Friday, July 29, 2011

Cherry Slushies, Inspired by Brandie

Today's post is by Eryn, whom I first met over on twitter! And is just an amazing, supportive friend.

Eryn is a homeschooling mom of two kids that are FAR better behaved than she deserves. You can find her crafting, homeschooling & cooking escapades at her blog, Hearth to Heart or you can find her tweeting snarky things she should probably regret in the morning on Twitter as @Leighbra.

Chemo takes a lot of things from you. Your energy, your hair, your appetite. Brandie told me recently that one of the few things she could keep down is Sonic's Slushies. I laughed, because immediately after a dental surgery last month, all that existed to me in the world was Sonic Drive-In. My hero husband drove two towns over to get me to one.

This is a recipe that allows you to get your slushie fix, without putting on pants. The recipe is open to interpretation; you can add sugar, change up the juices, add fresh fruit. You are the boss of this recipe.

Cheery Cherry Slushies:

In a blender, pour:
  • 1 can lemon-lime soda
  • 2 cups 100% cherry juice (in this case, Cherry Pomegranate)
  • HALF a packet of Cherry Kool-Aid
  • 1/3rd a cup of Splenda OR alternatively 1/4 cup of sugar. Modify to taste.

Fill blender 4/5ths of the way with ice

Blend until desired consistency

This recipe makes about 4 servings, because Brandie is a mama & no mama can enjoy homemade slushies with pesky kids giving her the "Where's mine?" face.
If a little vodka somehow sneaks into your recipe, who are we to judge?
Feel better, Brandie. Know that you're loved & we're all thinking about you. And Sonic. We're all thinking about you & Sonic.
*We are not responsible for any incidents of brain freeze. Slow down, silly!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cancer makes you do crazy things ...

First let me preface this with I'm generally a non-violent person. I believe an eye for eye makes the whole world blind, etc, etc. But sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures and you do things you never thought you'd do. Also, no on was injured during this.

I've often said I wish cancer was a person so I could go and beat him up. I never wanted to beat a person up before, but this time, I felt the need to just punch something. I suppose we could have gone to a gym and hit a punching bag. I didn't think of that until the other day. We have extra dishes here  I could have thrown. But we don't have a safe place to throw them what with the kids often walking around barefoot and me being paranoid that we wouldn't clean all the pieces up.

But Monday I had a doctor's appointment where I was sharing how stressed and emotional and just upset in general I was. And the doctor suggest maybe a shooting range. Keep in  mind I've never shot a gun. Never had a reason to shoot a gun. But I am lucky ... my parents own a farm and sometimes they have to take care of animals, so I called my dad and asked if I could come out and do some shooting.

My target

My dad teaching me how to load a gun

First shot
Which by the way it's not easy to shot a gun - which isn't a bad thing I don't think.

MY best shot almost smack in the middle!


I shot 17 rounds. I missed quite a few of the first ones. But I think overall I didn't do so bad!


Close-ups if you are interested:


I can't say I'll even want to pick up a gun and shot again. I can say however it was a great stress relief and did feel good to be shooing at cancer {and yes, being in a safe place where I didn't have to worry about anyone getting hurt}.

*As a side note. my scarf, which I wore precisely for this on purpose because it just has that wild factor to it, came from Tracey over at Just Another Mommy Blog!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Last one ...

Today I go in for what should be my last bad chemo treatment. I'm exited about this but also dreading it. Happy it's the last one. But I know what's coming. At least a week of feeling pretty darn icky.

But it's a small price to pay to get to be here for a long, long time. So even though there's a part of me that wants to call and cancel my appointment, I won't. I'll show up. I'll take my medicine and then I'll come home and climb into bed and hope the worst passes quickly.

For you though, this time I've gotten a few guest posts to share so the blog won't be completely empty. My only rule for the guest posts was there were no rules. I told them to write about anything they wanted to. I think it will be fun to have some different posts on here. I like having guest posters. I think I'll try to do it again someday.

