Monday, September 30, 2013

Post #500! Easy Gourmet Dinner

I can't believe I'm on post #500.  This calls for something special, like what we had for dinner mom says I talk too much about food on my blog, but my cousin Alisha loves it.  I think of it as giving my readers ideas for dinner and for me not to forget my favorite recipes.  Tonight's dinner of French Onion soup and Turkey Reuben's was pretty much gourmet.  I felt like I was sitting in my favorite Panera enjoying their French Onion soup and a sandwich.  Thanks to my friend Megan I had a ton of onions, so I needed to use them up.  I think I may just have to go get more given I now have a new favorite soup recipe.  So here it is recipe's for a gourmet, easy breasy dinner:
French Onion Soup
3 large onions
2 T butter
1 can beef broth
1 T flour
1 can water
chicken bouillon
1 T tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried thyme or to taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder or to taste
Sprinkle of Tabasco Sauce to taste
Swiss cheese

In a pan melt butter then cook sliced/chopped onions until slightly caramelized, then transfer to crock pot.  Add all of the ingredients, except cheese to a crock pot.  Cook on high for 4 hours. Sprinkle cheese on top of bowl of soup.  You may add croutons, but I didn't.  You can increase the ingredients for a larger crowd.  This will likely feed 5-6.

Turkey Reuben (This is a Bobby Flay Recipe)
Russian Sauce
1/2 cup Mayo
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
2 T ketchup
1 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard

Rye Bread (I got mine for half off at my local Harvest Bread)
Swiss Cheese
Slicked Turkey
Combine first 5 ingredients.  Then layer your sandwich with sauce, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and turkey.  Grill and enjoy!  I was full and only was able to eat a half, but would have loved a whole sandwich. Will definitely be enjoying the left overs another day.  

October 1 Tomorrow!

You have no idea how much I love October!!!  I think I would have to say October is my most favorite month out of all 12!  I love to wear fall; jeans, sweaters, and flip flops (ok I'll wear my dansko's), smell fall; pumpkin, crisp air, cinnamon, apple's, hearing fall; the crunch of leaves, kids saying trick-or-treat, Christmas music (yes, Fall and Christmas music go together in my eyes) and tasting fall; anything pumpkin, apple, Halloween candy, and soups!  Yes, it is going to be a great month indeed, even though I will have 6 chemo treatments this month starting tomorrow.  I know chemo won't disturb me from enjoying this month!  And by the end of this month I will be finished with chemo!!!  The one week I don't have chemo this month I will be spending the entire week in SLC.  I can hardly wait, because I will be meeting up with friends from PA school; some of whom I haven't seen in over 9 years.  This morning we woke to rain, but now we have sunshine; one of the best things about living in Idaho, we can usually count on the sun to come out at some point of the day.  October to me starts soup month!  So tonight for dinner we will have French Onion Soup which is cooking in the crockpot and pair it with Turkey Rueben Sandwiches.  You should smell our house, it smells great; mixture of cinnamon pumpkin spice and onions.  For breakfast I had a honey crisp deliciously crunchy apple and for lunch pumpkin chocolate chip bread, yes I'm definitely enjoying the last day of September and looking forward to the first day of October!  Too bad there aren't any leaves on the ground, if there were I'd rake them up and jump in them!  Enjoy Fall Y'all.

Medical Bills

I am interrupting my bill paying for a little blogging.  Just because I'm not working and I don't have a cash flow doesn't mean I don't have bills to pay, it just means my bank account keeps dwindling.  Slowly but surely I am getting my medical bills for my ovarian cancer paid.  It actually feels good to get them paid, sounds crazy I know.  I've never liked the feeling of owing anyone money.  It drives me crazy.
Bills I've Paid:
Pathology:  $461.81
Dr. K: $42.85
Anesthesia:  $987.84
Radiology:  $1082.77
GI Hospital Consult:  $129.28
Several $50.00 co-pays and medications.
I'm still waiting on the St. Lukes Hospital bill:  SCARY.  Actually last time I checked which was last week it was up to $132,000.  Of course we are still waiting on the insurance to see what they are going to cover.  Yes, I've definitely met my max out of pocket and we aren't even finished with chemo and surgeries for this year.  In fact I had a less than 5 minute procedure last week that they billed the insurance over $300 for.  It is kind of cool to get bills that say 100% is covered.  That just means I've met my max out of pocket.  Who knew I'd ever have to worry about medical bills like this?  I'm just grateful for health insurance, a great profession that pays well and parents who taught me to save for a rainy day.
Other Bills:  2 state PA licenses and some CME which I think I'm going to do in NYC in November.  I need some write offs for my meager income this year and of course a trip, since my travels have been put on hold this year.  I've always wanted to go to NYC around the holidays.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons

