Friday, January 31, 2014

Hooray For Phoenix FF

1.  Such a great week which started with pedicures, sushi, and massages on Saturday!
2.  Monday we left SLC towards PHX and on our way there I was able to check off a few items on my bucket post coming.
3.  Wednesday morning we toured the Gilbert Temple as it hasn't been dedicated yet.  It is absolutely beautiful!  We then had lunch with my cousin Deb!  Oh it was so good to see her and to take my parents to one of my favorite restaurants in the area Oreganos.
4.  I have picked tangelo's and grapefruit off the tree's in the backyard every day and am quite enjoying them!
5.  Yesterday I got to go to work for the first time in 8 months!  I only worked the morning but most of it was getting my passwords working, visiting and then I saw 3 patients.  It was so exciting.  It was just like riding a bike, even the computer program.
6.  Yesterday I talked to Dr. Z in Martha's Vineyard! After Europe and through September I'll be working in MVY; can't wait!
7.  Today I bought a new dress from Ralph Lauren.  It is darling; blue with cream colored polka dots and cream edging.  I love it!
8.  I have already joined a gym, which I'm excited about; all with a pool, cycle classes and weights!
9.  Today we went with Deb to an olive oil mill and had huge snow cones!  We celebrated mom and dads anniversary tonight.  Best of all we have had enjoyable conversations with Deborah, Aunt Leslie and Uncle Gordon!  We have also played a few hands of cards and of course I've lost.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Birthday, LOL Donation FF

1.  This has been a fabulous week which started out with celebrating dad's birthday Saturday morning with the kids having pancakes, doing some dancing (yes Tyler and Troy dance with broom sticks) and then watching Gavin in his first basketball game of the season, having lunch with Grandma Betty and friends, and watching The Book Thief with friends.  I actually really liked the movie, which wasn't what I expected it would be about.
2.  Tuesday Alisha came over, we made a Costco run, ate some homemade bread made by mom and chatted for awhile.  I will miss all the time I have spent with Alisha and her family over the past 8 months.  It sure has been fun!
3.  Wednesday evening we went to costa vida with the kids.  I will miss these kido's too.  They are all so cute!  Beforehand Troy came over and Beckett had to bring out a stash of snacks for his siblings.  He is such a doll and so loving.  He often comes up to me, hugs my legs saying, "I love you."
4.  Yesterday we finally made it out the house and on the road after visiting with the grandparents first.  We went to the play Forever Plaid which was quite cute!  I love staying in SLC now because I stay at Tristen's in my bed that I have let her borrow.  It's so comfy.
5.  This morning my friend Jenny who I've been friends with since I can remember came over to visit.  She is going with us to Europe. We can't wait!  It was such fun to sit a visit with her for 2 hours.  This morning I also enjoyed reading about princesses and cuddling with my nieces.  They are such fun!
6.  Tenielle finally had enough hair to donate to locks of love!  I think she looks great with short hair.  It has been 13 years since her hair was short.  It means so much to me that she donated in honor of me.  We will now grow our hair out together.  Tristen just got a trim, but says' she will cut it next time I'm in SLC, since I will be growing my hair out for some time.  Our cousin Amy did the cutting!

7.  We had dinner with my cousins this evening.  It was such fun.  Aunt Leslie this picture's for you!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Moving Forward!

Goodbye home, Goodbye bed, Goodbye mom taking care of me and doing my laundry, Goodbye ugly cold winter inversion...hello road to SLC for a few days to see my cute nieces and then onto Phoenix.  Next week at this time I will be picking grapefruit and tangelos from the tree in the back yard, lounging on the patio swing and getting some color on this white skin!

This morning I read the perfect quote for today:  "Despite how difficult circumstances may look at the moment, those who have faith and move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out."  Gordon B. Hinckley

Yes, things have worked out and I'm moving forward with a very happy spirit!

Goodbye Winter

I know it isn't quite February, but given the fact that I'm leaving winter behind me for some Phoenix sun, I've decided to just go right ahead and change my blog background a week or so before it is actually love month.  I love February even when I'm not in love, I think it is because I love the color red.

Yes, I'm packed in one suitcase I might add!  I decided to go with wearing the ugly teal scrubs at least for a few months, I can always grab them when I come back for a visit.  I did sneak in one pair though.  I do still need to pack my "carry on" bag in my new vera bradley bag!  It's so nice that I don't have to pack all of that hair stuff, maybe that is why I have one less bag.

