"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Year Comes to an End...Another Year Begins

Here I sit on New Year's Eve Day reflecting on another year.  Four years ago I sat here writing about hope for 2011 which would be a year full of cancer treatments and surgeries.  Now I sit here looking forward to a year that seems way more amazing than that! 

So much has happened in the last four years since finding out I had breast cancer.  The more time goes on, in many ways it is harder for me to believe that I actually went through all of that, but there are still lingering thoughts and reminders.  Now I still look at my reconstructed body and think "that's not my body".  I don't think I will ever except the new body....I can't imagine ever not thinking "that's not my body" when I see my reflection in the mirror.  There are too many differences and the scars never completely go away even though they fade significantly.  I still take tamoxifen every day and there are reminders from that too.  I suffer from body pain and aches in my hands and feet from the medication.  I am sick of living with pain from this stupid medication, but it is the medication that is suppose to save my life.  I keep trying to tolerate it and not let it effect my daily life, but it does.  My feet hurt so bad lately, I hardly workout.  I am really going to focus on finding a way to manage this pain or lessen it in the next year.  I hate feeling like an 80 year old women every morning when I get out of bed every day, but I am happy to be here and be able to get out of bed every morning so I will forge forward.  Hopefully I can find a way to minimize this and not suffer daily from pain.

This next year will be super busy.  My business is going into full swing which is super exciting.  I am Vice President of the PTO at my son's school and will be President of the PTO next year.  That is keeping me really busy.  I am focused on bringing more STEM education programs into our school and working on a big anti-bullying campaign for next fall.  I hope to make an impact on the school so kids can have even better learning opportunities and also learn how to spread kindness to others and not bully one another.  I have set some lofty goals there haven't I??  Oh well.....I always say to my son, "be the change you want to see in the world"....so I am doing exactly that or at least trying really hard!  I also continue to reach out to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to talk to them so they realize someone else actually "gets it" and has walked in their shoes.  I want to offer them hope when they have none.  I want to offer them friendship and kindness at the most difficult time in their life.  We also continue to welcome other kids into our family.  We hosted an exchange student last year and I continue to volunteer with the organization on a regular basis.  We always have exchange students coming and going on the weekends at our house which is fun...and we are getting a new student from Tunisia in a few days so our family is always expanding. 

Life is full!  Life is happy!  Life is filled with friendship and love!  LIFE IS GOOD!  As I sit here in northern Michigan at a ski resort while my family is skiing (I can't go...I have a fractured arm), I watch the snow fall on the trees and the sun shining down.  It is beautiful, peaceful and calm.  I love to take these moments to "stop and smell the roses" or "stop and watch the snow fall" and enjoy.  I sit here and am so grateful for the amazing life I have.  I look to the new year with hope, happiness, faith and big dreams for another magical year.  Happy New Year all!  :)


  1. I've just discovered your blog! I too live in Northern Michigan (TC) and was recently diagnosed with IDC. I had a lumpectomy and reconstruction in mid-December, the day after returning from a long-planned trip to Disney World. The surgeons did a great job and it looks like they got everything. I thought I might be able to get by with just radiation and Tamox, but one positive node and a high Oncotype score say chemo. For various reasons...including not wanting to freak out my school-age kids or making this the center of every social interaction I have...I want to try to keep my hair through the treatment. I just don't even know where to begin to get the cold caps. Did you use a local supplier or go straight to the website? Where they difficult to use? I hear docs and clinics are not really supportive of cold caps. Did you encounter that? Speaking of docs, I am not loving my medical oncologist and am looking for somebody different. Do you have any recommendations for here in Northern Michigan?
    I'm sorry for talking your ear off. It has been a wild couple of months in this maze with no directions and not having a clue of where I'm going or what I'm doing.
    Thanks for listening...Bethany

  2. Hi Bethany! Sorry you are faced with the dreaded breast cancer. It just stinks! I called the Michigan Penguin Cold Cap rep and she helped me out. The caps are a bit of work, but it was worth it to me. I am glad I did it and have no regret. I found the message boards on www.breastcancer.org very helpful. There are tons of cappers on the Cold Cap thread there. You can get tons of advice from wonderful ladies! Unfortunately, many doctors don't know much about cold caps and don't care how we feel about losing our hair so many do not support them. There are some out there that are supportive and others become supportive after patients use them and they see the results themselves. I unfortunately don't know any medical oncologists in TC or your area. I had a hard time finding one I liked. I tried two different oncologists when I lived in MI and then after moving to Chicago I tried one and didn't like him at all so I switched again and now I am happy with my oncologist. Find a doctor you feel good with...you have to see them for years so being on the same page is important. My oncologist in MI did support cold caps...they already had a freezer in their office too which made it much easier. Feel free to contact me with more questions or head over to www.breastcancer.org and find the cold cap thread. You will learn a lot there! Best of luck for a healthy new year!!!

  3. thanks for sharing your experience

  4. I started this blog to initially get my feelings and emotions out in a way but over time it gives me great joy to know that my words have helped someone else that is going through breast cancer. Knowing you are not alone and others "get it" means a lot so that is my motivation. Thanks for reading!

  5. Thank you for this blog. My daughter was diagnosed about 6 weeks ago with stage 4 cervical cancer. This monster has no idea who it is dealing with. My daughter is a fighter. Her chemo will be 7-8 hours every 3 weeks. We are not sure for how many sessions, but it will be at least 8. Chemo starts in just 3 days and she has the cold caps ready to go as is she. She is sure she will slay her monster.

  6. I am glad you found my blog! I want to offer hope to anyone that has to do chemo! There are some cervical cancer and ovarian cancer gals that join the Cold Cap discussions on www.breastcancer.org. Feel free to pop over there! We support ALL!. There is so much great information and support there - us BC gals don't care if you hang with us! The girls are great about answering questions, offering solutions to issues and supporting you through the whole thing. Pop over there and see all the posts! I wish your daughter luck and hope that she has minimal side effects through chemo. Saying prayers for her!! :)

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