For Relief Society this past Thursday we had a program entitled When Life Gives You Lemons Make Sweet Lemonade.  I had originally had it planned for June 13, but since I was in the the hospital then they decided to postpone it since I was in charge of it.  It was all delegated out so they could have had it without me, but I'm glad they didn't.  Everyone brought a lemon dish to share and after some visiting we made our way to the RS room where we played a game that asked different questions about lemons.  We learned a lot about lemons.  I then talked about my experience over the past 4 months and how I've tried to turn a sour experience into a sweet one.  We then had another sister speak about this topic and she talked about how this life is a test and if we weren't tried and tested it wouldn't be a test.  She also talked about her experience with her husband who fell from a building when they had a young family and how they have coped with him being a quadriplegic.  It was a wonderful evening and so enjoyable.  I made lavender, peach and strawberry lemonade which all turned out so yummy.  I especially loved the peach lemonade.  Each sister got a handout that had different quotes about the atonement, being positive and going through challenges.
Peach Lemonade
4 cups water
2 cups coarsely chopped peaches
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice (about 4 to 6 lemons)
1 peach, cut into wedges
Mint for garnishment

In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the first 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 3 minutes.  Let sit for at least 20 minutes on low.  Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
When ready to serve,  stir in lemon juice.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Chalk Full Fabulous Friday

This week was another off week before a week of double chemo next.  So you know it was chalk full of all I could get into it.
1.  Monday mom and I finally did a little grocery shopping.  I mean really there was like no go to food in our house, except of course in the candy cupboard which every time I go there I hear, "sugar makes cancer grow."  Yea, well if I die from eating candy at least I'll be sweet!
2.  Tuesday was my cousin Michelle's birthday.  So of course we had to celebrate by going to lunch at the Robin's Nest.  It rained all day.  Rain to me means chili or soup so I got a cup of their homemade chili which I had never had.  Talk about delicious and hitting the spot!  Of course we also celebrated with Harvest Pumpkin Cupcakes (see recipe under labels) without oil or frosting.  If you haven't tried them yet you still have plenty of Fall to do so.
Mom thought she had to capture me baking, since she doesn't think I do it enough.
3.  For birthday's I get my nieces and nephews BSU t-shirts, which I finally got this week.  I can't wait to see them all in their BSU apparel.  I also got a new BSU t-shirt and a BSU jacket which I am so in love with!  I got it in the kids department on sale!
4.  Wedenesday I went to my rehab weight lifting class which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I even enjoyed the soreness that it brought me yesterday morning!  I can't wait to have my buff body back (ok maybe just a little more muscle given my muscle has atrophed over the past few months)!
5.  Yesterday I spent 30 minutes with my friend Megan from high school.  She had a hundred pounds of onions so I went and got a bag full for some salsa.  I haven't seen her in years.  It was so fun to catch up with her.  She is such a good example to me of endurance through trials.
6.  Tristen, the girls, and Tenielle came home Wednesday night.  Yesterday for lunch we took the kids to McDonalds.  It was fun to be together and chat.
I should be a photographer!  Lucy was jumping over Karston and I took the picture at the right time.  She looks like a gymnast here.
Love these blue eyed beauties!
Isn't Kaeson the cutest thing?
Sure love this Stella girl!
Of all my nieces and nephews Karston smiles for pictures the best!
7.  Troy drew one of the best tags in the state and got his 6 point elk the second day of the season.  He said that the elk were every where and would come up super close to them.  He shot this one while on a horse.  His friend Cole totally looks like a true cowboy in the picture below.
Grandpa Swensen even felt good enough to come see the elk and have a milk shake.
8.  I got a package from my friend Vicki this week.  She sent me a 31 teal bag and the darling teal and leopard print scarf (see the birthday photo above) which I am totally in love with.  I have such great friends.  I also got this awesome blue and yellow scarf in the mail this week which I ordered from one of my favorite sites  Check it out for daily deals.  All of us girls ordered chevron skirts this week from the site.  Can't wait for them to come in my mailbox!
9.  I'm so excited for this weekend.  Our entire family except Mitch (Tristens Husband) will be home.  Tony and Tanner are driving up this afternoon.  The last time we were all together was I think Christmas; feels like a long time.  You know I'll have a post coming up of all the fun we are going to have!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How To Say GoodBye To Summer Style?