Remember the Flip Flop Box?  I went to get my flip flops out from last summer and the one's I really want aren't in there and I can't find them in any closet.  I'll be on the hunt for them as soon as I wake up in morning.

For now I will try to go to sleep; I really am tired...but you know how it is the night before you go on a trip, you think of all that you are forgetting to pack?  Except it is worse when you are leaving for 4 months!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Day Before I Leave Again

I have about 15 or so hours before I'm about to get on the road to Phoenix and what am I doing, blogging of course.  If I blog it means that I can put off the inevitable packing.  It's hard to pack for sunny Phoenix when it is colder than a witches wet tit here in Idaho (I can say that because I always heard it growing up).  I've got quite a bit accomplished the last few days with my clothes.  What I mean is I've cleaned out the room upstairs, packed all of my winter clothes away and taken them to the storage unit.  I have separated stacks into what I think I might take, brought a few pair of shorts from a summer storage bin that actually fit and a box of my favorite summer clothes which I need to go through from the storage unit.  My goal is to pack lightly given the fact that more than half my days in Phoenix will be spent in scrubs.  I have yet to try on my typical 5 pair of scrubs; I sure hope they fit.  I may have gained a few pounds, but my jeans that I've been wearing for 5 years still fit so the scrubs better too.  (No I haven't gained 50 pounds over the past 8 months, but five pounds on me is like 10 pounds on you.)  If they don't I can always borrow them from the hospital, which is what I really should do which would give me less laundry, but you see they are this ugly teal color, they don't come in petites and I really don't like my pant legs to drag.

Back to the packing, I'm going to try to do the color coordinate thing like they show on pintrest 30 outfits with 10 pieces.  Ok, maybe not 10 pieces, but the color coordinate thing for sure.  And it isn't like I'm not returning home every 2 months to see Dr. Dan, so I can switch out clothes if I get sick of what I brought or better yet if they are too big and I need a smaller size.  Speaking of Dr. Dan I saw him today.  First thing he always tells me before he even sits down is my CA 125 which was 6!  That is the lowest is has ever been!  When I talked to him about my neuropathy and pain He said, "Lets face it, you had the worst chemo regimen there is, I'm not surprised you are having some side effects from it."  I'm sure glad he didn't tell me this in July before I started chemo or I probably wouldn't have done it, well I would have, but I would have really been freaked out.  We are going to up the doses and frequency of neurotin, which he thinks will work since it worked the first 2 weeks.  Today I also met with the dietitian who gave me some great information that better work, 5 meals a day at 250 calories each meal.  Sounds pretty easy.  It's not like I'm pigging out people, just been a little preoccupied with this thing called Ovarian Cancer.  I'll take a little weight gain over puking from chemo any day.

Speaking of weight gain, I'm off to have dinner with Tyler and Troys families and to say goodbye to them for a few months.  I'm going to have a healthy Costa Vida Salad.  And by the way, I also worked out this morning with the trainer, so yes, I've been a bit busy today.  Good thing I have all night to pack, because to be honest, the suitcase isn't even out of storage.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Endurance Through Trials With Prayer

Yesterday at church a man spoke about endurance.  He used me as an example of enduring through physical trials.  He stated that we need to decide if we will endure through our trials.  I thought this was interesting.  His talk was from Oct. 2013 General Conference address from Richard J. Maynes.  Elder Maynes says, "Our ability to endure to the end in righteousness will be a direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion.  Heavenly Father has organized our journey through life to be a test of our character."  I love this last line.  It makes me wonder what kind of character I have because of my trials.  "When we face adversity in life and our desire is to emulate the attributes of Jesus Christ, it is essential to be spiritually prepared.  Being spiritually prepared means we have developed spiritual stamina or strength...We will consistently choose the right...We will become immovable in our desire and ability to the live the gospel."  He also quotes an anonymous author which I love, "You must become the rock the river cannot wash away."

Last night in my studies I read the following quote from Oct. 2013 General Conference from President Thomas S. Monson, "Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass.  We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits.  However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were-better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.  This should be our purpose-to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow.  Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life."

I love this quote.  As I have read it over and over the past two days I have seen how this past year of trials has made me want to be better, more understanding, and has definitely increased my testimony.  I hope that when I go back to work in 2 weeks that I will have more compassion, be a better listener and better provider to my patients; because of the amazing care I have had I want to give just as amazing care or better.  

