At 10pm I ran out of Rocky Road ice cream!
Good news, cookies and cream ice cream doesn't suck. I put a hurtin' on that at 3am when I let the dog out to potty! I have to go back to work before I need to order a larger office chair! Can someone go into my office and measure the width of my chair? I need to know how close I am getting! Just comment back, and let me know!
What am I thankful for?!
Cymbalta! If you are crazy too, you will know what I mean!


Edible Cancer Cures - AOL Health

Edible Cancer Cures - AOL Health


So, I decided that I don't make a very good patient, because all I do is pout around about all the things I should be doing. I am trying to watch the movies that Dan brought me to keep me occupied, but I keep pausing the movie to do things, like straighten things in the living room, and since I am not supposed to lift much, I made 20 trips to the washer to put clothes in piece by piece! I can't watch a movie knowing that a pile of dirt clothes is just sitting there!
I also realized that I am addicted to ice cream! That was the first thing I ate in the hospital after my fasting for surgery, and now I can't seem to stop eating it! Rocky Road is my favorite at the moment, and the worst so far is Birthday Cake Ice Cream. It is way too sweet!
A friend of mine also brought over homemade tacos for the whole family on my first night home, and a get well kit with all the necessities, like flashy earrings, holiday bangles, colored lip shimmer, a fancy red clutch, crazy knee-high socks, a monkey game....what more could a girl want? I am glammed out for my trip from the bed to the bathroom!
The kids have been keeping close tabs on me, and they love the fact that they are getting ice cream before bed every night! Skye loves to help, so he took the bandaides off my stomach last night so I could shower. I have 5 small incisions on my belly where the went in with the robot and camera to look around. The figured that since they were going to have me under anesthesia anyway, they might as well take a look around an see what is going on in there with their own eyes! My gyn oncologist is Dr. Morris, and he is GREAT! He said that they did not see any cancer anywhere with the camera. He said that pathology would look at everything they took out and get back to me in about a week. That was good news!
I am ultra bummed for my friend Tracy. She just shaved her head. Her hair is falling out from the chemo. For goodness sake it is 7 degrees out!!! She will get good use out of the Packers stocking cap! Lucky for her she is blessed with a nice head and cute little ears! If you are a girl, or even you guys, give a little thanks for your hair. You don't think about how much you use it to define you until it falls out. And in most situations it falls out in the middle of a life trauma....cancer. Cancer not only beats you up on the inside and threatens your life, but at the same time it puts a major strain on your self-esteem with the hair loss, acne, weight gain from steroids (or eating too much ice cream), and some people even lose their finger and toe nails. Not only do you have to live, but you have to know that you are worth fighting for even though you feel like crap! Tracy P, I know you are worth fighting for, and I know that you know it too! You are lucky to have a great support network, including a hubby who loves your bald little head, because it is a part of you now, and...your hair might affect your looks, but it doesn't affect who you are, and you are BEAUTIFUL!
Well, I better get going, I gotta unpause that movie. At this rate it will take me 3 weeks to watch it.
What am I thankful for?!
For my hair. For the drugs that are making Tracy better. For Rocky Road ice cream.


New look!

Well, I spent all my time updating my BLOG to the new template that I don't really have time to type much! I tried forever to move my site counter up higher, but can't seem to figure it out, so that is now all the way down at the bottom, is anyone cares. It is a little off, but with that many hits, who can keep track anyway?! =)
I am all recovered-ish from my colorectal surgery, and I start a clear liquid diet tomorrow along with a two day colon cleanse beginning on Wednesday, all in preparation for Friday's hysterectomy. I don't anticipate any problems with this surgery either. I can't tell you how excited I am for the fasting and prepping, but in preparation of the preparation I ate M&M's, pop tarts, Jimmy John's, and a taco salad as big as my head and right now I am just finishing up a Coors Light. One couldn't hurt, right?! Surely not after the Dancing Queen show I put on Friday night during a night out with the girls to the local gay bar! They always have the best dancing at those gay bars! Well, except when I go, I ugly it up tall, blond, white girl style! Oh dear! Real friends would not have let me dance with my scarf swirling overhead! (You know who you are!)
Hope everyone is doing well! And recovering from all that turkey!
What am I thankful for?!
The ability to take one day at a time. I am also thankful for Tracy's drive down memory lane! It is good to do that ever now and then.


Sad news!

Well, since she has started a BLOG, I think it is safe to pass on to you that one of my best friends, going way back, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This is sad news for me, and even more sad news for her. I hate the idea of anyone going through this, especially a dear friend!
I found out on my way home from our Dominican trip. I cried all the way through the airport and lit up everyone's phones until I got ahold of someone who could give me more information.
I hope that she knows that I would and WILL do anything in the world for her!
If you would like to check out Tracy's blog, here is the address- http://mynewreality-tracy.blogspot.com/
Keep her in your thoughts and prayers! I know I have wonderful people looking after me, and I hope that you will include her. In high school we were never referred to alone, we were always The Tracy's or The Blondie's! Now we are The little Miss Cancer Pants'! Some things I wish we didn't have to share.
What am I thankful for?!
I am thankful that her cancer did not spread to her lymphnodes and beyond! She is going to kick cancers butt!


Here come the Holidays!

