Tuesday blessings!


I love having fresh cut flowers in my home. There is something so wonderful about smelling the sweet aroma and seeing the bright colors that instantly fill me with happiness!  Someday I hope to have a garden that I can pick from regularly, rather than purchasing. For now though, I’ll enjoy them anyway I can!

Jacob woke up with a smile today and our morning routine was relatively stress-free, which is awesome for an early Tuesday that’s trying to be Monday morning.

Speaking of, it’s a short work week – yay! Though there’s lots to accomplish this week, it’s already Tuesday – wahoo!

What’s making you smile this morning? Tell me your blessings!

Oh, sweet weekend

Happy Memorial Day, friends!

This weekend has brought a mix of fun, productivity and relaxation for me. We spent time outdoors, went to church, cleaned out the garage, enjoyed a cookout with my in-laws, grocery shopped, meal prepped for the week, the house is clean – and there is still half a day left before the work week begins! I took the weekend off from running but still made sure to exercise in different ways to make up for it. Don’t worry, I rested lots in between. Friday’s expansion was bothering me pretty good on Saturday so I was quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, that’s gone now. Treatment continues to tire me out and I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I was asleep by 9pm all weekend. It was wonderful to grab the extra time to sleep and let my body – and mind – rest.

Having such a productive weekend has my mind wondering a bit. Summer has started and I’m antsy to spend time outdoors with my family but still try to get things done around the house, while keeping up with the day-to-day necessities of the house, exercise and writing too. Being almost two weeks out of radiation, we are beginning to find a new routine and the summer hours are allowing more hours with daylight.

I don’t necessarily want to rank all of these activities as a matter of importance because although some will absolutely outrank others, they are all things that I want to be a regular part of my daily routine. I’m learning to grab up the time that I have let slip by me in the past and fit things in small windows of time throughout the day.

Joe & I have the luxury of carpooling to work every day, so this has become my go-to time to write. Whether it’s my blog, catching up on emails, making appointments or free writing, this is a 30 – 45 minute ride each way that I used to spend just daydreaming. Since I’m using my phone to do these things, I can easily put it down to chat with Joe or help Jacob sing a song that he likes along the way.

Dinnertime has been a point of stress for me in the past, as I always feel rushed to get home and cook. We’re using the crockpot more (especially with the summer heat coming!) and making a larger meal on Sundays when we can to have leftovers throughout the week. On run days, Joe will heat up food for all of us and we’ll eat together when I’m done. On non-run days, we all go for a 30 minute walk after dinner. This might be Jacob’s favorite part of the day! If I haven’t hit my step goal by the time Jacob is asleep, I’ll pace while watching a show before bed – looks silly, I know, but it works!

So it’s a work in progress and I’m learning to fit things in where I can without compromising family time or household duties. I’m wondering, what tips do you have to fit more into your day?  Do you keep a list of things you want to accomplish?  Do you plan out what activities to complete each day of the week?

No excuses for me

Today we woke up early and headed downtown for my second expansion. Another 90 cc was added to my right expander for a total of 360 cc. I have 670 cc in the left (ish, radiation may have caused me to lose some) so around 300 cc more if I want to even out to that size.  It’s a bit more uncomfortable than last week but not unbearable. This expander is also off towards the side a bit so it isn’t centered. That’ll be fixed at reconstruction but it’s awkward for my arm in the meantime. I’ll get used to it over time though.

Next, I headed to treatment for my Herceptin infusion.  I was a bit sad that I didn’t have Love Jars to deliver this time but I did bring a sweet treat for the nurses again. My infusion was over 90 minutes instead of 30 today (which really means about 2 1/2 hours in the chair), in the hopes of helping with the headaches I’ve been getting afterwards. My BP was oddly low but the nurse advised me that it could be because I hadn’t drank enough water yet.