Today amongst the rain and chilled temps, I realized I need to say goodbye to Summer style and move on to Fall, however I'm just not quite sure how that is going to happen.  Don't get me wrong, I love sweaters, jeans, scarves and Fall style.  I have a figure flaw at the moment though...I still can't wear anything tight around my waste because of surgery and jeans and cords are usually tighter than skirts, which I've been wearing since surgery.  (I even have a new pair of Lucky Jeans for the season).  I have found 1 pair of capri's and my yoga pants that I can wear without being uncomfortable, but that's it as far as pants are concerned.  And the shoe thing is going to be even harder because I love wearing my flip flops.  I think I might just have to break out my dansko's and wear them with skirts, even though it doesn't look that cool.  Maybe if I get some cool tights and pair them with skirts it might not look so bad.  This evening I packed up my cute Summer skirts and dresses.  Eventually I'll make it to the storage unit for Winter clothes, however since it was Winter when I left for Phoenix in March, most of my Winter clothes are still out.  Oh, Summer why do you have to go?  Although, I will admit I am ready for all things Fall!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Grandpa and A Soda

Saturday morning Grandma Jeanne called at 6:23 because Grandpa S. wasn't doing well.  Mom, dad and I went over to see what we could do.  Nothing really except hold his hand and let him cry.  He kept saying he wanted to go home; his Heavenly Home.  It is so sad to see him in pain and discomfort, even though Hospice has him on some of the strongest medicines he still has pain.  Later that afternoon I walked over to see how he was doing and he was up, combing his hair and had just gotten dressed.  He was doing rather well.  We went out on the patio and drank a coke, because that's what we always did growing up.  I asked grandpa why he drank both coke and pepsi, because usually you are one or the other and he said, because he couldn't taste he didn't know the difference.  Funny reply.  It was a beautiful fall afternoon and we enjoyed it immensely.  It was nice to chat with grandpa over a soda, like old times.  Grandpa wanted Chinese food so he got what he asked for from our hometown Hong Kong.  The last time I ate there was years ago and I remember we went with Grandpa and Jeanne and Grandpa puked half way through.  He didn't remember that.  So I ate Chinese Food with Grandpa and Jeanne and made another memory.  Grandpa probably won't last much longer.  I hope that he doesn't suffer too much or too long.


I've always wanted to figure out how to label my posts so that I can go back and look at recipe's, since this seems to be where I store all of my favorite recipe's.  And since I had to call my sister for the Harvest Pumpkin Cupcake recipe today, because I forgot that I had already blogged about them, it's about time I got the label thing down.  I just googled how to label a post and walla easy peasy.  Now I can feel a little more organized and you can search my blog by subject.  Now for the hard part, going back and labeling posts.  Maybe I'll just start from here, except with recipe's.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Round 4 Chemo Done FF

