Ordering Meghan’s Cross

WOW!! The response to donating for Meghan’s Cross has been nothing short of amazing!!

I understand that there has been some confusion regarding how to receive one, so I updated the Give page with how to order. I’m so sorry for the confusion!

Toni & Mark are already planning to spend some time this weekend making more but in the meantime, I can ship out orders purchased this week! I’m SO excited for everyone to be sharing in the love and faith Meghan’s Cross represents. 

Keep spreading that love! πŸ’š

Rallying for Red Phoenix – April 1st

As you may know, there is a fundraiser being held in my honor on my birthday! It is being thrown by incredibly kind friends & family who are jumping high with hands raised to see how they can help. You all are AMAZING!!!

There was a Save the Date sent via a Facebook invite on my IamRedPhoenix Facebook page. As of yesterday, we have a venue!! A restaurant near work (to be shared soon) has asked to donate their space for the fundraiser! Joe & I used to frequent this location for their happy hour pre-Jacob and it has been one of my favorite places for years for happy hour, date night, dinner with friends and even a dear friends baby shower. They have a room off to the side so that we will have our own space, there is already a musician just for us AND it’s less than 5 minutes from daycare!

We are working out the details and will share them as they come!! The exact time should be confirmed soon but the day is definitely the fabulous date of my birth – April Fool’s Day! This awesome night of fun will be an opportunity to come support my family and me, as well as celebrate my 33rd birthday!

The night is sure to be AMAZING and beyond MEMORABLE! There will be awesome raffles, games, prizes and MORE!!

Jacob’s school has graciously offered to open up their site for the night! Every teacher at his school has generously volunteered their time.  Parents will be able to drop their children off at The Learning Experience during the fundraiser. The kiddos will have a night of fun playing games, doing arts & crafts and maybe even a movie! The times will align with the times of the fundraiser (more to come). If you have questions or would like to sign your child up with TLE, you can call or email them. I’m also here for any questions or concerns. 😊

We have received half a dozen raffle items already! If you would like to donate a raffle item or know someone / a store who does, please let me know – the more, the better!

I’ve received questions from people who want to help with the fundraiser – whether it’s day-of help or prep work before. If you’d like to help, please send me an email at IamRedPhoenix10@gmail.com I’ll be sending out an email to all volunteers this weekend to discuss details.

A new page has been added to IamRedPhoenix.com called Give. You can donate any amount or use this page to donate for a wristband. Oh – and the wristbands are available in adult or children sizes!

This fundraiser is a reminder of how incredibly blessed I am. No, this cancer diagnosis & prognosis are not awesome. And yes, I have been in pain for a few weeks. But none of this can be helped- I simply want to embrace and enjoy the moments that I have. Being able to celebrate my birthday surrounded by friends & family is one of the most amazing blessings that I could ever receive.

Hopefully we will see you all there on April 1st!

I πŸ’— Team Gina

Today, Joe, Jacob & I joined Team Gina at a fundraiser that was put on by a local golf club in support of their organization. It was a day filled with golf, raffles, a silent auction and lots of laughs. 

We met everyone after the golf game for a banquet lunch. Seated at the front, we were joined by our sweet friends that we met at the golf event in April and the owner of Bear Construction, whom is a massive supporter and dear friend to Team Gina. Our friends have two littles and we were so anxious for them all to meet today! They hit it off immediately and the cuteness was on serious overload. Mae, their daughter, kept feeding Jacob fruit across the table. Jacob was in heaven with her! They spent lots of time chasing each other around and laughing hysterically too. It was priceless!!

After our yummy lunch (yes, I indulged in a cookie and it was totally worth it!), Will, the founder of Team Gina, gave a wonderful speech and thanked everyone for coming. Next, Audrey and I spoke and I joked about holding her hand while we stood there.  Neither of us prepared anything formal but we walked up together and each spoke from the heart. 

I briefly shared my diagnosis story but immediately talked about the reality of day to day life. One of the biggest things that comes to mind at diagnosis is finances. Not just insurance and prescriptions but day to day living expenses to help with treatment side effects. It’s a scary and confusing question and not one that you ever want to ask. Team Gina is a local organization that helps families like mine. I had reached out to them earlier this year and they didn’t hesitate. Aside from the amazing golf tournament weekend that we experienced with them and the yummy meal that we shared in April, they covered my entire medical deductible for this year. Every. Penny.  And they didn’t think twice about it.