Seems like I spend a good share of time thinking about medical things during the holidays.
The kiddos and I are going to spend Thanksgiving with my Grandparents and mom in Branson MO. The last few years Dan and I have been going seperate ways over thanksgiving in order to see our own families, and the kids have been going with him. This year they are going to go with me. Their great Grandma and Grandpa Leff are so excited that they are coming to visit, and my mom is already on her way to Branson. Dan is going to spend the holiday with his family and that totally incredibly cute little niece, Zoey! She is the highlight of the holidays.
After our trip to Branson I will be out of commission for a little bit. The first week in December I am having some non-cancerous growths removed from my colon and the second week in December I am having a hysterectomy. Yippie!
Then it will be Christmas and on to the New Year....
What am I thankful for?!


Scan Results

Everything looks stable according to my scans. The only definate cancer is in my right seventh rib, which is completely replaced with tumor, but still not really bothering me much, and then some tiny, questional spots at T3, T8, and T11 of my spine.
So... I consider this another win for me!
What am I thankful for?!?!
The doctors that are taking such good care of me now. And everyone at Midwest Cancer Imaging Center, for making scan day fun, not stressful! You all rock! See you in 3 weeks for my MUGA!


Days go by....

It has been awhile since I have last typed a BLOG. My friend in hospice passed away, and time went on. My kids started 4th and 1st grade, and time went on. Michelle and I went to Dallas and received an award on behalf of team Perseverance, and time went on.
My latest news is that I am headed to the Dominican Republic with Dan and some friends on vacation. The sun and sand should be nice!!!
I had treatment today, and because of some worsening anemia and constant fatigue, I will be having an upper GI and a colonoscopy this Thursday. The week we get back from vacation I will be going back in for CT scans! Everything always happens at once, and then......time goes on.
What am I thankful for?!
The opportunity to go to the beach. I am very thankful for that! I know that it is a luxury. Each day I have should be considered a luxury.


One of my ACS video's and my e-mail address

Well, I knew that it would happen sometime, but a video of me is now on the www! Here is the address if you want to check it out: www.sharinghope.tv/video/2050485
Also, I have gotten a lot of requests for my e-mail address, because several people want to be able to correspond with me without it being posted on my BLOG for everyone in cyberspace to read. So...my address is tmarymoon@gmail.com. Please e-mail me with any comments or questions you may have, and I will try to respond as quickly as possible!
Mean people need not e-mail!
What am I thankful for?!
Friends that I haven't seen forever! And...video editors that make me look better at this stuff than I really am!
Drew- I hope your mom is doing well! I had no idea she was a BC survivor. And, your father-in-law will be in my thoughts!



....another shining star goes on hospice....hearts break.

What am I thankful for?!
Sometimes it is hard to be thankful during hard times, but I guess I am thankful for hospice nurses. They must have hearts of gold to be able to care for people during such emotionally and physically difficult times. I am reading a book called "Glimpses of Heaven" by Trudy Harris, RN. She was a hospice nurse and tells stories of peoples last days/minutes here on Earth. It is very spiritual and makes me less fearful of death.


Relay is over. Now what?

It has been so busy that I haven't had any time to type. Relay was an amazing success! Our $35000 fundraising goal was blown out of the water....the money tallying is not yet complete by the ACS, but it looks like we might have reached $50000!!!!!! That is so unbelievable to me. I don't think I have quite grasped it yet! Much thanks to the Brunings, the Dominators, my DDS'ers, and team Perseverance!!!! Wow, each year Relay has gotten bigger and bigger! It is such an emotional night to end all the FUN-draising chaos!
During the opening ceremonies we had 11 team members receive $1000+ fundraising t-shirts! How amazing is that! Team Perseverance is made up of ROCKSTARS! Then I got to accept a check for $10000 from WalMart! They helped us SAVE OUR HAIR! How great is that! It was crazy! They gave me one of those huge-mongous checks, like publishers clearinghouse! How fun was that! I cried on the poor man's shoulder! I am sure he was wondering what kind of nut I was. How amazing! That money will help so many people right here in Nebraska!
The luminary ceremony was emotional as always, but I was so busy that I didnt have time to get the luminaries from my parents and my kiddos together and was so worried that I wouldn't get them lit before other people started lighting them. It worked out, but I was tired, and I think it was just all so emotional that I was not handling things very well. Also, this year was extra hard because I just lost Kim this year, our friend Jason started chemo, my friend from work is struggling with her treatments, and my friend Katy just lost her sister in May. We thought Katy's sister would be here this year to walk with us, but I guess a higher power had different plans for her. It was a rough night for her family, and my heart ached for them.
I shared speaking duties with my friend Eric this year in our Fight Back ceremony which was held RIGHT after the luminaries. So, in my emotional state I hear the announcement over the loud speakers that the Fight Back Ceremony would be starting in a matter of minutes, and I just couldn't pull it together that fast. Eric has also been through a lot this year, and adding those emotions to the emotions I was already having just sent me over the edge. I cried through the whole thing! CANCER IS JUST NOT FAIR! The rest of the night I just tried to zone out and when the sun rose in the morning we all headed home and went to bed.
The last few days following Relay have been hard. I found myself sitting in the cemetary crying, and not being able to stop. I had spent the last year speaking at Relay events and the last 6 months fundraising. I did it in all the free time that I had. I wanted to make a difference, and I was working hard at it. Cancer hit my friends over and over throughout the year, and I was doing everything I could do to fight back. But when Relay was all said and done, and the money was turned in, I felt an immense sense of saddness.....all that work and my friends that cancer had taken were still gone, and my sick friends were still sick, and I still had to go to chemo on Monday morning. I should have felt such joy in all that we had accomplished! I should have been excited, but I couldn't help just feeling sad that we still do not have a cure. But I have no doubt that we will be one step closer and that many, many cancer patients will benefit from the many services that the ACS provides. I am trying to focus on that......
What am I thankful for?!
Sunny days, candlelight, and Hope for the future.