Every treatment I receive a sheet of paper that has all upcoming appointments listed on it. When I first started this journey last August, the paper was 2 1/2 pages long and didn’t even go past 2 months. Today, my paper wasn’t even a full page and listed all of the treatments that I have remaining. Every. Last. One. I wasn’t sure it if I had 4 or 5 after today because it depends on what they consider a year later. Is the week before my one year anniversary of starting chemo sufficient or do I need to pass the year mark? I learned today that I need to pass the year mark, so 5 more and I am DONE! Seeing it on paper makes it a bit more real. September 9th will be here before I know it!

I’m hopeful that the headaches won’t be too unbearable this weekend but time will tell. I just completed my run for the day, thanks to the energy an afternoon nap provided. Herceptin tends to exhaust me but I’m not allowing that to be an excuse not to excercise. My dear husband is cooking dinner so I am off to rest, snuggle and eat.

Happy Friday, friends! Enjoy your loved ones tonight and always.

Learning fashion


The fashion gene skipped me. It’s never been my strong suit and I often rely on my sisters and friends to help me pick out clothes.

I’m slowly learning to venture out of my comfort zone and try new things when it comes to fashion. Sometimes it’s a new style shirt, maybe boots that I’ve been eyeing or skinny jeans (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit how long it took me to join in the skinny jeans fun).  I’ve only recently rediscovered dresses and I’m sad that I ignored the dress rack for as many years as I did.  More recently, I’ve rediscovered hats and scarves as a fashion statement – and dual purpose head warmer during chemo.

So now that my hair is growing in, I’m excited to try different styles that I wouldn’t have been brave enough to try before (my fingers are still crossed for a pixie cut in July!). I have worn headbands here and there in the past but it was infrequent and always mixed in with a head full of hair.  I decided it was time to have a little fun with my new locks and turned to Etsy to help me find what I was looking for. Etsy rarely disappoints and my new headbands arrived yesterday. The seller that I chose picked the colors and patterns for me based on my favorite colors and my hair color.  I’m excited about the mix of simple and fun that I received!

So today, I ventured out of my hair comfort zone and tied one on. I am not entirely sure how to tie it (seems simple, right? 😮😶) but I’m happy with the outcome of my first try!

So tell me, what fashion tips or tricks have you recently discovered?!

Faith in yourself

There was a moment in time where big events would be a cause of anxiety for me. Whether it was a big speech in public, meeting new people or even going to an event with friends. Eek, and forget about it if it was an interview!  More recently, it was the night before doctor’s visits that would fill me with fear and anxiety. I would stress (obsess) over the upcoming event for days ahead of time. Sometimes it was all that I could think about, especially the night before. The night that I needed a good rest in anticipation of the day head, I would lay wide awake wondering what could happen.

I have learned over the last year that all of the anxiety that I cause myself is unnecessary. I cannot control every aspect of the approaching day.  I can simply prepare myself as best as possible, get a good night of sleep and have faith in myself.  Whatever the day brings, I am brave enough to take it on, strong enough to conquer it and humble enough to appreciate what it will teach me – about the world and myself.

Rather than doubting my own abilities and fearing the worst, I am going to continue to have faith that I am on the path that I am meant to be on and doing all that I can to keep on that path.

So whatever is causing you fear or anxiety today, remember that you can – and you will – overcome it.  Whatever it is.

Be strong, friends.  And have faith in yourself.

So I ran today.

…and it sucked. Well, actually I sucked at running. But I did it.  And I’m going to continue doing it.

Because I’m sick of making excuses.

Because after cancer, I’m jiggling in all the wrong places.

Because the chemo weight isn’t going to lose itself.

Because my 15 year old cross country running self would kick my toosh if she knew how bad of a runner I have become.

Because I spend the majority of my day sitting inside.

Because I am sick of losing all of these fitbit challenges and there’s only so many times I can walk in circles.

Because despite the heat, it’s gorgeous outside.

Because fresh air will do me some good.

Because it clears my head and allows me to get lost in my thoughts without distraction.

Because I spent a significant portion of my life being sedentary.