Is it hard to ask for help? Oh gosh, yes. But it’s organizations like Team Gina that make you feel better about it. They are here to help families like us and although it isn’t a club I asked to be a part of, I wouldn’t trade meeting them for anything. They are a bunch of guys who care deeply about helping local families affected by breast cancer. And it’s not just financial assistance. It’s hugs and texts and kind words that go so incredibly far. They are some of the kindest, generous and most giving men that we have had the pleasure of knowing.

So today, I put aside my fear and I said a few words. I hope that every person in that room saw through my tears and knew that Team Gina is helping in big ways…and so are each of them.

And as a random side note, a local magazine wants to interview me for a January issue…how cool is that?!

Another whirlwind visit!

One of my very best friends celebrated her wedding day this past Friday! She has been planning this day for a year and a half (at least!) and I would not miss it for anything! Jacob & I were both honored to be in the wedding and everything was absolutely beautiful. Sheryl was the most amazing bride (and made things too easy for us bridesmaids!), Ryan was an incredible groom and Nick had the honor of walking his mom down the aisle. It was stunning, breathtaking and completely priceless.

Saturday we spent catching up with as many people as we could while in town! My sister and her family graciously opened up their home to everyone and we enjoyed snacks, drinks and the most wonderful company for a few hours! She even surprised me by giving everyone self addressed, stamped cards to mail to me whenever the mood strikes. I cannot express how meaningful a kind word is at what seems to be a random moment! It is seriously the best.

Today we ventured to church and were loved on by people who pray boldly for my family every single day. After an emotional and beautiful service, all of the pastors lifted my family up in prayer and boldly prayed for us some more. It was emotional, amazing and completely priceless. Lots of tears but even more tight hugs, which are so priceless to me!

Next we enjoyed a yummy lunch with my Momma on this cool fall day, a relaxing afternoon of snuggles and then it was time to pack up for the next adventure. I don’t know when we will be back but I am already missing everyone like crazy!!! πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š


I know this 3 day weekend has its own purpose but an extra day off from radiation is so exciting to me! The radiation itself is not painful during treatment but my skin is quite red, like a bad sunburn, and my chest has also started peeling. But, we are halfway done-ish! I’ve had 14 treatments and we are doing either 20 or 25. So close!

It’s my week off from chemo pills – wahoo!! My feet are tender to walk so I’m anxious for improvement over the next week. Cushioned shoes help – and I am slightly obsessed with Sanuks so it works out well!

I took my last steroid on Saturday, which is exciting in itself. I am incredibly swollen all over, which will take weeks to go away, but I am sleeping a little better each night. I don’t wake up for hours at a time anymore and can usually fall back asleep within an hour of waking up. I’ll take it!

Sleepless nights have been a cause for overthinking, which I do. πŸ˜‰ Today though, I sit in awe. Every day of my life, something happens to remind me that I am on this journey for a reason and a purpose. No, it’s not easy. And frankly, it sucks at times. But it’s my journey and I am going to make the best of it. The love and support that I receive from all over the world continues to amaze and inspire me.

Yesterday, I mailed out a wristband to South Carolina and I thought…I wonder where else people are from?! So today I ask you, where are you reading from?

β€œFor this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world” (John 18:37).
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Spread that love!!!

I’m just me.

I updated the β€œMe” section of this page today. Reading what I wrote mid-February was hard and yet rewriting it today felt right somehow.

It’s hard to believe that this blog has been around since August 15th of last year. I started it in the hopes of sharing my story, my journey, with breast cancer. It was a chance for me to express myself – my highs and my lows. It was an opportunity to be me and share my updates & experiences with the world. I had been procrastinating on starting a blog for years and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that. So I started.

The last year has been one of the hardest, most challenging and yet most rewarding experiences of my entire life. I have grown as a person, a friend, a mother, a wife and so much more. I have cried more than I thought possible, felt worse than ever and sat up worrying about the future. And yet, those tears have been filled with more love than I have ever felt, I’ve made my body stronger than it once was and I no longer live in fear of the future (well, I try!).

This last year has taught me more than I learned in my 30+ years of life. I have laughed harder, smiled bigger and hugged longer than I ever thought possible. The love that I feel wrap itself around me on a regular basis is nothing short of amazing. It is nothing short of a miracle. This experience, this blog, this journey…no, I did not ask for any of it. But it is here. And it is mine. And I will embrace it for what it is and make the very best of every moment that I am granted.

