"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."



Scanxiety, n. [< scan + anxious.] Anxious prior to a scan (CAT, MRI, CT, etc.) for some kind of disease or malignancy.

I have my CT and PET scans tomorrow. If I weren't so irritated that they scheduled me for an 8:40 P.M. CT scan, I would be a little more anxious about the tests. I have my PET at 1:00 p.m. and then I get to wait around until 7:00 p.m. when I get to start drinking that lovely barium for the CT scan. I mean, it's not like I don't already know every inch of that hospital, every aisle of each gift shop. So, I think this will be the perfect time to catch up on some reading. We'll see. Oh, I forgot about the rest areas, I could catch up on some much needed sleep. I have a four hour break, hell I could possibly do both. lol!

I then see my stem cell doc Friday and if all is well (as it should be) I could be looking at a 3 month break from hospitals, poking, prodding and parking fees!! Crossing my fingers and toes that will be the case.

I do have a bit of a rant. I know I shouldn't be complaining, because I am so grateful to be home and relatively healthy. But this LTD process is not what I had expected. I was under the impression it would just roll over and I wouldn't have to do anything. My STD ended October 22nd and for over a month now I haven't received a check for LTD yet. It's close to Christmas and I don't know when I will be getting paid. With my luck, probably not until I return to work. Let's see, between my work bonus, LTD backpay, IRS tax return (wishful thinking!) and my full time regular paychecks coming in...February should be a very good month in our house! I wonder if we can postpone Christmas until then??? LOL! Seriously, if Gabriel wasn't working we would be in dire straits. And his job ends sometime in December, so we are really cutting it close. I'm going to see when I can go back to work Friday when I see the doc. I'm hoping she doesn't have any problem with me returning sooner than later. Anyway, we'll get through Christmas just fine, it was just a little rant regarding the darn insurance people and their red tape. I mean, I was just on STD and now it takes another 35-45 days to approve LTD...nothing's changed for me!! Ok, rant over....!

On a lighter note, a huge THANK YOU to all who have contributed to Amy's LLS Team in Training fundraising efforts. She's already collected 15% of her goal....GO AMY, GO! :) You guys rock and are really helping a wonderful cause. They provide so much to Leaukemia and Lymphoma patients.

Love to all,


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Ok, so I'm a little late but it was a very nice Thanksgiving weekend. We have so much to be thankful for....wonderful friends, family, generous co-workers and customers, strangers who seem to say the right thing at the right time, being cancer free right now...and the list could go on and on. I want to say a huge Thank You to our customer DataVox for our delicious Thanksgiving dinner. It was so nice to have a stress-free dinner at home and it was perfect. I was so touched that you thought of our family during this holiday. Thank you, again. My sister was the photographer, so once I get the pics from her I'll post them here. After dinner, I actually braved a store or two. Didn't buy anything, just scoping it out for Friday. :)

I was debating on whether or not to go out on Black Friday. I love the rush of doing it, even if I don't buy anything. And so I did. Now, I didn't get up at 3am or anything like that. I woke up at my normal time, 6:30, and headed out. Can you believe I even walked out of Target without buying anything! I missed the really good deals and wasn't going to buy anything that wasn't on sale. I did find some deals at some other stores, but it was more fun just going out and being surrounded by the crowds while the Christmas spirit filled the air.

We also worked on getting Olivia's room done. She was ready for her own room and she deserved it. Guess what she picked as her bedding? Of course, Hannah Montana. She even used her own money to decorate her room! We're still needing to hang her curtains and put some other decorations on the wall, but for the most part it's done and it looks so cozy! She spent practically the entire afternoon laying in bed, reading and finishing her 13 chapter book and listening to Christmas music on the radio. Can you say "Little Brandy"???? She is so adorable! :)

This has been a very busy weekend and it was one of my favorite Thanksgiving holidays ever. And even though Thanksgiving is over, I will continue to count my blessings and give thanks for all that I have.

With a grateful heart,


Finally home!!!!