I relay....

I relay …
I started to relay because my kids were 2 and 5 years old, and I thought their mommy was dying. I was desperate to do anything that might lead to a cure or at the very least… stall the inevitable.

I continued to relay because I became a part of a community that I understood and loved and who understood and loved me. It didn’t matter if I was sad, mad, scared, excited, nervous, confused or apprehensive. They always understood, and never said, “Don’t think like that”. They understood that when you face cancer, there is nothing you don’t think about.

I relay today because when I was diagnosed I knew no one who had cancer, and since that time I have had many friends diagnosed with cancer and three who have already died.
I relay today because I have more things left to see and do.
I relay today because I am tired of going to the cemetery to talk to the one friend who might REALLY know how I feel.
I relay today because I can’t hear her answers to the questions I am asking. I relay today because her children drop off her mother’s day gifts at the cemetery.
I relay today because I refuse to believe that this is how it is meant to be.

I will relay tomorrow because I don’t give up.
I will relay tomorrow because there has to be a reason why I am still here and my friends are not, and I don’t yet know what that reason is.
I will relay tomorrow because I have friends that aren’t yet cured.
I will relay tomorrow because the memories of those that have gone before me are never to be forgotten and should be honored to the fullest.
I will relay tomorrow because I don’t want my children or your children to die from cancer.
I will relay tomorrow because Relay has given me so much and I want to give back.
I will relay tomorrow because…I love you.
What am I thankful for?!
The Dama-mamas, my friends (some here, and some playing supporting roles in other states), my coworkers, my ACSers, my family, my husband, and MY CHILDREN...oh, and you too, Taz!



My cancer is stable!
What am I thankful for?
New flip-flops! =)


Summer is a busy time

Well, it is a busy time of the year! We have had more baseball games than I can count, and the kids are happy to finally be playing outside again....and so am I! I have been doing some speaking still for Relay, and just had to have my chemo port replaced this last week.
This coming Friday I have scans again and will get my results the following Monday. YES....I am aware that I said I was never going to wait for scan results over a weekend again, but that is the only time they could do them! I have a busy weekend, so I don't think I will have time to worry about them anyway.
What am I thankful for?!
Time with my children!


A Letter to my Medical Providers

May 7, 2008

To my Outstanding Medical Providers,

A little over three years ago I began a journey towards living….because, little to my knowledge and little to the knowledge of those around me I was dying. Dying wasn't painful, it wasn't scary, as a matter of fact, it was easy.

What isn't easy? Living isn't easy. It is hard work. It takes will. And, a lot of the time it hurts. It hurt in my bones, it hurt in my heart, and it hurt to the bottom of my soul.

I went through MRIs, CT scans, PET scans, x-rays, 2 port surgeries, 6 rounds of chemotherapy, radiation to my spine, a mastectomy, and even a few highly encouraged counseling sessions.

I saw people come and go at chemotherapy, older people and younger people. I saw people cry when they got good results and cry when they got bad results. I saw people come in for one, two, and ten year follow-ups and be disease free. I saw families bring in food to the doctors and nurses who cared for their love ones up until they slipped away.

I learned that nothing in life is guaranteed and I learned that if you want something bad enough, you damn well better work for it.

I learned that life is too short to waste your time worrying about things that don't matter.

I learned that you need to embrace the good things in your life and try to rid your life of the toxic things that cloud your existance. And, I learned that 100 percent of the time this is easier said than done.
I learned that you can not run away from cancer, but trying sure makes you feel better.

I learned that if you are just crazy enough you can run 13.1 miles on a treadmill at the gym and it is healing on the mind and hard on the knees!

I learned that if you are lucky enough to have great family and friends they will applaud you for your acheivements and some will even rub your feet!
Most of all, I learned that strength and courage has to come from within. It can not be given to us by others, but the will to seek that strength within can be found when looking into the eyes of your children, or your parents, or your spouse, or a friend.

When I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, I felt like I had lost control over the only thing I felt like I was in control of- I felt as though I had lost control of my body. In a world where I often felt so out of control, at least I had control over my body. At the point of diagnosis, I felt that little piece of security melting away.

So, as I was going through my cancer treatments I thought about ways that I could gain that feeling of control back. Logically, or not, I went straight to the idea of running a half-marathon. I thought that if I could propel my body 13.1 miles, then I was in control!

I began training. I started out at one mile a day on a treadmill. Then I moved to 2, 4, 5, 8, and 10 mile runs on the treadmill. One time I even ran 13.1 miles on the treadmill. As it got warmer I moved my training outside and made it all the way up to an 11 mile trail run. I was set to run my marathon!

