SO MUCH

HEALTH UPDATE: Woah. Still the same! Scan coming up on March 22nd. I’m praying for stable results. I’m completely satisfied with stable. No need to get greedy. The snow has melted leaving a clear path to walk. I’m ecstatic but my knee is angry. It is getting close to pursuing treatment. PT continues to decrease muscle and joint pain!

Ramblings….

Where to begin? I’ve got major spaghetti brain! I’m ready to stick a fork in my ear. SO MUCH going on. Let’s start with the covid vaccine. I’m eligible March 29th and really excited to have my turn. I’m thrilled with the thought of feeling safe. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel completely safe but just that glimmer of hope is really something to savor.

One year ago I had my first immunotherapy treatment. It seems like yesterday. How could it be an entire year? So much has happened. I’m still here. That happened. In a lot of ways I feel like I have ptsd. If it wasn’t a common side affect of pancreatic cancer patients, I could easily say that my diagnosis scared the shit out of me. Bad poop joke, lol. That issue has been long gone. Fevers, gone. Weight loss, really gone. Fatigue, anemia, stomach pain. Gone. All gone. I am blessed, thankful and oh so grateful.

I push those feelings aside to make room for the grief that still exists from the loss of my dad. He passed 8 years ago on March the 15th. How on earth could that be? I still replay that day. I picked up a plastic bowl and a bunch of fruit on my way to hospice that morning. It was a food fest as we sat with our deteriorating dad. Snacks, cookies, cakes, bars. Feel good food to make the pain go away, if only for a few bites. There was a request for something healthier. I filled the order and dropped the bananas when I got the call while still on my way that his time was near. Very near. It wouldn’t be long. But it was long. He waited until 7 pm that evening. He waited for his priest to arrive. He waited for one final earthly blessing. F cancer!!! I miss him.

I’ve been amazed at the weather. The snow has disappeared in the blink of an eye. I’ve been watching the mulch under our crabapple tree. I’m watching for a few special sprouts. I planted lilly of the valley last spring with Willow. I remember being crushed with the thought that I wasn’t going to be here to see if they returned. Here I am. I sense my next challenge. The reminders of a time bomb of mortality. Ticking at my soul for months. It almost broke me down completely. Now it’s the memories. Thank you blog for helping me to write this out and make sense of it all. I know what to do. Quit rehashing. You are still here. Act like it!

I’m enjoying my podcast project more than I could ever have imagined. I’ve got 3 episodes recorded and ready to go. I need a few more before publishing. I have also signed up to raise funds for Gilda’s Club of Madison. I will go over the edge and rappel 14 stories at the Hilton in Madison on August 15th. I’m surprised that I do not feel one ounce of fear. I think it may come as I’m looking down? Right now I’m PUMPED! I pray to be here and healthy to complete my mission. To anyone that would like to support this wonderful organization: https://runsignup.com/Race/86469/Donate/O3kVjhhVXmyuGA6y

I wish I could share my many blessings with those that need them. I will pray for all and continue to be grateful.

Let the fun begin

HEALTH UPDATE: I feel almost identical to the way I felt 3 weeks ago. We shall see what my lab tests reveal. Blogging in real time today. 10:21 am. Checked in for my lab appointment.

Ramblings…

I think it always hits me when I walk by the abandoned coffee corner. It’s closed and bare. Today I noticed a broom handle peeking from behind the clear glass case that once hosted cookies, scones, sandwiches and fruit. It’s sad enough! Can’t you put away the broom? The coffee carafes are lined up and ready for the day this damn virus is contained.

I have a late appointment today. There are so many more people around! I’m called in quickly. It’s nurse Rachel! She has the touch of an angel. The needle nearly feels like a massage as she stabs my port for access to my blood story. I imagine that my urine sample is at least 50 percent straight up coffee. Sorry, TMI. I proceed to the lower level for my appointment with my oncologist. I have about a 30 minute wait while my test results are being produced. I feel pretty relaxed today. Only slightly nervous. I always tell myself that if I get too relaxed it will jinx me and all hell will break loose. Kind of like wearing the same shirt for football playoffs. It’s 10:46 a.m.