Tonight's daily quote also by President Monson said, " It is imperative that we recognize that whatever has happened to us has happened to others.  They have coped and so must we.  We are not alone.  Heavenly Father's help is near.  We are all in this life together.  We have our share-sometimes it seems like an unfair share-of trails, disappointments, pain, and heartache large or small.  But God will not leave us comfortless or alone.  He has not left us without promised blessings and heavenly sustenance.  We can communicate with our Father in Heaven through the passport to peace and consolation: prayer. To any who from anguish of heart and sadness of soul have silently asked, 'Heavenly Father are  you really there?  Do you hear and answer every child's prayer?'  I bear to you my witness that He is there.  He does hear and answer every prayer.  His son, the Christ, burst the bands of our earthly prisons.  Heaven's blessings await you."

I know that the trials that I and you face are known to our Heavenly Father.  Is it always easy, no, no.  He knows the pains that I have experienced and the sorrows of my heart.  I know He has a Son our Savior Jesus Christ who has felt our pains and sorrows through the atonement.  I know that my prayers are heard and that I will be a better person as I endure the trials He feels I need so that I can grow and become like Him.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cancer Side Effects

I just got off the phone with my Aunt Leslie and she told me that I'm always so positive on my blog and asked why I don't talk about the side effects from chemo.  Well friends, here it is...

I have horrible neuropathy in my hands and feet.  I always thought neuropathy was numbness and tingling, which it is, but the worst part is that I have pain as well.  I have numbness and tingling in my hands and forearms, but my feet, knees, elbows and sometimes shoulders hurt almost as bad as the bone pain I had when I had chemo.  In the evenings and mornings my fingers hurt when I flex them and my feet kill to walk.  I have a hard time even opening my pill bottles because of the pain in my hands.  The 800mg of Motrin that I take only at night don't seem to help, but I keep taking it.  These symptoms are all a side effect from the chemo.  I've heard from some that it can last months to years.  Lets just hope it isn't years.

I've been taking neurontin which helps with nerve repair since I had surgery 5 weeks ago.  It worked the first 2 weeks, but the pain returned after being out in the cold at the cemetery when my grandpa passed away.  I see my doctor Wednesday so hopefully he will have a solution.  I hope being in the warmth of AZ and getting some vitamin D will cure this.

This morning when I looked in the mirror as I was stepping into the shower I noticed the many scars on my torso, which made me cry.  They are far from attractive.  But then I realized these scars are the reason I'm alive and so I let the water wash my tears away and put on a happy face.

The hair on my body has returned, except for the back of my legs.  I don't know if this is good or bad.  I will admit I enjoyed not having to use a razor for 7 months.  My eyebrows and eyelashes are back!  I even had to pluck my eyebrows this morning.  That is a good sign.  The hair on my head is pretty much filled all of the bald spots and is looking rather thick, however it is so short and makes me think it will take forever to have any kind of style.  It is super soft, like a baby chick and everyone likes to rub my head, which can be quite annoying.  It's only been 1 1/2 months since I've seen some growth and I really have more than I thought I would by now.  I am taking pictures every month, which I can see some growth from last month and I'm sure will see more improvement in the months to come.

The lovely prednisone that they gave me every time I had chemo has added a total of 10 pounds to my physic and now you wonder why I've been working out so much at the gym.  I'm bound and determined to get this off quickly.  When patient's would tell me prednisone caused weight gain, I always thought they were full of bologna.  Well I admit, they were right.  Hopefully getting back to a normal schedule, I'll burn more calories than I have been sitting around the house and shed those pounds so that my normal clothes will fit soon.

I think that is enough complaining for now.  Let's hope in 1 month all of these side effect will be history, I'll be able to run again and my normal clothes will be loose!