One and a half weeks before my marathon is when I found out that YOU CAN NOT RUN AWAY FROM CANCER. That is when I found out that what I thought was back spasms was really metastatic cancer in my spine. The pain made it impossible for me to run the marathon I had trained so hard for. And, cancer proved once again that I was not in control.
On the day before that 2006 marathon I went to the runners expo and picket up my race packet. I turned in my chip timer and took home the bib number that I was not going to be wearing. I cried on my way out of the expo and several other times throughout the next week. Then I started radiation to my spine and was once again content with my plan of treatment and set my sights on finishing a different kind of marathon. Radiation. Daily. 5-6 weeks.

After radiation was done and my energy started to return I started running again. My body was fatigued, but I was determined. Then came the compression fracture in my spine with vertebroplasty and a mastectomy. I won’t lie to you. Those were hard, and my spirits were down, and I decided that the 2007 marathon was not going to be in the cards for me either. The day of the 2007 marathon I did not leave the house. It was too painful to see all those people out doing what I so desperately wanted to do! I was crushed and I felt like I was losing.

Days went by, then weeks. Scan after blessed scan showed no progression of my cancer. I began to feel stronger and stronger. In November of 2007 I began training again! First I trained on the treadmill, but soon I opted for all outdoor runs. The runs were going well and I was running up to 8 miles at a time. Then came the knee pain. But I was going to run through it. If it couldn’t kill me, then I was going to run. I was NOT going to let another Lincoln marathon come and go without being a part of it.

As the pain continued I began to think that my training might be hurting me more than it was helping me. So, I went to the doctor to make sure that cancer was not playing a role in my training again. X-rays were taken, and my knee and bones looked strong, with no sign of cancer. I was relieved! I continued to run. Again, I wondered if I was doing the right thing by running through the pain. So, I had an MRI done of the knee. The MRI also showed that my knee was in good condition. So, I started physical therapy and continued with my weekly to daily chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. There was some question as to why I continued to run through the pain, but everyone soon learned that they were not going to convince me otherwise.

I reduced my running distance and frequency substantially, but I never gave up hope. I was going to be in control and I refused to believe differently.

In January 2008 I had what would be my last set of scans before the marathon. I was so nervous. I searched the internet for other marthons in the country that I could go run at a moments notice, because if my cancer was spreading, I was not going to start treatment until I ran 13.1 miles. Somewhere. Anywhere.

The scan results came back after a LONG weekend of waiting. But it was worth the wait! No progression! So, in March 2008 I signed up for the marthon and paid my fee. I ran a few times, here and there, but it took so much time for my knee to feel good again, after a run, that I didn’t run much.

On May 3, 2008 I went down to the runners expo, picked up my chip timer and my bib number and I headed to my doctors office for one last adjustment and a little acupuncture before the big day.

On May 4, 2008 I started, ran, and COMPLETED the 2008 National Guard ½ Marathon in Lincoln Nebraska! It was a monumental moment in my life, and I did it with my husband, children, and parents watching, and my friends by my side! And, at the finishline, I threw my prosthetic breast in the air. Because I had just proved, if to no one other than myself, that you can complete a ½ Marathon with one breast, cement in your spine, and cancer in your rib!

Been there! Done that! Got the t-shirt!

Thanks for all that you do!


“Attitude is everything!”

WHAT AM I THANKFUL FOR?!?! The opportunity to send this letter out to all those people that have taken such good care of me and helped me to my goal! LOVE AND RESPECT! I am also thankful for all the people that cheered us on at the marathon and handed out water!!! A special thanks to the people with ICE!!! (As you may have noticed, some of this BLOG was a repeat from a previous blog for the benefit of my medical providers, but gawd knows it was worth repeating!)


Relay For Life 2008

I fixed the Link to me Relay For Life page.
The Link to my page is:
The Link to Perseverance is:
The Link to Perseverance Too is:



We did the annual survivorship skinny dip at 12:05am this morning to commemorate the day!!!! Brrrr!
What am I thankful for?! I am thankful that the pond wasn't frozen! =)


Relay For Life 2008

"The biggest and hardest single thing that you will be required to do in the entire battle is to make up your mind to really fight it.
You must, on your own, make the commitment that you will do everything in your power to fight the disease.
No exceptions. No halfway. Nothing for the sake of ease or convenience.
Everything! Nothing short of it.
When you have done this, you have accomplished the most difficult thing you will have to accomplish throughout your entire treatment."
Richard and Anne Bloch, A Tribute to Life, Cancer Survivors Plaza, Dallas TX

It is the 2008 Relay for Life season, and this year, teams "Perseverance" and "Perseverance Too" have commited to CELEBRATE, REMEMBER, and FIGHT BACK!
We are celebrating those who are surviving cancer and celebrating the lives of those that are no long with us.
We are remembering those that we have lost, and all that we loved about them.
We are fighting back in honor of those that we have loved and lost, we are fighting back in honor of us that are still fighting our battles, and we are fighting back so that some day cancer will be just a very bad memory.

Last year team Perseverance raised $21000! We acheived state recognition for our fundraising efforts, and we celebrated how much we were able to do when we put our hearts into what we were doing...well, guess what! Our hearts grew 3 sizes over the holidays!

