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Monday, March 30, 2009

Two years since last chemo treatment

I realized this morning that it has been two years since my last chemo treatment. I can't believe how fast it has gone. I will have to post current pictures but you can see the difference between last year and when I finished in March 2007 by going through the archives.

I would blog more but I am exhausted. Today was my first day back to work full-time, one son is sick, another jammed his fingers, the little princess had soccer practice and I ran with the dog in the park during that time. Not to mention we are all trying to recover from the little girl birthday slumber party Saturday night! I NEED SLEEP!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What do you think? Could she be Renesmee Cullen?

For you Twilight Fans... I think she could pull off the part...what do you think?

Renesmee is described often as being very beautiful. She is described as having the facial features of her father, Edward, as well as his unusual bronze hair color. However, she inherited curly hair from her grandfather, Charlie Swan. Her hair is described as ringlets and falls past her waist. Her eyes are described as chocolate brown, just like her mother, Bella's, were while she was still human. She has pale skin, which has a blush to it because her heart pumps blood (though it beats far faster than a normal human heart). Her skin is as tough as a vampire's, but her temperature seems to be unusually warm, only a few degrees below that of a werewolf, most likely because, like Jacob, she has 24 chromosomes. Unlike her family's skin, Renesmee's skin glows in the sunshine rather than sparkling like diamonds. Renesmee is stated to like shiny things by her mother. However, she will also grow up to be good-willed and caring like both of her parents.

Maybe not quite but we can dream big, can't we? Heck, life is too short to dream small!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fundraiser for breast cancer patient

Faith Hochhalter, aka “The Book Babe,” has been in the book industry for 10 years. She has worked as a children’s book buyer and as a booking agent specializing in setting up school visits for several authors.

When the publishing community heard that The Book Babe had been diagnosed with breast cancer the response to help her out was overwhelming. A collection of items to auction has been steadily growing. So far over 40 authors from the US and Europe are contributing. The list of books and auction items that have been donated will be listed on this website soon. Proceeds from the auction and the event on April 4th will help support Faith while she undergoes cancer treatment.

Stephenie Meyer (Twilight author) will be there too! Check out the list at Even if you cannot attend you can still donate.

Spending Recovery in the "Twilight" Zone

The recovery from this surgery has been a bit different for me. I have spent most of my time far away in Forks, Washington, deeply involved in the lives of Bella and Edward. (In case you don't know, that is the main characters and location of the Twilight book series.) It has been a great break from reality for me.

If you know me, you know I don't spend enough time relaxing, reading for pleasure, or checking out from reality. So this has been a big change for me. I have loved being caught up the rollercoaster ride of someone's life instead of my own. I am now a Tweek (Twilight geek) and tease my boys about it too.

But tomorrow it is back to the reality of work, getting up early, dealing with issues etc. Since I haven't finished the last book yet, I am hoping I will still be able to check out from reality for a bit each day and enter the "Twilight" zone.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jade Goody has passed away.

LONDON - Jade Goody, a dental assistant turned reality-TV star whose whirlwind journey from poverty to celebrity to tragedy became a national soap opera and morality tale in Britain, has died. The 27-year-old had cancer and died in her sleep early Sunday at her home in Essex, southeast England, her publicist Max Clifford said.

Goody gained fame at 21 in 2002, when she joined the reality television show "Big Brother," in which contestants live together for weeks and are constantly filmed. Loud and brash, she became a highly divisive star — initially mocked as an ignorant slob, then celebrated as a forthright everywoman by a hungry tabloid press.

She didn't win the show, but she did become a celebrity, earning millions through television and magazine appearances, an autobiography, a perfume and a series of exercise videos.
It was during a follow-up stint on a celebrity version of "Big Brother" in 2007 that Goody was labeled a racist bully for her treatment of another contestant, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. Goody bad-mouthed Shetty's cooking of Indian food, mocked her accent and referred to her as "Shilpa Poppadom." While complaints against the show skyrocketed, so did ratings.
Goody's treatment of Shetty sparked anger in India and Britain — even becoming the topic of debate during a House of Commons question-and-answer session with then Prime Minister Tony Blair. A major sponsor suspended its advertising deal with "Celebrity Big Brother," and a chain of perfume shops pulled a Goody-endorsed fragrance, ironically named "Shh..."