It is 11:06 a.m. I start stalking mychart for results. In the 3 seconds it takes to log in, my heart falls out of my toes. I’m instantly freaked out. I would call it condensed. Which is worse? A condensed quick fear or a long slow moderate fear over a few days? I don’t have an answer. It’s kind of irrelevant since the fear will be either over or realized in the next hour. Or right now. It’s 11:18 a.m. I’ve reviewed all my labs and they are nearly flawless. The scary one that had gone up twice in a row is now back to normal. I’m so relieved. I’m still in shock that I am so lucky. My heart is pouring out to the visitors that I’m sharing this waiting room with. I pray that they are lucky too.

I’m anticipating small talk at my appointment and from there I’ll take a stroll to the treatment area where I will be blessed with a transfusion of liquid miracles.

It’s 12:11 p.m. now. I’m in the waiting area by the elevators just outside the UW Carbone Cancer Center cancer treatment clinic. My appointment went well. As I expected, small talk commenced and a quick check of my heart and lungs. She asked me to be part of a zoom panel. There wasn’t much more information given other than she thought of me. I said sure.

2:02 p.m. I’m all hooked up. I’ll be done with the infusion in 60 minutes. I have a deluxe room today with a window and a bed! I would be fine with a chair. I remember being in one of these rooms with my dad. It was a bad day for him. I don’t remember what the specific problem was. I just want to get out of here. I’ll be on my way upon 30 minutes of observation after my infusion is complete.

It looks beautiful outside! I’m so very lucky to be here and I’m so excited for spring! I’m also excited to be getting closer to launching my podcast. I have two episodes ready to go. My vision of what this could be is amazing. I’m hoping there are people that are willing to share their stories. It will be wonderful and will hopefully offer hope for those of us that need and appreciate it so much.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

laugh, cry, share, thrive!

HEALTH UPDATE: Kicking the tumor monster’s butt, one day at a time! Not much has changed. My knee is very angry. It is swollen and just mad. PT has helped muscle aches immensely. Weight gain has seemed to slow down. I’m so excited for warm weather and long walks again! I’ll go in next week for my treatment, God willing!

Ramblings…..

Oh ramblings…how I’ve loved you so. You set me free. You clear my heart and soul of the many troubling fears of living with cancer. Why haven’t I been writing like a maniac in recent months? Calm times bring to me a calm mind. I’m grateful. I’m also grateful to everyone that has helped me along the way. The countless people that have gotten me to where I am today. So many people. My family, my friends, doctors, nurses! People I don’t know! The outpouring has been heart bursting. Thank you.

Well…I asked God for guidance. Tell me! What I am supposed to do with this experience? This love of life. The feeling of hope that I’ve somehow been lucky enough to have in my heart. Help me share these beautiful thoughts in the middle of these scary times. I hope I found my answer.

I was inspired at my last appointment. It’s the eyes! It is all of the eyes I see. No faces. Masks and eyes. Beautiful, loving eyes. Sad eyes. Scared eyes. Warriors without support. Amazing nurses and doctors with so much love to give. They care. They care so hard. It’s in their eyes too. I love them all and appreciate them so much.

I was sitting in the waiting room. I scan the area, as I almost always do. I realize that if I could see their faces and if they looked open to conversation, I would probably at least say hello. Now I just look at everyone’s eyes. I don’t dare intrude on what they are thinking. I’m a rambler! What if they just want to be alone? What if they are always alone? Here I am. I have what feels like a gazillion supporters. What if they don’t have enough support? Or any? Then I think of so many people being isolated due to covid. Friends are so important right now! This is where it gets exciting.

I will be publishing a podcast soon. It is called HELLO CANCER FRIENDS! Yes!! I will ramble! But not too much….(Zzzzzzz!!!)! LOL! My vision is to invite everyone to listen and also to share stories. If you have been touched by cancer, share your story! This is for everyone. Maybe you are a survivor in or out of treatment. Perhaps you’ve lost someone or maybe you have a friend or loved one going through cancer. Caregivers have so much to give. I want to hear those stories too. I know there are inspirational stories out there. I know that miracles can come true! I’m living proof! I want the world to know there is always hope. There are people that care. People to learn from and become inspired by. Please visit my new website http://www.hellocancerfriends.com. There is a “share” section if you would like to share your story and get this party started! I will be reading some of the stories on the podcast.