{Also, if you want to guest post, let me know! Pop me an e-mail at Brandie185 (at) gmail (dot) com. I'd love it!}

As for me, I'll probably be doing  a lot of resting for the next week or so. And also, probably celebrating making it through the first four doses of chemotherapy. Because truly? It feels like a huge accomplishment to me. I'm proud of me for getting through. More than once I wished I could have quit. But I didn't. A lot of that is because of all the support I've been given. So thank you all for that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Last night a friend dragged me out of the house {okay, just semi-dragged me} to go and see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. I've been dying to see this, but it felt like the cancer and chemo had conspired against me to make it so it wouldn't happen. Normally, I would have gone at midnight to see the movie, but not this time.

We went to the drive-in to see it. Which was nice. I was able to bring food/drinks I knew I could tolerate. While I'm positive I'm the last person on Earth to see this movie, I won't say anything just in case you are still waiting to see it other than to say, it was good. But the book? Way way better! Then again I'm pretty sure I've never thought a movie was better than the book so it's the nature of the beast.

It was so nice to get out - I hadn't really been out in a while.

In other news: WIWOMH today:

Today I'm wearing a simple scarf. I bought it at Target or Kohl's (I'm sorry I don't remember which store). It might be one of my favorite. Just simple cotton but I love it. It doesn't hurt that purple is my favorite color ;-)


Monday, July 25, 2011


Today I am wearing this upon my head:

I bought it for myself shortly after diagnosis knowing my hair would be falling out. It was a treat so to say to myself.


I thought you should also see my shirt today because well, it's awesome and it rocks. It reads "Yes, they're fake The real ones tried to kill me >>Support Breast Cancer Advocacy<<

I think it's funny. Plus I had a visit with the plastic surgeon today so it was a fun shirt to wear there!


It's the sad truth. Some things are getting harder. It's getting harder to recover after each dose of chemo. The first dose I felt back to normal after a week. Now we're 1.5 weeks out and I still feel like a mess.

I've been more sick too. It's not constant. It comes and goes. It's mostly my stomach - I won't go into details other than to say, one minute I'm fine and then wham. I'm sick and feeling like crap for half the day. I hate to make plans. Just yesterday we were supposed to go to my mom's for dinner and had to cancel because I got sick right before it was time to leave. So we didn't go. We stayed home.

So I haven't really been making plans. Fearing I'll get sick and have to cancel last minute. Which feels worse than having nothing to do to me.

But it's getting harder. And I'm 6.5 weeks down out of 16. I go in Wednesday for the next dose. And I feel like I'm not sure I'll be recovered from the previous dose this time. The bonus is Wednesday is the last of what is the hardest medicines for me. Then we switch to ones that are supposed to be nicer, easier, gentler. And I pray that it is. Because it's getting harder to get through each treatment.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Today I am wearing this pink hat on my head. I knit* this.

I'm not really knitting much these days. Honestly, chemo has kind of caused me to temporarily (at least I hope) not want to knit much. It's too hard, takes too much thought, etc. Maybe if I just knit some simple scarves with no thought required? I don't know. I hate that I'm not knitting much (or even attempting sewing, stitching, anything else) but every time I pick it up, it just feels all wrong. I chalk it up to another side effect that will go away and hopefully sooner rather than later!

Anyway, I also took this picture using the camera in my computer. It's not the greatest shot, but it is the easiest for me to take. So we'll trade ease today for a bad picture. Because that's just how the day goes sometimes!

*For those wondering the pattern is the lace trim cap from this site. I used Aimee yarn from Louisa Harding. And followed the pattern as written.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Today I'm wearing this on my head


Oh yay, kind of a trick as I'm wearing nothing on my head. You may have heard but we're having this little heat wave around here. And I didn't need to leave the house today so I stayed uncovered.

Anyway, I also wanted to show you my bald head because I don't know if you can tell but I have a little bit of hair left. I kind of look a little like a fuzzball actually. But there is some hair. It's hanging on. I feel like it's telling the cancer f**k you ... you can't take all of us.