Because my clothes are too tight for comfort.

Because after reconstruction, I want to go clothes shopping and feel good when trying on clothes.

Because the 30 minutes are going to pass anyway.

Because I probably spend 30 minutes a day on the Internet so I really have no excuse for not finding the time.

Because 10000 steps a day shouldn’t be so difficult.

Because I want to live a long, healthy life and exercise is essential to that.

Because my baby sister and I have been talking about running together for years and I always find an excuse not to out of fear of failure.  When I visit her in July, I want to ask her to go for a run and feel confident that I can do it.

Because despite how hard today was, by this time next week I’ll be significantly better.  So imagine what 6 weeks time will bring.

Hello, Monday!

It’s a new week and I’m feeling the excitement of what’s to come. It’s going to be a crazy one filled with appointments, treatment, life and work but that’s ok! I’m excited to be here to tackle this gorgeous day and embrace what life sends my way.

Today’s blessings are:

1.  A full night of sleep. I was asleep by 930 and, despite a few kicks to the face in between, I had a great night of sleep!
2.  The crock pot. It’s working hard on dinner tonight so that we don’t have to stress when we arrive home!
3.  Grandparents. They are picking Jacob up after naptime today for some snuggles. They had a mini vacation and are missing Jacob…I love how much they love him, and vice versa!

What are your blessings today, friends?!

Right side expansion day 1!

Today 120 cc were added to my right side expander for a total of 270 cc on that side (left had over 600 cc total).  It’s tight but not nearly as uncomfortable as I remember the left side being. That may change over the coming weeks but I’ll take the little discomfort as a good sign for now!

The expansion doesn’t have to be as rushed this time so instead of twice a week, I’ll be going once a week – yay! In a few weeks time, I’ll be expanded and on a break for a bit.  Wahoo!

It was nice to be greeted with the kindness of the plastic surgeon and his staff, as they are always so sweet. We joked about the radiation damage and the time that passed.  We discussed the reconstruction process and he is hopeful that depending on how my skin heals, I should be able to have a relatively “simple” swap out and have it in just 5 months time versus 6 months!

Time will tell but it’s a good day, my friends!

Mind over matter?

When I was a teenager, I volunteered with my church. I was a religious teacher to young kids and helped during mass.  Life was pretty busy, with school and my part time job too.  I was tired.  Or so I thought.

When chatting with my religious leader one day, I mentioned how tired I was at the time.  She looked at me and smiled. Her next statement to me was spoken slowly, deliberately and with love. She told me that she had once heard that we create more exhaustion for ourselves by thinking about how tired we are. We often wake up thinking about how little sleep we got or how many times we woke up or the daunting day ahead. It’s phrases like this that cause us to focus immediately on how tired we are versus waking up and simply beginning our day. Or waking up and telling ourselves that we are not, in fact, tired but alive and full of life.  Mind over matter, perhaps?

I thought about that a lot over the following weeks and implemented the thought each morning. While I noticed a difference, life happens and the morning thought became less frequent for me.  The message itself has always remained with me though and I find myself remembering that moment, sitting across the dark wooden desk from her, in her office on the second floor, the creaky chair underneath me and the smell that is distinctly church filling my nose.  The sweet smile on her face, the one that was genuine and kind and always reached her eyes.

I never thought I’d been so tired the first weeks of having a newborn. I never thought I’d been so tired the days after chemo. I never thought I’d been so tired the last few weeks of work, life and radiation.

Yesterday, and again today, are different.  I woke up feeling good. Was I tired? Yes. Did I enjoy an afternoon coffee? Sure did. But I didn’t feel the utter exhaustion of the last few weeks. I was told the fatigue would last a few weeks and I’m sure to some degree that it will. And I’m sure herceptin will wear me out like it normally does. But today I feel good. I feel slightly less tired. I feel slightly less fatigued, both in my body and my soul. I feel a little more free.

Perhaps it really is simply mind over matter.