Ok, so I came home Monday afternoon. What a wonderful feeling it was leaving the hospital and walking into the arms of my two babies! I felt better than I had expected, so instead of staying with my dad for a week (the original plan) I decided to go straight home. I was just so homesick. It's been a rather quiet week, too. I had my doctor's appointment Tuesday, counts looked good so I had two days off and returned Friday. My platelets jumped from 42 to 172 in two days!! Because of that, I was able to remove my catheter Friday....no more wires hanging out of me!!! It was a very busy day Friday and I spent half my day at the hospital. But, the good news is I don't have to go back until Wednesday. And I was taken off two of my antibiotics, so that's only like 50 pills I have to take each day. j/k! I've been resting a lot, just taking lots of naps throughout the day and still tired by 9:00 p.m.! I have ventured out to some stores, of course I don't leave home without my mask. A couple of kids said "Look, mom! A nurse!!" It was pretty funny. At least it's better than scaring them. :)

I know I was spared from a lot of complications and I can only attribute that to having been blessed with a resilient body. I mean, look at my bones - it takes two people to break off a piece for my bone marrows!! :) I seem to have recovered quicker than normal too. My nurses were quite impressed with how well I've bounced back. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. I keep waiting for the real suffering to begin, isn't that what I'm supposed to be going through? Don't get me wrong, I had a few bad days there but not nearly as bad as I was expecting or have heard others go through. I just can't seem to grasp the idea of getting off this easy and being cancer free. Maybe I'm just being too hard on myself. I do have a high tolerance for pain. Maybe that's why it wasn't as bad as I was thinking it would be. I just tolerated it better than others? Anyway, I have my CT/PET scans the last week in November. I will try not to let the scanxiety get to me. I have to remember I was clean in September and I will be clean again.

My dear friend and Pi Phi sister, Amy Smith, is running in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Marathon in Nashville, TN in April 2008. She's running in my honor. I was so touched she would not only train intensely for this 26 mile marathon, but she would travel to a different state to run to help raise funds for the LLS and run in my honor. So, we need to make sure she reaches her fundraising goal of $3,400. This money is used by the LLS for all sorts of programs. I was amazed and grateful to learn that I could be reimbursed for mileage to and from the hospital, for my medical prescription co pays and for parking fees. These quickly add up when you are making numerous trips to the hospital on a weekly basis. Every penny counts when you are battling this disease and to get some reimbursement was a huge relief to our family. Here is the link, but I will also post it permanently on my page so it won't get lost in the archives.

Amy Smith's Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training web page:

I also wanted to say Thank You to everyone who supported my family while I was in the hospital. Liz, I will never be able to repay you for everything you have done for our family. To our customers and work colleagues, thank you so much for the dinners. Your generosity continues to amaze me. To everyone who sent cards, thank you. They mean so much to us and continue to give us strength and some much needed smiles! Cindy - Thank you for the stamps, they were very much needed!! I know we have been blessed to know each and every one of you. You have made this difficult journey more tolerable and definitely less stressful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With much, much love,


The gift of cancer...

How could cancer be a gift? Cancer has given me a second chance at how I am living my life. A second chance to tell my family and friends how grateful I am for them and that I love them. Cancer has given me overwhelming support, kindness, generosity and love. What's more surprising is who it came from. Those I thought were shoe-ins for support didn't quite follow through and those people I would never have expected anything more than a card really touched me with their generosity. You never know how people will react when you get sick, but after you do you see people's real heart. I don't hold any ill will towards those that didn't quite come through as I had expected, people react to illness in their own way. I'm just grateful to those that surprised me. What a wonderful life I have lived so far knowing how loved I am.

I recently heard this song the other day and it reminded me of how I feel about my entire experience with cancer. And yes, I consider the outpour of love and support to be the best thing that cancer gave me.

Angels Among Us
Written by: Becky Hobbs
Performed by: Alabama

I was walking home from school on a cold winter day.
Took a shortcut through the woods, and I lost my way.
It was getting late, and I was scared and alone.
But then a kind old man took my hand and led me home.
Mama couldnt see him, but he was standing there.
And I knew in my heart, he was the answer to my prayers.

Oh I believe there are angels among us.
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours.
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give.
To guide us with a light of love.

When life held troubled times, and had me down on my knees.
Theres always been someone there to come along and comfort me.
A kind word from a stranger, to lend a helping hand.
A phone call from a friend, just to say I understand.
And aint it kind of funny that at the dark end of the road.
Someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope.

Oh I believe there are angels among us.
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours.
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give.
To guide us with a light of love.

They wear so many faces, show up in the strangest places.
To guide us with their mercy, in our time of need.

Oh I believe there are angels among us.
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours.
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give.
To guide us with a light of love.

To guide us with a light of love.