I'm also lucky because I still have eyebrows and eyelashes. Also, my leg hair seems to be growing back from when I last shaved, albeit slowly. But ha ha ha, cancer didn't take it all. And some days that feels pretty darn good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WIWOMH* 7/19

Welcome to the first edition of *What I'm Wearing On My Head. I've been meaning to do this since the hair loss but well, I keep forgetting and life keeps moving forward despite me looking for that pause button some days.

Today I am wearing this gorgeous scarf gifted to me by my friend Rachel and family (and no, she's not online so I can't link you anywhere).


I've been generously gifted many many things to wear upon my head. I think I could wear something different every day for many days. So I'm going to try to share one thing every day. Try is the key word here.

A bit of honesty

Note: I originally wrote this post in late May. I wasn't going to originally share it. I was going to just let it sit in draft form forever. But a recent conversation with my husband made me rethink it. I didn't go back and edit it. It's pretty raw. But it's real. And even now? This part feels really hard to share with the world, but I figure I've shared everything else with you, so why stop now? It's real. It's raw. It's not the prettiest thing. But there it is.  

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of taking a shower. And yes, it was my first shower post surgery and it seemed like it took forever for the doctor to give me permission. So the shower. I mean, it just felt so nice. And needed. And great.

But, you know. Okay, maybe you don't know. And I'm trying to find the right words. But I'm struggling. Because I don't know, maybe it's too much sharing. But at the same time, it helps me to work things out when I share here.

Anyway, the shower was lovely. But the thing is my bathroom has a pretty big mirror in it. And I haven't really looked in a mirror until that point. I mean, I've brushed my teeth and technically I have looked in the mirror. I guess I just haven't really looked at myself in the mirror. And it's no secret (or won't be the first time you look at me) that my body has changed just a tiny bit. And by tiny I mean a whole lot. And I know this. I knew this going into surgery. But it's one thing to know it and it's another to see it. And yes, it's a very small price to pay to get this cancer out. Still. You know, my body has changed. And while I've mostly accepted it, it can be hard to actually see. Because things are different. And there's this whole part of me that's, well, it's gone now.

I know I'm kind of tap dancing around this here. But my breasts? They are gone now. Just gone. Only one straight line of stitches is left in their place. And it's strange and weird and sad and even a bit depressing. Because it's like all of a sudden - standing in my bathroom - boom. It all just hits me. Right there. Like a punch in the stomach.

And oh yes, I know. I'm still beautiful. And I'm lovely on the inside. Yes, yes. I hear it. I believe people sincerely mean it when they say it too. And yet, there is still a small part of me that I need to convince myself that that is true. And I also know that I am the only person who can really convince myself of that, that I need to believe it's true. And I also have faith I will get there, it just won't happen overnight.

It's just another part of the process I have to get through right now. Another step in this journey.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finally ...

a post not about me!

Yesterday mister man did this:


Yep. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt and yesterday was his turn.

Actually, I feel a little badly about it. Because it was so hot yesterday we pulled out a kiddie pool we had for the kids to splash around in. He jumped in and out and one time slipped and went down. He kind of cried. More like he whined. And whined. And he told us "I broke my arm. I need an arm cast like big sister had."

But he wasn't screaming. And for a while he sat and watched tv and didn't make a noise - except to occasionally tell us he broke his arm and could we take him to the doctor yet? We soon realized he was fine as long as he didn't move his arm, but moving it was a problem. So husband took him to the er, just in case.

Good thing too! He's being pretty cute about it now that he has his cool glow in the dark cast that everyone can sign.

Anyway, just another day in the life. Just more fun around here. =)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blah, blah, Whine, blah, blah

First I advice you to get some cheese before reading this because there is lots of whine coming your way. Starting with I'm taking a break from being sick to even write this.

For the last 2 movies and the last 3 Harry Potter Books, the oldest and I have made a date of going at midnight to see the movie or pick up the book. It was our thing. Funnily enough, she wasn't even reading the books when she went with me to the release parties and getting the books. Usually people came with us. Once it was just the two of us. I loved it. She loved it.

This year we had big plans - we were going to the movie. We'd have approximately 6 other people with us. It's the final book. We were going to do it right.