This year we have branched into two teams because of the number of people we have helping us towards our goal. Team Perseverance will be captained by myself, and Lori and Michelle have graciously accepted the responsibilities of being co-captains. Our other team will be called Perseverance Too (which is not really another team at all)! We are all one in our efforts. P Too will be captained by Skye! He is very proud of his new responsibilities!

This year our goal is to raise $35,000 by team Perseverance and $5,000 by Perseverance Too! And WHEN we accomplish this next goal we have set for ourselves, I (and my co-captains, so they say) will get my head shaved! I have to admit, I have started to have a few panic feelings about the head shaving (I like my hair, and I have really big ears) but when I think about all that I have lost to cancer in the last 3 years, I am reminded that a head shaving is NOTHING compared to the losses that I have felt. I have gone through difficult treatments and permanent body alterating surgeries, I have cried with friends who have been diagnosed with difficult cancers, I have listened to friends who have lost family members to the disease, I have spoken to hundreds of people about my story and about how the American Cancer Society is keeping me alive and I have vowed to do everything I can to help them in their efforts, I have attended the funerals of beloved friends, and I have looked into the teary eyes of my children and I have promised them that I will do everything in my power be here with them as long as I possibly can.

So...if shaving my head, gets some people excited, then I am going to do it! I will tell every newspaper and TV station in the state about our goals, and WE will get this done! I do this for my children, my parents, my husband, and my family and friends. I do this in memory of Christopher, Dr. Larson, Ginni, Mrs. Trindle, and Kim. I do this for the love of my survivor friends that I have met through the RELAY, HEROES OF HOPE, LIFESPRING, METHODIST AND MIDWEST CANCER CENTERS, and LIFE. I do this for my friends who have lost parents, siblings, neices, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends. And, I do this for me, I am not done here!

If you want to do this too, then please, go to my website and make a donation:
To make a donation online and to track our progress, visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/tracy.harnly
To send a donation, make all checks payable to: American Cancer Society
5733 S 34th Ste 500 Lincoln, Nebraska 68516
(Indicate Relay team: Tracy Harnly-Team Perseverance)

You can also help by forwarding this information on to others that you think might be with us in our fight! You will be affecting the lives of millions!

HOPE and LOVE to you!
What am I thankful for?! All the friends/family that have joined my team, all the people that are considering helping us out this year, and I am thankful that I have hair....today! =)


Thanks for looking out for me!

According to the comments on my last blog there are at least a couple people that are looking out for me and wondering what is going on. One of the comments said I have looked sad at work and have been missing a lot of days.
Well, let me tell ya...Cancer sucks, and I have a few friends in the thick of it right now, and that just frustrates me and breaks my heart! One has been fighting for 2 years and is the most amazingly strong and sometimes painfully independent woman. One is newly diagnosed with a young family and stage four disease. He is stubborn and has a kick ass attitude, which will take him a long way. And the third has been doing this for 6 years I believe...he has the power to move mountains and despite several doctors visits and hospital stays lately, he will pull it out in the end. All three are survivors of a disease that no one should have to experience.
So, that might be why I have looked sad lately.
As for missing a lot of work, I had treatment on Monday and my MUGA to check my heart functioning. My MUGA scan was good. And treatment was uneventful. I had lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks, so I was a little worried about that, but I had blood work and exams done, and they don't see any cause for alarm, so I guess we willl just chalk that up to an unanswered prayer finally answered, because God knows I haven't done anything to work that weight off!
As for the rest of the days I have been gone- Wednesday night I got the stomach flu, so I was on my bathroom floor on Thursday and Friday! Good times!
What am I up to now? Well, I am working on my RELAY teams and hoping to get some fundraising started! And, I am (sort of) training for the Lincoln 1/2 marathon.
Never a dull day! I do my Hope thing in Alma NE tomorrow and was in Seward NE speaking at their Relay Kick Off last week! My dad and my Aunt Ruthie went to that, so that was a nice surprise!
What am I thankful for?! I am thankful that I am no longer throwing up! I am thankful for my husband who took over 100% while I was out of commission. I am thankful for all the movies I had DVRed prior to getting sick! Have you seen Under the Tuscan Sun? Great movie!



My scans are stable! My cancer is still confined to just my rib! Fantastic news!
Just got home from Plattsmouth...doin' my "hope thing"! Drove the whole way in the wind and snow!
If I ever get my arms around a palm tree I will NEVER let go!!!!!
Headed to Omaha to share my story with a couple hundred more people tomorrow evening! ...but, I do have to work in the meantime, so I better get to bed! I am wiped out! Thanks for all of your support and getting me through yet another set of scans!
What am I thankful for?! I am thankful that my cancer isn't spreading and I am THANKFUL that I get to kiss my kids goodnight!
Hope and Love! -T


Never having scans at the end of the week again!