I know I missed last weeks Fabulous Friday.  I blame it on the chemo.  Double chemo weeks put me out and sometimes I just don't make it to my computer (really I just get on and off for a second).  So I will recap positives from the past 2 weeks; mostly this week, because chemo weeks bite...
1.  Last Monday the kids came over for nachos and ice cream.  I had been craving good 'ole fashioned nachos for weeks.  I blame cravings on chemo.  The boys were playing in the airplane.  I asked them where they were going and I hear "Wal-Mart!"  Thought it was pretty funny.  Guess they go there too often, but then I heard "The Beach."  Yea, that was a better answer.
We make them go outside from time to time; dumb tech toys.
2.  Tenielle came home last weekend.  I spent more time laying around than visiting with her, but we still had a good time.  I am so grateful she has been able to come home so much during my illness.  We celebrated Tyler and Tenielle's Birthday's while she was here.  Tyler and I are the same age for the next 2 months.  
3.  We watched Troy and Becky's kids last weekend while they went hunting for Becky's elk.  No elk, but happy for 3 year old Beckett and Bridger for finally being potty trained.  
4.  My port hasn't been drawing out blood for the past 3 chemo treatments, which means they have to stick me in the arm.  I had a study done Wednesday which showed it was perfectly fine.  Let's hope in a week when we have chemo again that it will draw out.  
5.  We had Stake Conference this past weekend.  It was full of great talks.  My favorite was given by our friend Becky about having our own (IEP) Individual Eternal Plan.  I felt like she was talking just to me.  Heavenly Father has given me a plan and what I do with it is up to me, of course with His help I can accomplish great things that He has set out for me.  We also got a great new Stake Presidency (we get them every 10 years).  It was fun to see people that I haven't seen in years and to catch up!
6.  Yesterday mom told me to take it easy.  I guess she thinks I don't rest enough.  So I pretty much layed on the couch and read a book.  Sometimes you just need days like that.  
7.  Today was the first day that I lifted weights in 4 months.  Can I tell you I feel great!  I met with a personal trainer from MSTI's Integrative Medicine Program and we put together a weight lifting program designed just for me.  It is a great rehab program, which I'm excited to be a part of.  I was so much stronger than I thought, but definitely have several weak spots.  It will be fun to see my progress throughout the next 4 months.  
8.  I met Alisha for lunch at Flat Bread (my new favorite restaurant) and had a chat on a lovely September afternoon.  The wind was slightly blowing, but it was perfect.  I also met up with my BSU advisor over a carmel apple cider (my first one of the season).  It was so good to see her and catch up.  I'm so blessed to have amazing people in my life.  
9.  I had another slice of peach pie this week.  I will never get sick of Silvia's Fresh Peach Pie!
10.  I met up with my swimming sisters at one of their houses for lunch this week.  It was so good to see them.  One of them I hadn't seen since April.  She brought me plums and apples from her orchard!  The apples were a bit tart, but in a few weeks once we have a frost they will be fabulous!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pork Chili Verde

Remember when I posted in May about the Pork Chili Verde that I had in Phoenix which was absolutely to die for? Well I had craved it after surgery when I got my appetite back.  I found a recipe and of course changed it for my liking.  This has become a favorite dinner for our family.  My dad is always hard to please when it comes to food, but he often requests this.  Glad to have found something that isn't chick food.  Hope you enjoy this too.  Trust me you won't be disappointed in the taste or the simplicity of this recipe.  This is kind of like a soup, so don't be surprised that it isn't thick.  (You could probably leave out the chicken broth and it would be thicker).

2 lbs. pork shoulder or pork roast cut into cubes and just browned (not cooked through) in a frying pan then add to crock pot.
In a crock pot add
1 medium red onion diced
1 medium green bell pepper diced
1 medium poblano pepper diced (wal-mart has these in the produce section in a basket with a sign that says poblano peppers).  Last time I didn't have any poblano peppers so I just used different ones from the garden.
2 garlic cloves
1 jar salsa verde (mild)  We did medium once and it was too spicy for me.
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper
2 TBSP brown sugar
Cook for 4-8 hours in the crock pot.   Just before you are ready to eat make some rice.
In a bowl combine a scoop or so of pork chili verde, top with rice, cheese, sour cream, salsa and chips!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Liver Functions