After television viewers voted to evict Goody from the show, Goody — herself of mixed race — insisted she wasn't a racist. "I argue like that with everybody. It wasn't just because of the color of her skin that I was that aggressive," she said during an interview on Britain's GMTV.
After the eviction, the Indian Tourism Office invited Goody to travel to the country. She did, visiting charity projects and later agreeing to appear on an Indian version of the show.
"The people of India have only seen a small part of me and I'd like to show them that there is more to me," Goody said. "I'm a mother of two, a businesswoman. I can't be all that bad."

It was during filming of the show in the summer of 2008 that Goody received a diagnosis of cervical cancer by telephone from a doctor in Britain. The camera captured the deeply personal moment, which was shown repeatedly on TV in Britain, though not in India.
The progress of her illness was chronicled in detail in the tabloid press and weekly magazines, to the unease of many.

"Goody isn't rich or famous because she won the lottery: she's rich and famous because we bought all those papers and magazines and ghosted books with her on the cover, because we watched her television series, because we cheered when she was good and booed when she was bad, because we sat around discussing her over lunch," wrote columnist India Knight in The Sunday Times. "Now she's dying, she's making us all feel bad so we want her to go away, like a broken toy that's stopped being fun." In February, a bald and frail Goody, married fiancee Jack Tweed in an elaborate event staged at an elegant countryside hotel outside London. She reportedly sold the photos for more than $1 million.
Goody defended being paid for interviews and photo shoots.

"People will say I'm doing this for money," she said. "And they're right, I am. But not to buy flash cars or big houses — it's for my sons' future if I'm not here. I don't want my kids to have the same miserable, drug-blighted, poverty-stricken childhood I did."

Before her rise to fame, Goody worked for a period as a dental nurse. She had an unhappy childhood in a poor south London neighborhood. Her father was a heroin addict who served jail time for robbery and died in 2005, her mother a former crack addict who lost the use of an arm in a motorcycle accident.

While many empathized with Goody as she underwent surgery and chemotherapy in the public eye — filming part of the experience for another television series — she still inspired vitriol in others. A Web site was even set up, devoted to predicting when she would die.

In February 2009 Goody's publicist said the cancer had spread to her liver, bowel and groin.
Goody is survived by Tweed and her two sons Bobby and Freddie, with an ex-boyfriend, television presenter Jeff Brazier. She also is survived by her mother, Jackiey Budden.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Feeling blah on the first day of spring

Today is the first day of Spring and it is pretty darn nice outside. But I am just not feeling it. Being home the last ten days has started to take a toll on me. I am still really tired but I am starting to feel blah and blue. I know not being able to workout and not getting out of the house etc is impacting it and there are other stressors going on. (And my lack of caffeine doesn't help!)

Today the doc said I can slowly start working out again but no chest or overhead weight lifting, and no running yet. I can walk and bike ride and probably elliptical but nothing to "bouncy" yet. :-)

I am still off work a few more days to get some rest but the kids are also home for spring break and the little one is starting up soccer and more Irish dance classes. Hopefully I can get up the energy to go for a walk in the wonderful weather this weekend.

Happy Spring everyone!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fingers Crossed

I am still home and very tired but little to no pain. More than anything I have my fingers crossed that my "unveiling" on Friday will show a successful skin graft this time. The bandages are taped and stitched down so I can't even peek to see how it is doing. The waiting is killing me! ;-)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Surgery #8

Well I am home recovering from surgery #8. This one has gone very smooth. I am sore but the pain isn't too bad. The grafts are under wraps until next Friday so I don't know how they look but the other revisions are looking good. I am hoping this is the last surgery but there will still be tattooing at some point down the road.

After so many surgeries I don't get nervous anymore except for the IV part. Even after all this I still can't do needles very well. But that will be a never ending process because of my quarterly lab work.

Well recouping I am working on tons of projects on the computer and reading the Twilight series. I hope to be mobile soon so I can get back to my group at the YMCA. Granted I won't be lifting weights for awhile but I can certainly crack the whip! :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

From Christine Hassler's article in the Huffington Post

Emerging from cancer treatment at age 29, choreographer and writer Kairol Rosenthal embarked on a 5-year journey interviewing young adult cancer patients across the country. I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her own experience, her book, and living with cancer in one's twenties and thirties:

CH: How is being diagnosed with cancer in your twenties or early thirties different from being diagnosed at other times in life? What makes it harder/easier?