So, lastnight consisted of finally melting down (we knew it would happen), I hate waiting for my scan results and I hate that my friend is on the other side. So, I got to spend a little time in the bathroom crying and throwing up after the kids went to bed. Having cancer and little kids is hard. You can't just get mad and scream and yell and cry and throw things when the mood strikes you (and believe me, I WANT to), because I assure you that would scare that crap out of my poor children. And most of the time, this is about them, not about me.
So, here we go with another day of me being short tempered with my husband, weepy in the shower, and happy and smiling and "fine" in public to the grocery clerks, etc....it is exhausting! (And when I say 'fine' in public, I am not referring to those who cut me off in traffic when I am alone in my car, because I am pretty sure you will hear about it and will recognize that I am, in fact, not fine!) And, heck, we all know I am not fine....we are familiar with me!
I just wish it was tomorrow already, so I can get this show on the road. But first, I suppose I better plan for my two speaking engagements this week~ tomorrow evening and Tuesday evening! Life doesn't stop because I have cancer, well at least not yet!
The last two weeks have been all cancer all the time for our family with two cancer related funerals, four cancer related speaking events, my scans, and treatment. Not to mention some of my fellow "Heroes of Hope" that are going through VERY tough and trying times right now! They definately have it rougher than I do, which makes me feel like I really should get over myself! Luckily, that is a tight knit community and the e-mails and prayers are flowing.
So, what on earth am I thankful for today?! I am thankful that my husband is so understanding when I snap at him for trying to help me put music on my MP3 player (I do recognize that he is just trying to help), I am thankful that Colbie Caillat makes such cute, happy little songs that keep me from throw a stapler through the window, and I am thankful that I am still here to worry about stuff like this, because it really beats the alternative! LOVE AND HOPE! -tracy Attitude is everything!....yep, I am working on it! Starting now!


Counter going up by leaps and bounds!

I see that there have been a lot of hits on my BLOG, so I thought I would let you all know that I will not have my final scan results until I meet with my doctor and have treatment on Monday! Which means I will not be blogging until late monday evening, because I am also telling my story at a Relay For Life kick off meeting in Plattsmouth, NE Monday evening.
What am I thankful for?!?! Today...my jammies and a lack of need to get out of them! I got out of my bed to type this and am headed right back! It is warm in there and there is a TV...what more do I need when it is 5 degrees outside?!


There is always a story!

So... Yesterday was your average run of the mill day of nothing to eat and drink after midnight, no big deal, well, only a small deal when your scans are at 7am. So, ya miss a cup of coffee or two, or a diet soda, in my case.
Well, bigger deal when your scans are at 1pm! By that point I was starving...I eat when I am nervous, I think I have mentioned that before, and the caffeine headache had set in! They said I could take my medications as I normally do, so I went so far as to digging out the Midol for the caffeine content! I know, I truly am a caffeine junkie! People at work literally GIVE me money, "no need to borrow, please just take it" if I for get my soda money....sad isn't it.
Okay, so it's not like I don't have reserves, I have a few extra pounds packed on, it is not like I am going to starve to death!
I walked into the office where I was going to have my scans done and my tech was about to inhale tacos and a soda...I was joking around about how tacos were my fav, and he politely tucked them away, and offered to save one for me for after my scans. No, I did not take a taco from a starving tech. I assured him I could wait, and that I had twizzlers waiting for me in the car for when I was done! I got checked in and sat done. In the waiting room they were watching the Food Network! Apparently I was not the only one obsessing over food at the moment. I probably wasn't even that hungry, my stomach was just angry that I took my meds on an empty stomach and then threw in so midol on top of that! Yummy! But, the headache did go away which was nice.
So, when they were ready for me, I went to a room...more of a closet, with a recliner, a sink, and an IV pole, with a bright yellow sign that says "Warning: Radioactive Material". After about 5 minutes in the chair with an IV started and something from a syringe circulating, I realized that that Radioactive Material was ME! I know, right?! I was hoping I got to wear a t-shirt out of there with that warning on it! As if I don't have enough t-shirts. So, before a PET scan they give you the radioactive glucose, I believe that is what it is, but also a huge bag of fluids and some lasix (the stuff that makes you pee a lot). So, conveniently the bathroom is located right next door to me and my recliner in the radioactive closet! So for the next hour, or a little more I received IV fluids and then flushed them out, then more fluids and more flushing. Not really the funnest game, but it kept me occupied. I talked to the techs who lingered at the door every once in a while, and time went by. The tech that does most of my scans, we will call him Bobbie, but his name is Matt, is 25 years old and embarrasses easily...oh this is so fun for me, I love it when people embarrass easily!
I went back to the scanning room, got placed in the machine, and waited. Over the top of my feet, I could see the techs all gathering on the other side of the glass wall. They informed me that they were getting ready to start. The sooner the better, those rooms feel like meat lockers! They slowly moved my body into the machine, and then they all got these concerned and then perplexed looks on their faces! ---OH GREAT! ---After a couple of minutes Bobbie came back into the room and asked if I have had surgery on my right side, and if they had implanted something, and with his hands he is making a motion like it could be the size of a plum?! No, no surgery. I have cancer in the rib on that side...had I suddenly grown a massive tumor there?!? He then asked if when I was in the staging room, maybe I had my MP3 player laying on my chest and maybe that was showing up as heat or something?!?? No.... Then I realized that maybe it could be my breast prosthesis (which IS bigger than a plum, I know you were thinking that), so I told him I was wearing one, and went to take it out, and he had bolted out of the room muttering what sounded like "the girls will no more..."! One of the girls came in, I gave it to her, we started again, and that was that. The gel inset used to weigh down the foam prosthesis was showing up on the scan. Whew! That was a scare. The rest of the scan was quiet. I know they all know what it showed, but no one can tell me. I have to wait for the radiologists.
So, after the PET scan I went back to my closet to drink a little banana flavored CT contrast. Sadly, the same contract that has made me feel gaggy in the past, was now very exciting! Because...you guessed it.... it was now 3:30 or 4 o'clock, and I still had not yet had anything to eat or drink! They should have brought it in a champagne glass for as excited as I was! It was yummy....really! Matt, I mean Bobbie, walked by and I flagged him down and told him that I was hurt, because I thought we had something special, and when I tried to hand him my boob, he had bolted! HAHA! I know, creepy! But I crack me up! And, he does embarrass easy! All shades of red! Poor kid, had no idea what to say. He did mention that that was the first time that has ever happened to him, and then I told him not to worry, I am scheduled to be back every three months for the rest of my life! It could happen again!
So, I think that if anyone is looking for a good nuclear medicine tech, Bobbie might be looking for a new location to work at!!!
After my CT contrast had time to wind its way through my system, I was off to the CT scanner. That was quick and painless! I was done by 4:45pm when they took me back to the locker containing my purse, jacket and boob.
Another day at the cancer center was over!
So for those of you who are waiting to hear the results, I will find out Friday afternoon, or Monday morning! I will likely send out some text messages if you are in my cell phone and I will also blog the results to the rest of you. As always, your support is overwhelming and generous!
What am I thankful for?! All the very nice and fun techs that work in the office I go to! I am thankful for their ability to play along with all my joking, because that is how I get through days such as this. Humor heals! I am also thankful for the twizzlers that I had waiting for me in the Jeep when I left, and for the soda as big as my head that I drank on the way home. And as always, I am thankful for my hubby's support and for my sweet children (one old enough to be nervous too, and one young enough to keep us busy enough to occasionally forget to be nervous)! And again, I thank all of you who sent me text and e-mail prayers, vibes, and luck! Big 'ol hug and smooch to you all!