I know my prayers have been answered. Again! I know nothing about podcasts. I have never listened to one before about a week or so ago. I have no expectations other than to help at least one person. If that should happen it will be yet another happy day. I will keep you posted on the progress and I’m hoping to blast off and ready to go in a few weeks…which might mean a month. LOL. As always, I need to keep it real!

As for the theme of the podcast…you guessed it!

LAUGH, CRY, SHARE, THRIVE!

Amazing graphic design, web, etc. by my incredible husband Tom

love you all!

the social experiment

HEALTH UPDATE: PT is helping!!!! I still have bad days but I also have noticeable improvement!

Ramblings…

Here I am. At the hospital again. I feel guilt for being tired of this routine. I’m teetering on the edge of despising my visits. The worry. The slap into reality walking into this hospital. This place is real life. Everyone wears a mask here. No more faces. Just eyes. It’s the social experiment of a lifetime. Living with cancer during a pandemic.

My slight disdain for this appointment today helps me to almost not care what my lab results reveal. For moments leading to this appointment I do not care. What happens, happens. Tired of caring. It’s been beautifully boring anyways. I just need to go through the motions to satisfy the drug company that is supporting this trial. The drug company that is saving my life. I love this drug company. I’ve been told that they pretty much put the breaks on the study now because a different company beat them to the FDA approval. Science and development of these life saving drugs blow me away. I’m so very grateful.

I feel encouraged immediately upon registration. The smiling eyes are everywhere. The people that help me are amazing. All my friends are at the lab. They welcome me. Take care of me. They offer warm conversation. I leave the lab with a little pep in my step as I feel the warmth of their caring ways. Off to see PA Jenna. It’s not until I’m seated in the waiting room that I remember I have my mychart app to stalk for results. They are slowly coming in. My heart races. I care. I can try to tell myself I don’t care but I’m wrong. This is after all, my life I’m talking about. The results are in and I’m cleared for treatment. I’m thankful but my suspicious eyes focus on a few results that are creeping out of whack. Jenna assures me we are ok. I’m suspicious. This will be in my thoughts until it’s tested normal again.

I have a VIP room today. A window and a glass door! Pretty irrelevant but hey, I’m writing and when I spill it, I really spill it. Lol. What I’m also needing to spill is that I still cannot believe this is happening to me!!! I. Have. Cancer! I feel 60/40 good/bad about cancer. How can someone feel good about cancer? I feel good because I’m proud. I’m thankful. I’m inspired. Praying for continuation of this amazing life.

❤️

Shoveling

HEALTH UPDATE: Mostly the same! Physical therapy was great! Also tried 20 minutes of yoga. Feels hopeful. Otherwise, zero major health drama!

Ramblings…

I love snow. I’m craving frosting because today the beautiful snow looks just like a million pounds of powdered sugar. I love to shovel. I have close and strong feelings for my shovel. It’s a special shovel. It’s the second one I’ve gotten. The first one broke during a 17” storm of heavy wet snow. I can’t recall the year. I remember feeling really disappointed that there was no fix. It was several years old. What were the odds that I could find a replacement? I went back to the source and there she was. Same shovel except for the stick part. Orange instead of yellow. I wanted an exact duplicate but beggars can’t be choosers. Orange it is! The new shovel handled just like my old broken one. It is so light. If it’s only a dusting outside I can sweep up the flakes with one hand. Her plastic scoop dances over the concrete like we are hand in hand on a ballroom floor. She’s delicate but sturdy. If it’s a heavy snow adjustments are made. Smaller scoops but with the same reliability.

My beautiful shovel. Lol.