2 Sunday's ago I woke up at 6am with the worst abdominal pain that was radiating around to my back. It came on so suddenly and wouldn't go away.  I thought I was hungry so I ate a graham cracker and a handful of cereal; no relief.  I felt nauseated, but didn't throw up thank goodness.  I was sweating like crazy too.  I would walk over to the kitchen bar and bend over, because bending seemed to help some, then I'd go to the chair and curl up in a fetal position, then to the bed, which made it worse.  Nothing was relieving my pain.  My dad gave me a blessing and in it blessed that I'd feel well enough to attend my church meetings (he doesn't remember this, but mom and I do).  I finally took some pain medicine and continued in the fetal position in the chair, then to the bed until it finally wore off.  Thank goodness, because mom was threatening to take me to the ER and you all know me I would protest that like crazy given my years working in the ER.  I finally got in bed at 7:30 and fell asleep.  At 8:37 I woke up and said, lets go to church.  Of course we were a few minutes late, but we were there to see the children as they put on their yearly Primary Program which I had waited for weeks to see.  Not a few minutes after I got home the pain started again, this time a little less and only on the right side.  The pain felt like I was having a gallstone or kidney stone attack.  It was horrible.  I took more pain meds, a nice long nap and haven't felt the pain since.  Two days later when I had chemo one of my liver functions was 439 (it is suppose to be below 35).  Two weeks before it was finally normal after 3 months of being slightly elevated.  Liver failure has always been one of those disease's I hope I never have to experience.  Dr. Dan didn't seem to concerned.  He told me I had chemical hepatitis from the chemo and it would improve eventually.  Nice.  Yesterday before I went to chemo I prayed that my liver functions would be improved and I'm happy to report it was only 79, still a little elevated but much improved.  As for the abdominal pain, I've never had it again and hope I never do!  My other important cancer labs, white count, platelets, lymphocytes are all rather normal in the cancer world, not normal for a healthy person, but normal enough for me to continue treatment.  Hoping for this tender mercy for the next 6 treatments so that my plan of finishing is still October 29!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Walking 4th South

 Pictures taken last week after chemo with some of the 4th South amazing nurses!
Because my chemo goes into my abdomen (IP) 2 out of the 3 treatments, I have to have the 2 IP treatments on 4th South which is the Oncology floor.  They put me in a room like I'm a hospital patient for the day and pump fluids in me.  One of these reasons is because I have to roll every 15 minutes for an hour after all the fluids have finished.  Today for some reason or another as I was laying in bed having chemo I started having some awful abdominal pain, mostly on the left side, which radiated up into my left chest and shoulder.  The shoulder and chest pain is due to fluid and air that gets trapped underneath the diaphragm.  The nurse slowed the fluids down, I tried rolling different directions, laying flat and sitting up, but nothing would relieve my pain.  I finally got up to walk which seemed to relieve most of the pain.
When I was in the hospital I walked this floor several times a day with friends, family members, nurses, nieces, cousins, my PCP and massage therapist.  We always walked in a clock wise direction.  Every time we would come to the end of the opposite hallway that my room was in, I would turn my head the other direction, because at that point I would come to the infusion room (AKA Chemo Room).  I hated seeing that room knowing that in the near future I'd have to start chemo.  I would sometimes even cry when I would come to that room, for fear of future chemo treatments.  Today however when I walked the floor I walked counter clockwise and thought of the improvement I have had since those first 15 day's of June.  I have yet to finish my post from that hospital stay and someday will, but it was a hard 15 days that aren't easily put into words.  They were day's that I would never want my worst enemy to live through, day's that made me realize what an amazing, loving family and support system I have, day's that I layed in bed thinking why me, day's where I was treated by the most amazing doctors and nurses which made me want to be a better provider.  Some of those day's I vaguely remember, other day's are day's I'd like to forget. However, as I walked several times a day around 4th South, I became stronger each day as I walked during the middle of the night, early mornings, late afternoons and in the evenings.  Today as I passed room 494 I slightly cringed because of the pain and sickness that I experienced in that room, but as I thought about it more during each lap I realized how truly grateful I am for the peaceful feeling that was always present in that room. 494 was a room of great healing, a room where several prayers where said and answered, a room where many tears were shed and a room where relationships were strengthened. Walking on 4th floor and seeing the many nurses and CNA's that helped me through those 15 day's now brings great happiness to me and to those nurses as they see my progress and encourage me to keep fighting this great battle.  