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's a Foggy Fabulous Friday

1.  January Winter Foggy Fridays are not my favorite, they make me want to stay inside, however when I look outside and the tree's look beautiful with white frost on them it makes me smile.  What makes me smile even more are the 7 fabulous women I went to lunch with today (Sister Jones, Pool, Schlerf, Cook-Jensen, Tague, and Markus).  They are all women who have had such a great impact on my life since I was a young girl dating clear back to Primary.  I love each of them and received wise words of wisdom from them as I embark on my new adventures.  I'm so sad I didn't take a picture of this luncheon, definitely next time.
2.  Last Friday I had a slumber party with my cousin Alisha, I know you might say we are too old for slumber parties, but we aren't!  She taught me how to play Settlers.  It was pretty fun.  We watched a movie The Tourist which was pretty good too.
3.  I had a massage this week to try to get rid of my neuropathy, it didn't work, but it felt good!
4.  Alisha, her husband and I went to Flatbread this week.  I love Flatbread and highly recommend their vegi pizza and Italian salad with roasted red pepper dressing.
5.  Last night we had a baby shower for my friend Charleen.  Her baby is darling and such a chunk.  I had fun decorating with candy and an anchor theme.
6.  Today Troy and Becky went to the temple.  We watched their 3 youngest kids and had such fun skyping Tristen and the girls while they were here; technology is a grand thing!  I let Stella play in the water while I put my makeup on; I'm such a fun aunt!  We also watched a Disneyland Movie of songs and scenes from Disneyland which made me want to go there sometime with my nieces and nephews in the near future.
7.  This week I heard from Martha's Vineyard.  Dr. Z. said he wants to finally get me out there.  I can't wait!
8.  I'm slowly packing up my winter clothes and just about to get out my summer ones, even though I'm sure it was just a month ago that I put them away or at least it feels like it.  I can't wait to go to Phoenix and get started back to work come Feb. 3 (even though I will go into work Jan 30 for a few hours).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


1 phone call, 6 yes's, $1800 down payment for all 6 of us and just like that we are booked for a European River Cruise down the Danube (pronounced Danu) May 28-June 8.  I can't wait, it will be the perfect celebration of overcoming Ovarian Cancer.  We will be gone over the week that I was diagnosed too, which is exactly what I wanted to do for my 1 year.  We will fly from SLC to Prague, stay in Prague until June 1 and then travel down the river to Southern Germany, Austria and Hungry.  All excursions and tours are included and will be a trip that I know won't soon be forgotten.  I love my travel buddies too and know we will have a great time!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


What else would one do on a Saturday in January, but go snowshoeing of course!  Yesterday that's exactly what I did with Alisha and her crew.  It was slightly windy up top, but once we started heading down the mountain and then climbed up the mountain we were sweating like a warm Summer day.  This year hasn't been the best when it comes to snow, but we did get some this week and so did the ski resort, which is where we went.  However, towards the end of this past week it did warm up some and a part of our trail (the steepest and scariest) was slightly muddy.  We did have a fun day even if it was overcast and we had a great workout too!

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 First Fabulous Friday

It's the first Fabulous Friday of 2014.  Every time I think to end FF, I think of reasons to continue it.  FF has gotten me past hard times and helped me find the positive things in my life so I guess I will continue  it for now, so here goes:
1.  Last Friday we had diner with Troy and Becky's family at Texas Roadhouse.  Tenielle, Gavin and I sat in one booth and the others in another.  When the waitress asked Gavin what he wanted his response was, "Prime Rib and Ribs."  Really, what are they feeding him at home?  Actually we ordered him their really good chicken fingers and Tenielle and I ordered ribs to share.  We helped him eat the chicken fingers and he shared our ribs.  Funny boy.
2.  I have worked out 6 out of the past 7 days (excluding Sunday).  I can't tell you the last time that happened or if it ever did.  I'm a bit sore, but a very good sore!  I love having a fit body, I'm not there yet, but give me a few more months at this rate and I'll be back to where I want to be.  I must admit, I am loving my swimming routine.  I swim 30 laps a day and think I might extend that to 40 today.  I always thought you could only be in the zone with running, but I feel it with swimming too.  I also thought my abdomen would never be close to flat ever again, but I'm happy to report I'm seeing some progress!
3.  Tenielle was going to leave Saturday but ended up staying one more day.  It was so good to have her here.  She made a pan of baklava on Friday, which I didn't think I liked.  Oh, I love it now, especially the end pieces.  There is one more piece sitting on the counter and I'm sure it will be gone the end of today.
4.  I had lunch with 2 of my friends on Tuesday who stem all the way back to kindergarten.  We talked for over 3 hours, I finally had to tell them I had to leave.
5.  I have been planning my European River Cruise and trip to New Orleans this week.  I can't wait until my travels begin for the year!  Only 13 more days and I'm off again!
6.  We went to Costco on Saturday and I ran into a lady who was in my Mom's ward when I was a baby.  I had talked to her this past Summer about her diagnosis with Ovarian Cancer.  She has been cancer free for 12 years and she had had a hysterectomy before she was diagnosed with OC.  They just had left a piece of ovarian tissue.  It was nice to finally meet her and it gives me hope that I can live cancer free.
7.  Baby Calvin turned 1 this week.  He is such a sweet baby.  He fell asleep just as the party started, but wasn't too crabby once we woke him up.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January Coldness