The whole thing just gets more bizarre. When it comes to shoveling I’m completely crazy. I don’t know when this started or why. I’m just so particular. There is a certain level of clean up that must be done. I live in the city so there is a sidewalk, curb and gutter. The two corners at the end of the driveway must be exposed and clean of snow. If it isn’t, the width of the driveway becomes smaller and smaller as winter progresses. Next thing you know the car won’t fit through the end of the driveway! There must be room for our most amazing mail carriers to reach our mailbox. There must be room for our garbage can on every Thursday. Therefore, snow is shoveled until at least a speck of curb is exposed. The sidewalk and driveway must be shoveled to the edge of the concrete. Like the end of the driveway, if you let it go it will freeze and never be the full true width until spring. If you are reading this and are my neighbor, I hope this answers a lot of questions you may have if you have ever watched me shovel. Ha ha.

I love this! It looks really good and I truly enjoy looking at it when it’s all done.
Exposed corner. Room for garbage can on Thursday.
Exposed corner and room for mail truck.

Today was the best shoveling day, possibly ever. It was so deep, light and fluffy! Neighbor Bill is so kind. He removed all the snow from our entire driveway and sidewalk! It was awesome because there was so much work yet for me to do. As I was carving out my corners, I reflected on last year this time. I could barely sit up, let alone shovel. I was too exhausted to reach for a tissue. I was so sick. I missed the entire shoveling season. I really do not recall shoveling once. Neighbor Walter took care of our snow removal all of last winter. Another kind and generous neighbor. Many thanks!! I’m praising God for my renewed strength and energy. I’m looking at my work. The front looks good. It won’t last forever though. The city plow will surely cover my exposed curb and corners. There is so much snow. It will be a job for the blower. It will take care of the heavy weight of street snow. My beloved shovel will take care of the details. Cancer has the same concept. It will likely get messy again at some point. I’ll just need to go clean it up again. Another real life story to add to my analogies of having cancer. There are new coping skills to be applied to my current situation everywhere I turn.

I’m not done yet. This is winter 2021, covid-19 style. We’ve got activity space in the backyard. It’s no cook out in the front but it will have to do. I go to the back next and take care of the paths. I have one from the driveway, along the side of the house and down the back to our hillbilly skating rink. We made a little one for Willow out of a waterbed liner. It took longer than expected to freeze but that baby is ready to skate on! Next is the path down the sledding hill for easy return up the hill. It’s a fun little hill! It’s not enormous or steep but it’s still fun. It’s perfect for Willow’s snow scooter. Tom and Willow love to ride the sled down together. I love it too. Especially getting on the ground and even funnier, getting back up.

Backyard
Hillbilly ice rink.

What an amazing day. I loved every bit of it.

Stable

HEALTH UPDATE: Stable scans! Stable labs! Labs had some blips of abnormalities but nothing I haven’t seen before. I’m hooked up for immunotherapy as we speak. Drip drip.

Ramblings….

I’ve gone through every emotion under the sun in the past few weeks. Sadness, depression, anger, rage, fear, love, appreciation, happiness and pure joy. I could write about the bad stuff. More of the same emotional roller coaster that I’ve experienced with these troubled times, this dreaded disease and the pure terror that the thought of leaving this world sometimes brings. I think I’ll leave the details out this time. It’s time to move along today. Keep fighting the good fight. Continue to dig deep not only seeking the best in every situation but also being forever grateful all situations exist.

❤️

WILD!

HEALTH UPDATE: Good, I think? Life is distracting me. I feel slightly crippled. My legs! Trying to exercise but it makes me feel worse. Not going to stop. Signed up for physical therapy. Otherwise feeling pretty good. A little tired. A few feelings where the tumor monster resides. Not pain. Just feelings. Who knows? I’ll know. Soon. Scan on Tuesday next week.

Ramblings….

Hello keyboard. My old friend. Life has been good. It’s been pretty quiet. No health drama to report. No crazy feelings to ramble about lately. Just living the dream. Then along comes week 3. Every third week. Let’s see how the next chapter will be written. This third week is also the ninth week which means a new ct scan. Gahhhh!! I’m beginning to think that my “Whatever happens, happens! I’m alive! I’m happy to have made it this long!” honeymoon is over. Here is the new deal. The more I start to think I’ll make it, the harder it is to face the realization that I may not. This makes the waiting tricky. I try not to think about next week. It’s kind of haunting me though. It’s hard not to think about it. Truth of the matter is that I better get used to it because this is what it will be for the rest of my life.