I also wanted to share what one of our vendors sent me. Lisa B., with Initial Tropical Plants, sent me a lovely card of support and along with this card enclosed was a beautiful necklace and pendant with the following inscription:

What Cancer Cannot Do
Author Unknown

It cannot...

invade the soul
suppress memories
kill friendship
destroy peace
conquer the spirit
shatter hope
cripple love
corrode faith
steal eternal life
silence courage

I wear this with pride and it gives me the strength to continue living a life without fear and worry. Thank you, Lisa. And Jean B., I keep my pocket angel with me everywhere I go. I swear, I am surrounded by angels!!

Much love to all!!


Day +11....going home soon!

Doctor's said I am going home Monday, Day +13!!!!!!! A few days ago I was bawling to my nurse after just having puked, asking when will all this stop. It felt like I was taking two steps back for every step forward and I just couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. She was awesome in reminding me that my white cell count was rising and that the only reason I got sick was from one of the big d meds I was given....not from chemo. I felt so much better after talking with her. I love the really good nurses, they can make all the difference in the world.

Fast forward to today and I am 100% better. White count is now in normal range, can you believe it went from 0.1, to 0.2, then jumped to 1.2 and then to 4.5?? That was yesterday, when I officially engrafted. Today, my wbc's were 7.2! Go white blood cells! Another important factor is that the big d has finally stopped, as of yesterday. whew, I thought it would never end. Plus, I've also been weaned off all the the IV's I've been on. I'm taking everything via pill form now and the only bag I'm hooked up to is fluids. Another good sign I am going home. And I am so ready to see my babies and be at home.

I can't believe I made it through this. There were times when I thought I couldn't or wouldn't be able to handle it, to get through it...but I did. And as much as I struggled through all the lows from the big d, painful stomach cramps, mouth sores, nausea, sickness, fevers, etc...I was spared from some other serious complications from this procedure. So, for that I am grateful.

I'm going to have a busy week of coming back to the hospital every morning for blood work, but that's ok because I will be able to walk out each day into the sun and into the arms of my loving family everyday.

Anxiously waiting until Monday,

Day +7 and I'm still here...

a little weak and a little tired, but still here. I think the worst is over. It wasn't pretty. I was sick in all the ways you can think of. I didn't eat or drink anything for about 3 days, my lips were as a dry as the desert and my stomach was my worst enemy. The worst part of the entire process has to be the blood transfusions. I've had three so far, but because my counts are so low I get a fever after each one. The worst was Sunday. I had to have two transfusions and that night I thought I was dying. I had a 103 temp that didn't break until Monday morning. They wanted to give me another transfusion yesterday because my rbc's were 7.9 and the transfusion level is 8.0. I asked to wait since my levels were so close, at least give me a day to recover from the night before as I was up every hour in and out of sleep. Remember those old movies where the character is struggling with a high fever, in and out of sleep/consciousness, saying and dreaming weird stuff?? That's what it was like. I swear I thought I saw God. Maybe I did???

I started drinking again a couple of days ago (haha - that sounds funny!) and my appetite is coming back, slowly. My stomach is still not 100%, the big d has been a problem for nearly a week but at least these past two days I'm not cramping like I had been. Morphine had been my friend just because of the cramping. But then she quickly turned on me. I guess an empty stomach plus all the meds does not make a happy combo. So, I ended that friendship rather quickly. I'd rather suffer than puke. Of course, I was able to take some oral pain meds that helped a bit, but there's nothing like IV Morphine...instant gratification. I had my first bite to eat last night and boy do I regret that! I didn't even eat that much either, a half a yogurt, a few spoonfuls of soup and half a Boost milkshake. Big mistake. Let's just say I didn't sleep at all last night!

Today is another story. Immodium is my new friend these days. My docs suggested staying away from Boost and dairy since they are harder to digest. So, I had some rice with a bit of gravy. My appetite is back and I can taste my favorite foods, but after a few spoonfuls I am so full. How unfair is that? Well, I always thought I should at least lose weight if I had to get cancer. So, here it is. Did I mention how much weight I've lost so far? 20lbs. Of course, I gained like 10 of those pounds just from fluids here in the hospital. But I have a feeling I'm still going to lose even after I go home.

I finally got out and walked the floor! It's the first time in probably a week. My poor body, I could really feel it in my legs. I've been doing the lung exercises to keep my lungs up but my muscles have been ignored.

So, here I am. It was a very rough week and it's already a blur for me, all the days merging into one big fog. I'm just glad it's over with. My counts should start coming up any day now, so that means I might be out of here within the next week!!