KR: Twenty and thirty-somethings are the largest group of uninsured and underinsured adults in America, so we are diagnosed at later more advanced stages. Unlike pediatric and older adults, no age-specific clinical trials exist to study our unique biological needs. We experience higher rates of depression than older cancer patients and face potential fertility complications as a side effect of treatment. Young adults experience more geographic, career, and relationship flux than our older counterparts. Moving, living with roommates, finishing college, changing jobs, dating, starting long-term relationships, and raising young children complicate the psycho-social terrain of cancer and interfere with continuity of care. On the upside, compared to older cancer patients, 20 and 30-somethings are more comfortable questioning our doctors and cite far more benefits from online health information. We are less likely to have complications from concurrent diseases like high blood pressure or heart disease. We often recover from treatment more easily than older patients. Few of us remember the days when cancer was a whispered word.CH: Why did you write the book Everything Changes?KR: I was diagnosed with cancer at twenty-seven. There were plenty of books geared to the AARP cancer crowd but no good resources for those of us cramming for finals, flirting in bars, climbing the first rung on our career ladder, or changing stinky diapers. The needs of 20 and 30-something cancer patients vary greatly from those of pediatric and older adults.

CH: If you had one thing to share with recently diagnosed 20 and 30 somethings that you wish you had been told, what would it be?

KR: You do not have to become a glittery superhero in order to fight adversity. Cancer is hard stuff. Strength comes from being real. Allow yourself to sometimes feel vulnerable and to have meltdowns. They do not last forever and you may even feel invigorated afterwards. Secondly, the definition of hope is fighting for your best care. Cancer is not only emotional and physical, it is administrative too and the burdens of paperwork can really impede our healing. Many hospitals have patient representative services or ombudsmen. If after your second try you are unsuccessful at getting records, obtaining procedural approval, or resolving a financial matter, have one of these professional advocates intervene on your behalf. Think, question, and shout when you need to.

CH: Can you share a little about some of the stories you highlight in the book?

KR: I found people who were raw and incredibly honest about living with the unknown most compelling. Wafa'a, in San Francisco, became addicted to clubbing because she was too afraid to be home alone thinking about her cancer. HollyAnna, from the Yakima Native American reservation, went through treatment while keeping her cancer diagnosis a secret from her husband and mom. Geoff, a junkie skateboarder in Oklahoma, put himself through substance abuse detox while doing in-patient chemotherapy. I had already seen the stories of cancer patients who climbed Mount Everest or ran the New York City marathon. I wanted instead lessons from cancer patients who were not on the six o'clock news yet were leading outrageous lives and had uncommon insights to share.

CH: What is a concern you heard repeated by many of the patients you spoke with?

KR: Many talked about the jarring shift after treatment when they were catapulted from a focused, regimented medical routine back into daily life. Friends and family are popping the champagne cork to celebrate the end of cancer, but many patients described this phase as just the beginning and often the hardest part of it all. For many, this was the first time since diagnosis that they were able to absorb the emotional bombshell of cancer. Add to this transitioning from acute to chronic care, managing long-term side effects and fear of reoccurrence, paying off medical bills, and gluing together the pieces of their fragmented college lives, careers, and relationships. This is a time when support peels away but patients may need it the most.

CH: What advice do you have for the loved ones of 20 and 30 somethings with cancer?
KR: Listen. Engage us in conversation, ask broad questions, and let us guide the discussion. If we don't want to talk, don't push us. If we do and our feelings don't make sense, are contrary, or we sound frustrated and irritated, that is normal. Go with the flow, let us vent, and don't try to make us feel better. We often feel isolated and misunderstood, and the best gift you can give us is just listening.

CH: What is the greatest gift you have received from your own diagnosis?
KR: One night during treatment I was in so much pain I wanted to die. This event of facing my own mortality cracked open part of my heart, and brought me closer to understanding how others face pain and suffering. As a result I've become a much less judgmental person. It sounds so cheesy. I'm not a touchy feely person, but there is no other way to couch the experience.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It is official

I am now a certified personal trainer! I passed my National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) test last week. And I am also certified cancer exercise specialist. I have started down my new journey and I am loving it.

That was part of why I was MIA for so long. I was studying like crazy in addition to heading out Las Vegas just hours after taking the exam. Hubby and his team were bowling in the National Bowling Open so we all headed town for several days of fun.

Now I am back home for a few days before heading off for a work comp seminar in Sun Valley. Then back home for less than a week and then I will be having surgery. So you can see I needed to get that test out of the way so I could focus on so many other things. Actually right now I should be finishing up packing and sorting through medical bill print-out for taxes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Still here

Sorry! There has been lots of things going on. It is all good but it has taken up a lot of time and energy. I will try to post details in the next day or two.