Speaking of my life…it’s precious. Your life is precious. ALL life is precious!! A life that was extra precious to me was lost very recently. My sweet friend Connie. I met her at a friends wedding many years ago. She met a close friend of ours at this same wedding and they dated for many years. It didn’t pan out but Connie and I remained friends. She really had a heart of gold. On top of that she was HILARIOUS! She was so quiet and polite. I remember the first dirty joke she told. I stopped and made a look. You know that look. What did you just say? What?! Bwahahaha!!!!! Laughter! So. Much. Laughter. We ended up calling her WILD Connie. I can’t remember why but if I had to guess it would be because she was so quiet but she was SO WILD!! Every greeting was WIIIIIILD CONNIE!!!! Her reply would always be “WIIIILD CATHY!!”!! I was always happy to see her. I never had one ounce of bad vibe from her. Ever. I loved her. When I helped her buy her house we had a great time. She was so fun. Always happy. So funny. She was a good friend. There was a time when we stopped seeing each other. Life got in the way. We connected on Facebook and I always knew which posts were hers without seeing her name. I’ll miss those naughty posts. I’ll miss Connie. A lot. It’s so final. It’s so unsettling. I hate this feeling. It was so sudden and completely unexpected. Part of life. Death. I really think the dying have the good part of the deal. She’s in heaven. Beautiful heaven. We are left here to mourn. I pray for WIIIILD CONNIE, her family and friends. RIP WILD!!

Peace, safety and love to all!!

Happy 2021!

HEALTH UPDATE: Same! Muscle and joint pain but overall good! Next appointment, including ct scan, will be 1/20/21.

Ramblings…..

Here I am again. Sitting in the waiting room at the Carbone Cancer Clinic. It’s starting to feel routine. It’s almost certain that I will play out this routine for the rest of my days. Highs and lows. Mostly lows when I get here. In the waiting room. I would guess every fellow warrior that I see has it worse than me. I feel fine. Except for the crippling leg pain. I cannot stand without using my arms to get up. Weird. My prognosis is a question mark. The odds on paper are horrific but I’m different. Everything about my cancer seems to be different. It’s turning out to be a very good thing.

I wonder where everyone else is in their journey. The man just called back to his room must be a salesman. He looks terrific. There are only two other people waiting. One lady has a double mask. Smart. I considered that but I like to breath. Another gal is running low on oxygen. Omg. Can you imagine? She asked if there was somewhere that she could connect to get more. The receptionist sounds like she’s never been asked this before. She leaves to ask a nurse. It’s depressing here. It brings me back to reality. I still cannot believe I have pancreatic cancer.

I’ve been waiting about 10 minutes. My appointment isn’t for another 40 minutes. I had my labs drawn so waiting for results. I’m not as anxious about checking for the results as I was last time. Quite honestly, I’m kinda thinking….f it! It is what it is! Uh oh. That’s not my normal go get em spirit. I woke up happy and confident. I’m in full motivational cancer gear. It’s like game day for cancer! Jeans, “I am loved carbone strong” t shirt, f cancer bracelet, heart bracelet, brave as f necklace and my beloved heart cross necklace made with love by sister Melanie. I’m wearing so much support. Why the sads? Probably because cancer sucks shit.

I’m starting to feel anxious. Results. I’m starting to feel angry. F it! What does this mean? I might be getting sick of this. Am I ungrateful? I don’t think so. I’ve just spent so much time being thankful and grateful that I’ve given cancer a pass. Cancer does not deserve a pass! It’s mean and awful and it’s really ticking me off today. Mad phase.

That felt good. I’m going to shut my eyes now. I’ll clear the negative energy from my heart so there is room for more thanks. Better. Now I’m going to check for results. It’s like waiting in line to ride the demon at great America. Heart is excited. Nervous. And…..I’m fine. LABS. LOOK. AWESOME!