I often hear people ask me about being brave or inspirational. My reply is simple…I’m just me. I am the me that I thought I once was and yet am somehow completely different. I am the me that I feel I am in my heart. I am the me that is true to myself. I am the me that I once dreamed of being. I am the me that will continue to be brave and strong and inspirational. But I am just that – me.

I hope you all continue to follow me and my journey. I hope that you find my posts to be inspiring or insightful. I hope that you all continue to inspire me, the way that you have continuously throughout this last year. We don’t know what the future will bring us but what we do know is that we can love hard now and always. Keep spreading that love, friends. It is what keeps me – and the world – going.

A busy Friday ahead!

Today is day 1 of my 2nd round of chemo pills. The week off from them have been nice but each day I felt like I was missing something so I’m glad to be starting my week again. Combined with radiation and knowing it’s the 2nd cycle, I am curious of the side effects but remaining optimistic. I am armed with lots of lotions to help!

Yesterday at radiation the technicians, doctor and physicist came in again to align my 5 bolus-combo in the hopes of keeping it as one piece. Unfortunately, the air gaps near my skin are literally millimeters away but not close enough to my skin. While barely affecting treatment, it still has an impact since my skin is affected and that’s important. So starting today, they will align each bolus every day. It’ll take longer to align but will target the areas that much closer. I lay on the table with my arms up the entire time so although it’s uncomfortable, the technicians have the hardest job of all! My skin is doing well so far, though the redness has started.

I started taking melatonin 3 nights ago and it’s working great. I’m still exhausted each day but I’m getting an extra 2 – 3 hours each night. I’ll keep taking it!

Today, Joe & I are up early and on our way to Moffitt in Tampa again for genetic testing. They called me Monday to ask preliminary questions and I realize how little I actually know. I’ve been working with family all week trying to figure out as much as I can for the appointment. I expect there to be a lot of unanswered questions but I have a great start! They will do lots of blood work and I am super curious about it. They will be testing for genetic mutations that could predispose me (aside from BRCA 1 & 2) but also that could qualify me for a clinical trial.

So off we go! Enjoy your Friday, friends!

Tonight’s thoughts

I can’t get the day out of my head. My trip to Moffitt was incredibly informative and I learned so much. I know that I have a journey of unknown ahead of me but the things that I was taught today are progress for sure. 

As I lay here, the day is not lost on me. We are praying for bold miracles and we are praying hard. These doctors and nurses that are pouring over my records, the pathologists that are looking through my scans, the planes and the cars that are getting me around, the family & friends that continue to support me…each one receives prayers every single day. And those prayers are bold and they are brave and they are asking our God for a miracle that I know is possible. Yes, I have a lifelong disease but dang it, that disease will not take over. I will learn to live with it and I will continue on this glorious journey of life. I feel the love wrapping itself around me every single day. How can I not have faith in that? 

So tonight as I lay here taking in the day before and the day ahead, I am thankful. I am thankful for the continued support that we receive from everyone and for the outpouring of love from near & far. We are so ridiculously blessed & loved. I cannot possibly be more thankful. 


Lots of updates!

Work, life and appointments keep me busy, as always! I was tired yesterday and went to sleep by 8pm. Sure, I was up early again but the early bedtime felt good.

I visited the nurse practitioner yesterday and spent a while chatting with her. I learned a bunch of things, some of which I probably knew but didn’t retain. πŸ˜‰

-The Xeloda will take time to show effects, likely the 2nd cycle. I finish my 1st cycle today and will then have a week off to recover. The side effects will potentially be worse over the 2nd cycle but we will cross that bridge as it comes.

-I will need another PET/CT to confirm that there is no progression of disease, however it will likely not happen for another 6 weeks. I had originally thought it would be this month but given that I just started Xeloda and radiation, it could give false results of progression that isn’t there.

-My blood work looks great! Aside from this whole cancer thing, my red & white cell count and platelets are on point. 😎

-Radiation! Yes, you read that correctly – I started radiation today!! Wahoo! I had an early appointment, scans and 2 new tattoos. I received a dose of radiation specific to my right lymph nodes – day 1 of 4 weeks! I also chatted with the radiation oncologist for a bit. She is anxious to hear about my trip to Moffitt and Dana Farber this week. Based on the scans that she did today and her exam of my skin and lymph nodes – it appears that the first round of Xeloda is working! Though only slightly smaller, my lymph nodes appear to be shrinking and the marks on my chest skin look better to her today. How flipping awesome is it to hear that?!!

That’s all for now…we are on our way to Moffitt for our first visit and will fill you all in later. Today is a good day, friends!!!