I love pears.  I always have.  When I lived in Charlotte I would buy a bag of them at Aldi's and eat them all.  Last week Alisha bought us 2 boxes of pears for 15 cents a pound at the church farm.  Talk about cheap.  They are delicious.  I have been eating at least one every day.  Yesterday mom and I canned 19 jars of pears.  I love canning or at least I love the finished product of jarred produce and the popping sound that tells me a jar is sealed.
We went to a spur of the moment church dinner last night so we had to throw together something to take in 5 minutes.  We couldn't have thrown together anything better than we did.  Of course it entailed pears.  Ready for this recipe?  I'll call it Spinach Cinnamon Pear Nut Fall Salad since it entails pears and it is soon to be Fall given we have a tinge of yellow on some of the leaves that we passed on our way to chemo this morning.

Pears (skinned, chopped and placed in lemon juice so they don't brown)
Sugared Walnuts from Winco (you could use almonds and sugar/cinnamon them yourself)
Feta cheese (Had I have had goat cheese I would have used it)

The dressing was divine!  I basically used the same one from the Strawberry Spinach Salad, however changed it a bit and left out the poppy seeds.
1/2 cup mayo (I think next time I will use less)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup but this worked just fine)
2 T Cinnamon Pear Balsamic Vinegar (which I got when I was in Martha's Vineyard in March) key ingredient and made this taste so amazing!  I guess you could use balsamic vinegar and cinnamon and maybe it would taste the same.  I loved their selection of balsamic vinegars!  The Vinegar is from Leroux which are stores located in Martha's Vineyard, Portland, ME and Portsmouth, NH.  You can taste all of their vinegars if you go to their stores.  But you can order them on  You won't be disappointed.  I also have the summer peach white balsamic vinegar that I love.  I really want to get the cherry one.  Maybe an order is in the near future!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Little Bone Pain...

A little bone pain update...This round of chemo hasn't been as good to me as past treatments.  Thankfully I only have 2 more treatments similar to what I had this week and I'll be finished; October 29 can't come quick enough.  Bone Pain.  It Bites to the Bone.  Remember what it is like when you have the worst flu of your life?  That is what the bone pain feels like.  Every bone in my body hurts, feels like someone is squeezing my bones as tight as they can; in a throbbing kind of way too.  It's always worse at night and when I'm resting.  I guess it is better to keep busy so I don't think about it; or feel it more.  I have slept a lot more than normal this weekend or at least tried, given Tenielle came home and we watched Troy and Becky's kids while they tried to get an elk.  No success.  Enough complaining; I'm planning on this bone pain being gone tomorrow so that I can have lunch with my girlfriends...and then another treatment on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A $3,679.10 Tender Mercy

Yesterday I needed to pay my co-pay so I was going to use my credit card from my Health Savings Account that I have had for years from when I worked for PEMA, but it didn't go through because the card was expired.  At the time I had gotten the HSA I thought it was kind of stupid that I didn't have a normal insurance plan, but my employer put most of the money into, which was just fine.  I have used the account from time to time for prescriptions, co-pays, and dental work, which has been nice.  While I had chemo yesterday I called to get a new card and to find out the balance.  To my surprise I have a balance of $3679.10!  Talk about another Tender Mercy!  I'll use it up towards my medical bills that already feel less since knowing I only have one max out of pocket this year.  I love finding extra money when you least expect it, like finding an extra $100 in a purse I haven't used in almost 2 years or realizing there is an envelope in my drawer that I have an extra $400 that I was going to spend on a plane ticket or give away last Christmas.   I'm all about a cash stash, HSA's and Tender Mercies!

Happy 4th Birthday Aidree Lin

Today is my oldest nieces 4th birthday!  Aidree Lin Auntie Terah loves you so very much.  I am so happy that you take after me with your spunk, bright mind, big smile, mind of her own, determination, love of candy, sense of fashion and sharing middle names.  I'm so sad we can't have lunch at the Robin's Nest today to celebrate your big day, but when you come to visit next we will go there and you can have as much chips and dip that you can get in your little belly.  I'll even throw in a few extra treats in my purse and feed you candy that your mom won't.  I love when you say funny things, like when we are out and about and someone asks what your name is and you reply, "Snow White."  Or when I was sick and you wanted to be Hazel (my nurse) and I would ring my bell for you and you would come running.  It was funny when I was with you a few weeks ago and you asked me to call you Hazel.  Your mom might not think it is funny but I sure do!  And this morning I asked you to get in the car and drive here to visit me and you said, "It's to far."  You are a smart girl, 5 hours seems like to far for sure at age 4.  Wear your birthday crown today since you are the princess!
Getting ready to pop out of your mother's belly!
Meeting you for the first time was such a joy!