I’m a miracle! A M I R A C L E !!!! Maybe someday I’ll get used to this crazy life. For now I’m still continuously shocked and relieved. While I wait for my miracle concoction I will count my blessings and attempt to organize some thoughts for my future. As much as I have enjoyed life and lived to the fullest since my diagnosis, I think there has always been an asterisk. *months, not years. I’m beginning to consider believing there could be more. Maybe even reversed? Years, not months? I can’t go there. My heart is too tender. The smoke is starting to billow from my ears though. To live such an incredible and miraculous life must mean I’m still here for a reason. What is my purpose? I feel like there is something I need to do. I will pray for guidance.

For now, I’m gonna party like it’s almost 2021! Happy new year!!!!!!

Waiting Room

HEALTH UPDATE: All is well. Waiting for treatment.

Ramblings in real time…..

I really just want to hug everyone here at the hospital today. My fellow warriors here at the Carbone Cancer Clinic are looking tired and sad today. We are alone without our cheerleaders. We are distanced. I can only see eyes. I’ve caught the glance of others from across the waiting room. I smile, not knowing if they can tell. We shyly look away. I’m tired today. Do my eyes look sad too? Can they tell I’m smiling at them? Trying to give them warmth? I want to ramble with them but I can’t see their faces. I can’t tell if it would be awkward. I remain quiet but I’m sending eye language that speaks of care and support.

I’ve been moved to the little room where I will meet with my oncologist. I was weighed again and still gaining. I’ve made so many adjustments to my life to stop this from happening. I will continue to do so to grow stronger but I’ll need to accept that my sick weight was artificial. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that weight again. It may seem like no big deal and I should be grateful I’m not losing. This is not the case. I’m horrified of being overweight. It’s an emotional as well as a physical struggle. Something to keep working on.

I’m nervous. I’m checking mychart over and over for new results as they come in. Cbc looks perfect. Urine. Not so much. Something new that I need to Google. Could be dehydration. It has something to do with my kidneys. Shit. Calm down. Quit self diagnosing. How many times do I need to do this to myself??!! I look back to several other urine results. This is new. Back in June it was noted that it was there but at a normal level. Now it’s high. I need more blood results! Ok. Someone started my tests and then went on break. Damn it. Relax. I’d like to see my creatinine and lipase please. Once those are confirmed normal and I move on to treatment all in the moment will be well.

Why do I do this? WHY?! All is well. Lipase (tumor marker) normal. Creatinine. Normal. The only thing still normal but only by a hair that catches my eye is chloride. Quick google. Bam! Dehydration! That’s easy enough. I’ll drink more water today! I’ll drink it all damn day long!!! Ahh. A window to the inside of the thoughts of a crazed and insecure hypochondriac with cancer. Laugh or cry? I don’t know. Let’s see what the expert says. As I am fully aware, my assessments are almost always wrong. Lol. I’ve got a lot going for me today though. I can feel it.

I’ve heard my doctor coming down the hall. She always has the click click clicks going on. Psych. She goes into a room across the hall. I hear her accent. Hello! She must be busy. She’s behind today. Hopefully she can catch up when she meets with me. I’m so easy now. I hope to rehash our thanksgiving days and touch base on Christmas plans. I should have brought her a gift today. She is like family to me now. She is off for my next appointment on 12/30. Good for her. I won’t see her again after today until next year! Cheers to 2021.

I’m still waiting. I suspect I’ll be cleared to have my miracle concoction today. Ooh. Door opens. Click click? Yes…….