And then along came cancer. And chemo. And it just so happens that chemo was yesterday and Harry Potter comes out today. Which try as I might I can't make the movie. So now she is going with her best friend and her best friend's mom (also my close friend). Part of whom we would have been going with anyway. Which is fine. Except I don't get to be there.

We thought maybe I could go next week and whoever wanted to see it twice, could tag along. And now, now I can't even see it next week. Because now we know for sure (since it's happened twice) my white blood cell counts will plummet and a theater probably isn't the best place for me. And since I'd like to not end up in the hospital, who knows when or if I'll get out to see it. And even if I could go in 3 weeks or pretend it's in the theater 2 months from now. It still wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't be at midnight on opening night with my daughter. And i can't lie. It sucks big time. It's like another thing cancer has taken away from us. And darn-it. I'm getting pretty darn tired of it. I can't wait to kick cancer to the curb and get it out of my life forever. And forever.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm Lucky ...

Sometimes even I need a reminder ...

I'm lucky I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A cancer in which a lot is known and the doctors are well aware of how to treat it.

I'm lucky I have insurance. I can't imagine how we'd pay the bills otherwise. No. Actually I can imagine. We'd be paying them for the next many many years.

I'm lucky we had (albeit not large) savings. Because even with insurance, there are portions we have to pay. And they add up quickly.

I'm lucky because of all the help we've had. Since Mid-May we've been getting 3-4 meals a week. How blessed we are. It's been a huge help. And we're so appreciative of it.

I'm lucky because of all the support we've had. I'm pretty sure there are hundreds of people out there praying/sending good thoughts/thinking of me. Many of whom I've never met.

I'm lucky because I'm in the hands of some amazing doctors. I've heard from other medical profesionals how wonderful my doctors are. I'd like to say it's because I researched it and picked only the best, but the truth is it's only by chance I landed with the doctors I've landed with.

I'm lucky I have family and friends close close. Especially my mom. She has been an amazing god send to us during this time. She's here almost on a daily basis. Drives me to my appointments and helps with the kids without complaint. That's just one example. All of our family and friends have been amazing.

I'm lucky because of all the on-line support I've been given. many of you whom I've never met in real life, and yet, there you are thinking of me. Sending me well-wishes and supporting me. I'm blown away by it all.

I'm lucky because I have am amazing, supportive husband. I've heard some stories. And wow. Some men are absolute jerks. But my husband is not one of them. And I thank God for this man every day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Did you miss me?

I've been MIA again. I'm sorry. I don't mean to disappear. So here's what happened.

Wednesday was one of those days where I spent a lot of time crying (this should have been clue number 1). And I felt pretty darn tired (clue number 2). And I was cold for most of the day. (clue number 3). But you know, really, I haven't had a whole lot of "normal" days so I didn't think much of it.

So we get all the kids to bed. Hubs and I climb into bed. He kisses me good-night very sweetly on the forehead. And then he gets that concerned look on his face and wants to take my temperature. In my head, I'm thinking fine, whatever, just let me go to bed. Yeah, 101.0. Which during chemo means trouble. So we call the doctor and get sent to the ER.

Which let me tell you, is absolutely no fun at all. So we run lots of tests. And we decide that we need to start some antibiotics as a precaution. And here, here is where it gets super fun. Almost as soon as they hook me up to the antibiotics, major stomach pain. Which leads to some severe vomiting. Which leads to a majorly huge panic attack. Which leads to them giving me both anti-nausea medicine and some Ativan.

Things finally calm down. Antibiotic is done. And they decide to release me (yay!). But silly me, I had to go to the bathroom. So we have discharge papers and prescription in hand. And I need to pee. Which is fine. Except, um, I passed out in the bathroom.

My blood pressure bottomed out. And apparently, if you pass out while still in the ER, even if you've been discharged, you get automatic admittance to the hospital. So I was there until Saturday at noon.

The only plus I can say is the staff was awesome and amazing. Of course, I didn't actually want to be there. I wanted to just be home. But I suppose with all that was going on, being there did make the most sense. On another good side, everyone knew who my oncologist was and I heard nothing but wonderful things about him. It seems everyone really respects him as a doctor. I already liked him, but now I like him even more.