For those of you that were concerned-

I made it to and home from Kim's Celebration of Life without any major problems with the weather. The wind was pretty bad on my little Jeep and it snowed the last 100 miles, but visibility was never really any issue. There were a few slick spots that the wind complicated a little, but all in all, was a fine drive.
Kim's Celebration was Perfect! I think it was just how she would have wanted it! It truely was a celebration!
It was a little cathartic for me, I cried through the whole thing, for so many, many reasons. She is such a beautiful person, but now she is a beautiful person on the other side.
Now on to scans...a little cranky. If you know me, I am a comfort food person, and veggies and meat don't really qualify in my book as comfort food. Well, not when you take all the good stuff off! My other coping skill is running, and I can't exercise either. Not for at least 48 hours prior to the PET scan. My only other coping skills I have left, are blogging and sleeping. So, I am going to throw this out there and hit the sack!
What am I thankful for?!? I am thankful that Kim and her family have a strong faith for which to cling to through their trials, tribulations, and the joyous times as well. I am thankful for their love and strength, and I am thankful for the big wonderful hugs that I got from her husband and her parents today. I was hoping that some of Kim was there with me in those moments. You can just feel the warmth in their family! All my love!
I am also thankful for all the 'good luck on your scans' text messages that I have been receiving ! I might not respond right away or even at all, but each and everyone is heart felt! I love all of you too!


"Kim is Dancing with Jesus"

Kim is my friend---a beautiful, strong, AMAZING woman with an enduring faith! And now, she has ended her almost 6 year battle with breast cancer at the age of 33 years. As her husband so beautifully put it, "Kim is Dancing with Jesus"!
I am happy for Kim, because she is now free of the pain and suffering that was tying her down, and free of the mental fatigue of a declining body.
I pray for her family, her friends, her husband, and her three gorgeous children who will miss her terribly! She will live in their hearts and mine forever and ever, as she watches over them from above!

Kim, Someday I will see you again. Just like you said in your note to me..."I will meet you at the pearly gates, sooner or later! Heaven is our eternal pain-free life!" You got it!
Dance on my Sister!!!! (...maybe put in a good word for me with the big man!) Love, Tracy

Since Kim's "Celebration of Life" will be on Wednesday morning, I have rescheduled my scans for Thursday! Thanks to everyone who has been keeping me in their prayers, and throw one in for Kim's family if you could!
What am I thankful for?! The huge outpouring of support that Kim and her family have in Orange City! It is a beautiful little town!


For the love of scans...

Well, I think the melt down has begun, because everyone keeps asking me what is wrong with me...I guess I get a little short at times and a little weepy, and by weepy, I mean I cry if my pen runs out of ink. The other day, I cried so much I was insisting that I have my tearducts plugged and my ovaries removed!!! And I didn't even consciously know why I was feeling or acting that way until one of my friends asked, "So, when are your scans?". I guess sometimes you have friends that know you better than you know yourself!
Thankfully Relay season is now in swing and I have other things and people to concentrate on than just me, my scans, and whether or not I have cancer hiding in my big toe! Really, I lost a boob, how bad could a big toe be to lose...oh damn, flip flops...okay, so there can't be cancer in my big toe!
My scans...they are on Wednesday morning...7am in Omaha...being the morning person I am I plan to sleep right through them! I am having CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis, and a PET scan. The whole process will take about 4 hours. The CT scans have few rules...no food or drink after midnight. The PET scan is a little more picky. No exercise for two days prior, and the day before, nothing but veggies and protein! Sounds a lot like that No carb diet I tried three times. The first time I made it one day. The second time I made it two days. The third time I made it one day, and vowed never to try that stupid diet again! Okay, so...one more day won't kill me!
As for Relay getting started, I have gotten the chance to do "my hope thing" twice this last week. I got to speak at the Haymarket Park Relay Kick Off in Lincoln and the Otoe County Relay Kickoff in Nebraska City! Both were great opportunities to share my story, sing the praises of the American Cancer Society, and share the IMPORTANCE OF EARLY DETECTION! Doing something always seems to help my spirits! It is nice to feel like this is all happening for a reason...but I still HATE it when someone tells me that!
I get to go to Sesame Street Live with the kiddos, so I need to get going!
What am I thankful for?! My "hope thing" and great big furry Grovers and Elmos!!!