You and Bridget love dipping chips at the Robin's Nest.
I like when you wear your hair like Tiger Lily.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Say Love

Yesterday when I got home from chemo a flyer from Deseret Book was in the mail advertising another of my favorite artist's has a new album out this week!  Two new albums from my two favorite artist's this week makes for a happier me!  Hilary Weeks has her 10th album out called Say Love.  What a fun title!  I have yet to listen to it, but I know it will be fantastic as they always are.  I'll have all day today to listen to new album's while I have my second chemo treatment of round 4 today!  I always have loved Hilary's music.  The words always hit home to me exactly when I need them.  I love all the songs on her album If I Only Had Today which is my favorite album, but the ones I have related to at different times in my life the most are If I Only Had Today, Just Let Me Cry, Tender Behind The Mercy, When You Least Expect It and Reaching.  When life seems tough I listen to this album and realize I have an amazing Heavenly Father who hears my prayers, understands my sufferings, and wants me to grow and learn to become like Him.  It is only through stretching experience's that make us stronger, better, more spiritual and more like Him.  Who can go wrong with a $9.99 purchase from iTunes for uplifting music from Hilary Weeks and Mindy Gledhill?  Surely not me and surely not you!  Happy Listening!

Why Me?...Why Not Me?

Over the past 3 1/2 months the same question comes up in many conversations, at night when I'm tired, hurting and crying, and runs through my mind often.  Why ME?  Why do I have to go through the suffering's, worries and unknowns of Ovarian Cancer?  Why didn't I know about the symptoms so that I could have caught this earlier when it was a Stage 1 and not a Stage 3?  I should have known.  I'm a Physician Assistant for goodness sakes, I have done thousands of pelvic exam's and abdominal exam's over the past 10 years.  I should have realized that the mass in my abdomen was not normal compared to all of the other exam's I have done.  I did know it was there, but I had had it for so long that I guess I thought it was my normal anatomy, until it started growing.  I did know that something was wrong in December when I called Dr. Klomps office (my gyn).  But then I figured it was close enough to a new year that I would wait until I had to start my deductible over in January.  But then January came and went and I didn't give it anymore thought until March when the back pain started and the mass started to grow.

SO Why ME...Why Not ME?    

Because I have the medical knowledge with a Bachelors Degree in Health Promotion, a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies and so many amazing connection's to do something about the SILENT KILLER which takes too many lives, because of little discussion about it in medical schools, CME's and doctors offices, little education of patients, minimal testing on women and fewer research studies than lets say Breast, Colon and Lung Cancer.  The number one and number two complaints (after colds and UTI's) that I've seen in my 10 years in medicine are Back Pain and Abdominal/Pelvic Pain.  Never once did it cross my mind that maybe my patient had Ovarian Cancer.  It makes me wonder if I have ever missed an Ovarian Cancer because I thought the back pain was related to a muscle spasm or Pelvic Pain was related to an ovarian cyst or fibroid tumor.  I will say I have never felt a mass on an abdominal or pelvic exam like I felt on me, but then again mine was Stage 3 and of course I could feel it.  That makes me hopeful that I never missed a Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.  But what about those Stage 1 cancers? Why didn't I catch it early when it was a Stage 1?  I had WHISPERINGS of Ovarian Cancer for at least 2 years.  My main symptoms was urinary frequency which I had for years and just related it to drinking a lot of water,  I had frequent bowel movements for the last year and a half, which I related to my brother-in-law making me Slim Fast Shakes in the mornings, I eventually had to quit drinking them because they hit when I would get to work.  But then I started eating Aunt Leslie's homemade wheat bread and eating 3 grapefruit a day that I was able to blame it on.  Unfortunately for me it was from a mass pushing on my bladder and Ovarian Cancer that had spread to my Sigmoid Colon.