I’m right! Possible dehydration! Everything else is “perfect”. Only disappointing news is that my doctor thought I was always thin. She thinks now that my body is going back to its baseline. This produces feelings that are hard to admit. I liked being thin. I hate being overweight. I. Hate. It. My metabolism hates me. It’s cursed me for years. Of course I’m grateful to be here. This is just something that I’m so sick of battling. What do I have to do? It’s sad that the only way I can get to the “normal” weight on the BMI scale is to get cancer. I know gimmicks wont work. No pills. No carb less sugar less diets. They will only work temporarily. I firmly believe that exercise and a healthy diet is the only sustainable option for me. Tom is reading this and I know exactly what he’s thinking…..”honey…..it’s the chocolate chips and the cookies!”. He won’t say it out loud though. All right. I’m going to tackle this recurring issue head on. I shall call it the blob. I will embrace the battle of the blob. After the holidays. Lol. Yeah. I know. I just don’t want to have guilt throughout Christmas. I will still be mindful. The more I gain, the more I’ll need to lose.

Forever being mindful of the many gifts my life has given, I’ll appreciate my struggles but will be forever grateful for this life. This Christmas. My God. My family. My friends. I pray for all on the planet. May you find peace and safety this holiday season and always.

Merry Christmas ❣️

Keeping the faith

HEALTH UPDATE: Same. My next appointment is December 9th for lab tests and treatment, God willing.

Ramblings…

It’s been one year. December 5, 2019. The one year anniversary of my last pedicure. Everything has changed since that moment. I walked in for an hour or so of relaxation. I always get the French style on my toes. I absolutely love the attention to my skin and how, like magic, they turn my feet from sandpaper to silky love. It was a selfish luxury and at the same time I was defying the rules to sit at home waiting for the results if my biopsy. I had been waiting for days. I was completely oblivious to what was soon to be the shock of my life.

My feet are soaking. I try to be brave and pick a color. I can’t do it. But Christmas is coming! Sometimes I’ll go deep red or go for the glitter. Not this time. I’m striving for normalcy as I’m reminded over and over in my mind how nothing will be normal until I get rid of whatever it is that I have. French please. For a moment all is right in my mind…..until the phone rings It’s my doctor. I’m mad. I’ve been waiting how long for this official diagnosis and you decide to call me in the smack dab middle of my happy time? In the middle of my deep tissue chair massage? Nope. Nope. Nope. YOU can wait. Like she’s going to be so disappointed she can’t give me the news. I defiantly hit the screen. Declined. Oh great. She leaves a voicemail. Call her. She has results.

I debate. I ultimately return the call. I’m not even half way through the pedicure. She tells me it isn’t what we were hoping to hear. Acinar Cell Carcinoma involving the spleen. It’s pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic? Yes! THAT ONE?!! I’m shaking as I write it down. I really start freaking out. Crying. Rocking. Saying NO, NO, NO! I ugly cry in my happy place until my pedicure is finished. I need to go home and tell Tom. I’m glad we are busy that day. Tom needs to pick up Willow from school and I go to see my mom. It was one of the most difficult days of my life.

What a difference a year makes. It doesn’t feel like a year has passed. I’m so much healthier. I still have a long way to go. I’ve learned so much. I’m forever grateful for this life and this opportunity to live. I still find it almost impossible to wrap my mind around how rare my type of cancer is and how fortunate I am to be a recipient of life saving immunotherapy. Why is MY tumor filled with so many mutations? Why are so many of my fellow pancreatic cancer warriors robbed of this chance to survive? I’ve read many stories from warriors through my support groups. The fighters, the caregivers, the loved ones. It’s heartbreaking. Some people survive weeks or months after diagnosis. Most are beyond miserable during this time. Constantly trying to find the right concoction of pain meds or chemo to keep their tumors from growing and spreading. I don’t have that right now. It blows me away. I’m so lucky.

No matter what happens from here, I know I lived my best life this past year. The beginning was hard. Really hard. Prayers were answered and a new life began for me. A life of overwhelming appreciation and the reality that it doesn’t last forever. Take advantage of every moment if given the chance.

The best times….

Willow’s Christmas party at school 2019

Healing snuggles
Springtime planting
Picnic in the front yard
Sidewalk chalk!
Giant Jenga!
Backyard campout
Crazy wedding anniversary
Willow turned 6!
Lakefront walks
My world
LOL!!!
We love our walks
Picking our pumpkins
So fun!
Thriller dance!
First snowfall
Giving thanks 2020
God is so good

Blessings, love and safety to all!!