Chemo with kids

This past Monday, New Year's Eve, I had treatment. It was the first time that the kids had gone to treatment with me.
Back when I was getting my therapy at the hospitals cancer center there were a lot of very ill people in the treatment room, and I never felt comfortable exposing my kids to that. When I started going to a cancer center more removed from the hospital and my oldest son continued to ask to go, I decided that we would try it. I know that a lot of times we make up things in our heads that are a lot more scary than what is really happening, but we don't know that because we have never been exposed to it. So, I thought this was a good way for my son to see what chemotherapy was all about and hopefully, if he had created scary visions of what it might be like, these visions would now be dispelled.
My new cancer center has fewer patients, and the patients seem to be more independent, overall. So, with chemo falling on a non school day, I agreed to bring him along. This is when my youngest son decided that he wanted to go too! We packed up the game boys, Nintendo DS's, all the games, and two MP3 players and the boys and I headed off to chemo!
They watched as I was taken to a little staging area, was weighed, and my blood pressure and temperature were taken.
Then, they followed as we were lead back to the big, sun-filled room full of recliners and IV poles where I would be getting my treatment. I picked out a recliner and they each tried to pull up the spinney stools that the doctors sit on. I always have, and still maintain, that you have to go to a lot of school to get the privilege of sitting on one of those spinney stools, so they needed to get up, pick a recliner, and consider med school if they thought those stools looked fun! They piled into the recliner next to me. My youngest watched intently as they placed the needle in my port, drew blood, filled the tubes, and then flushed my port with saline. They then taped the connecting tubes to my sweatshirt while they waited for my blood counts and the results of my kidney and liver functions tests, to see if it was safe to give me my chemotherapy. My youngest son then decided to play his game boy, which my oldest son had yet to look up from. He said in the car on the way, "I don't want to see them put a needle in you." And, he didn't.
The physician's assistant surfaced a few minutes later to go over my blood work, discuss any new symptoms, and check out the newest in personal gaming devices. I turned out that my blood counts were a little off, but nothing too frightening so chemo was a-go as expected.
My chemo nurse came back with a bag of saline and two bags of chemotherapy which she promptly hung on my IV pole with a bunch of tubing.
This is where the boys started to glance up from their games, but only momentarily, to check on me. Since nothing too earth shattering appeared to be happening they continued to play their games while snuggled up together in a recliner next to an empty IV pole. Thank God their IV pole was empty, I thought to myself. Thank God this was happening to me and not to them.
The nurse turned on my pump, and walked away.
My youngest was the first to venture over. He was looking at the tubing as it is disappeared under my sweatshirt, so I asked him, "Do you want to see how I get my medicine?" He just nodded, so I showed him how the chemo drips from the bag, into the pump, through a few feet of tubing and into my port. He touched it once, and was content. I gave him a kiss and a squeeze and he was back to gaming with his brother. A few minutes later his brother took off his MP3 player and was just silently watching me. I could see him out of the corner of my eye, so I turned, and asked, as I had with his brother, "Do you wanna see?" "Sure", he responded. So we went through the same breakdown, and all he said was, "Ouch." I assure him that I was in no pain, and he was happy with this. He snuggled on my lap for a couple of minutes and then was off to torment his brother!
After about the first 45 minutes the boys were now feeling quite at home there in the chemotherapy room, and had become quite keen on the fact that I appeared to be attached to my recliner. They were able to navigate just out of reach of the few feet of tubing that I had when they wanted to pick at each other without getting grabbed and hushed by me. The boys are quite sharp! It wasn't until they decided to lay down on the floor and wrestle that they found out that the IV pump could be unplugged and the pole that I was attached to could then move to anywhere I pleased! As soon as I started towards them, they were on my lap apologizing. I guess they new that I was not going to be happy if I had to chase them down with my drugs trailing behind! They were correct in their assumption! I told them, "The more I have to unplug this the longer we are going to be here!" This was not true, it keeps pumping even when you are unplugged, but it was an effective 'fib', as they seemed to be as ready to get out of there as I was. It is hard for me to sit still and be quite for three hours, just imagine how hard it is for 5 and 8 year old brothers!
Finally, the pump started beeping, a familiar sound, which seems to sing out, "Let's get outta here!" The nurse came over right on cue, pulled out my needle slapped on a bandaid and sent us on out way!
Amen. All three of us...relatively unscathed.
What am I thankful for?! I am so very thankful that my children are healthy! I hope that everyone has a Happy and Healthy NEW YEAR! Happy 2008!