Anyway, I hope to never have to repeat this experience again. Unfortunately, odds are against me this time. The doctor explained to me that once it happens with one cycle, it's much more likely to happen with the rest of them. We'll do some more stuff to try to prevent it. But thank goodness there are only 2 more cycles of these meds to go.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Please, don't stare ....

Tonight I ventured out of the house. I won't lie. Today had already chewed me up, spit me out, and then stomped on me just for good measure. But it was something for a kid and so I went.

And when I showed up, several other mothers visibly stared at me. I mean they didn't even try to hide it. Now, I know I wasn't having wardrobe malfunctions, no spinach in my teeth, etc, etc. I did have a headscarf on. And I'm pretty sure it's obvious I'm not wearing it as a fashion accessory. But, please, please I beg of you. Don't stare at me.

I get it. I'm now a walking reminder that bad things can in fact happen any time to anyone. And that can make you feel uncomfortable. Maybe you are feeling sympathetic and wondering if there is anything you can do to help - but feeling like you can't because we are virtually strangers. Maybe you are really thinking I'm wearing a head scarf as a fashion accessory and you think it's a hideous choice. I don't know.

But I know you are staring at me. And it makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable. It makes me wonder if I should break the ice with a hi. Or should I think of something clever like "take a picture - it lasts longer". Or do I pretend to not notice? Do I stare back? I don't know. Tonight I happen to be talking to someone else - a friend who knows everything going on - so I didn't have to do anything but keep talking to her and pretending I didn't notice. But I did notice. And I didn't like it.

Because here's the thing .. even if you have the best of intentions. I already feel super self-conscious. I'd like to be able to tell you that I'm holding my head up high and rocking the baldylocks look, but come on, you all read this blog. You know I'm not there yet. So when you stare at me, it makes me feel like turning around and running home as fast as I can. Even if you have the best of intentions. Because I can't read your mind. All I can see is you staring at me. And well, it's pretty darn uncomfortable.

So please, please don't stare. Love, me =)

Monday, July 04, 2011

The hardest thing ...

Well this weekend it became obvious it was time to shave the hair. I feel stupid admitting it, but this is the hardest thing I've done so far. Yes, including surgery and chemo. {Okay, if I'm being truly honest, telling the kids about the cancer was the hardest thing so far, but this was a very very very close second}.

Anyway, it might have seemed harder because I was still sick from chemo when we shaved it. And I talked a big game - I said we'd mohawk it or some other crazy thing, and when it came time to actually shave it, I wasn't feeling well and I was so emotional about it all. We ended up not doing anything fun ... we just did it.

Ugh. I'm still not okay with it. I just really hate it. Many a tear has been shed over this hair thing. And I feel kind of bad- like I always tell the kids the outside doesn't matter, and yet, clearly, it does otherwise I wouldn't care so much.

Anyway, my kids - they rock. I haven't talked much about them here, I know. Not because they aren't awesome, but it feels strange to talk about something so personal to them on here to the whole world - if that makes any sense at all. But it's true - it's not just me who has cancer, it's all of us. And I have to brag for a moment and let you know that my kids are handling absolutely the best they can. I'm constantly blown away and amazing at how just awesome they are being during this time.

And today, today, proved no less. Today the girls begged and pleaded to let me let them cut some of their barbie doll's hair. I didn't want to. I want to save them all for the grandchildren and have them looking lovely and nice. But then I paused. A) They asked. I cut my barbie's hair but I most certainly didn't ask first and B) They are barbie dolls. Perspective can be such a lovely thing LOL! So I told them they could do just a couple and have fun. A little while later I was presented with Brandie Barbie.


I love the bandanna (which they made). But it gets even better, when you take off the bandanna ...


I mean, how cool is that? I never in a million years expected to have a Barbie modeled after me. Aren't I super lucky? I am ... not because of the Barbie though ... it's because my kids rock. And just have a way to always put a smile on my face.