to redeem us all!