I'm going to continue to write about it and talk about this experience as much as I can so that hopefully other women will become more aware of the vague WHISPERINGS of Ovarian Cancer symptoms, and not let them WHISPER until it is too far advanced.  I'm NOT going to worry that I won't make it, because I am a SURVIVOR and an OVERCOMER.  I have far too many people to reach and teach, birthday parties to attend, nieces and nephews to watch grow up, places to see and vacations to take, patients to treat and someday I hope a wedding of my own to attend and somehow, some way children to raise.  Nope, I'm not going anywhere, anytime soon!


It's time to start a non-profit organization, get involved with the National Ovarian Cancer Organization, use my connections to help me get this going (if you have any pass them on), be involved in research, talk as much as I can to as many women as I can to spread the word and wear as much teal as I can purchase.  I have the education and experience behind me to be able to make a difference, a big voice and mouth that I will open even more, an army of supporters behind me to help in any way they can and a Heavenly Father that will give me the direction that I need to open doors that I dream will be opened.  I look forward to the future with faith, determination and will to be that voice that I know He needs me to be, to touch the lives of women and families across this vast country as I advocate for a great cause, that hopefully will save lives to this SILENT and Deadly Killer.  Wish me luck!!!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pocketful Of Poetry

I am a huge Mindy Gledhill fan!  I love her music,which is so uplifting, different and fun.  She has such lovely lyrics too.  Her new album Pocketful Of Poetry came out today!  What a fun title!  As I am at Chemo, I have been listening to tidbits on itunes.  When I get home from chemo I'm definitely going to download her new album with my $25 gift card that my brothers gave me!  I'm also going to download the sound track to Safe Haven I love it.  I love music.  It makes me so happy.  So if you are looking for something new to enjoy as you drive to work or as you clean your house or run your errands, download Mindy Gledhills new album Pocketful Of Poetry or all of her albums, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Decoding Annie Parker

Last Thursday I went with my cousin Alisha, friend Linda and my mom to the Boise premier of Decoding Annie Parker.  I have been looking forward to this for at least the past month.  It was a very stormy night, remember we had a flood in our basement, but we left the boys to the work and went out for girls night.  They had a red carpet, I've never walked the red carpet until that night!  We had appetizers, drinks, popcorn and candy.  This place has the best humus ever!  Before the showing we ran into a girl that Alisha and I had gone to school with.  I haven't seen her in 18 years.  It was pretty special.  I always thought she was one of the nicest girls ever.  It was fun to catch up with her.
My Movie Review:
The movie had a great message and I really enjoyed that it was about a down to earth, normal girl.  I loved learning about the BRCA research.  I felt that I related so much to Annie Parker in her desire to know more about breast cancer; in my desire to know more about ovarian cancer and wanting to get involved in the research so that other's are aware of this Silent Killer.
I admit the "F" word was used too often in this movie by the husband and the sex scenes were to explicit for my liking, especially because I was sitting by my mother.  There were many older women there that I'm sure felt uncomfortable too.  Had I not have been there for the cause that I was, I would have walked out.  After the movie we were able to ask the director Stephen Bernstein questions.  What an awesome director; so friendly and stayed around answering question and talking with us until the last one's left (that was us).  I asked about Annie's relationship with Dr. King (who was the researcher) now.  He said they actually had never met before the movie came out, even though he showed that they had in the movie.  He did say that they have met since the movie has come out.
Afterwards we took pictures with him and I asked him why he used the "F" word so much.  He said that he actually toned down the language that she used in her journals quite a bit but that this depicted her and her family.  I also asked him why he portrayed cancer patients looking so sick, because I'm a cancer patient and I don't look like that.  He laughed and said, "No you don't look like a normal cancer patient."  He asked for my blog and said he wanted to keep in contact with me.  You never know maybe one day he will write a movie about ovarian cancer and use my journal entries!  I would watch this movie again and would recommend it if you use clear play to bleep out the "F" word and the sex scenes.
My favorite part of the movie was when Annie was talking about believing.  I felt like we think the same, to believe in getting better and recovering from the cancer.  She has actually had cancer three times including breast and ovarian.  I could definitely relate to her always wearing a coat, because I always have to put on a jacket around 8pm every night!
On the Red Carpet, I know bad picture, but I've never been on the Red Carpet before!