January is by far my least favorite month.  It is always so cold no matter where you go in this country, except maybe Phoenix.  For those of you who don't watch TV (like Alisha), there has been some extreme winter weather in our country this week.  Lucky for us Idahoans, we have only seen a little snow and ice and not the -40 degree weather like the rest of the country this week.  In fact today it got up to 43 after a cold morning.  Crazy very small stretch of fog and ice this morning caused a 46 car pile up on the freeway in our neck of the woods today, something that you usually only see in big cities.
I keep warm these winter days by wearing sweatshirts, drinking tea, going to the gym and staying close to the fire with a good book in hand (Winners is the choice this week).  In the next week however I will be packing my up my winter clothes and packing for Phoenix; short winter for me thank goodness!

A Vera Bradley Shipment

Is there anything more exciting than getting a package in the mail, even if you ordered it yourself?  I think not!  Today 2 large boxes came in the mail with my new shipment of Vera Bradley purses and bags that I bought for my job...Yes I needed a new travel bag for work...and a write off!  I will admit I have one too many purses and bags, but when they go on sale for 50-75% off with free shipping, and it's a cold January evening, a girl has to shop!  Here are a few of my purchases:

Friday, January 3, 2014


"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us." Tolkien

I love this quote!  It reminds me that I have work to do, so much of it!  It makes me realize that I waste a lot of time on things that are not important (in some people's eyes), however I once heard that if you waste time on unimportant things that are enjoyable to you, then it isn't wasted time.  Like when I go to pilates which I will do in the morning, or when I spend hours reading a Nicholas Sparks book, or when I facebook stalk (we all do it), or do some pinning, or when I watch the lastest Katie show or football games or lay out in the sun.  That time maybe wasted in someone else's eyes like my mothers, but in my eyes  it is enjoyable and so I will continue to enjoy all the time I am given!  I will however work on doing more important things like organizing my clothes that are in 3 different rooms into bins that will go into my storage unit in the next few weeks.  I am going to work on "The Book" (Each year we do a shutterfly book of pictures from the past year and I didn't even start it in 2013).  I'm going to continue researching ovarian cancer and make a power point presentation.  I hope to spend lots of time with my nieces and nephews, because we all know that is time that is never wasted.  And maybe, just maybe I'll spend some time helping my mother clean out closest's because that is important to her.  Time:  What a wonderful thing you are.  I hope I am given lots more time to do all the important and unimportant things!

2014 Goals

I admit, I'm not really one to make goals the first of every year, but this year I feel because I beat so many odds last year that it would be only right for me to make goals in 2014.  So here are just a few goals that I want to meet in 2014
1.  A vacation to Europe...I know I always say this but I even got an email from my friend yesterday asking me when I wanted to go.  I think the day I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer would be a great day to go!
2.  Run a 10k...maybe the Great Potato in May.
3.  With the Ovarian Cancer diagnosis I want to be an advocate for the disease.  I plan on doing this by having a run in Nampa, turning the town teal and developing a power point and presentation for PA conferences.  I at least want to accomplish the last one as I think the first 2 might take more than a year to accomplish.
4.  I want to be back to a size 6 this year, preferably by June.
5.  Increase my temple attendance.
6.  Get "The Book" done for 2013 and 2014 before Christmas 2014.
7.  Continue to stay in remission...In my eyes I'm cured which is why I made Dr. C take out my chest port.  I told her if it comes back she will just have to put it back in, but I have no intentions of ever having to have chemo again.
8.  Growing my hair out into some super cute short cuts.  Who knows I may like short styles so much I might not ever go back to the long look, even though I do love a pony tail.
9.  Snuggling my nieces and nephews more.  Gosh I love those kids.
10.  Be more Christ-like.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hooray for 2014 and Exercise

2014 you have no idea how excited I am that you are here.  I'm excited for new adventures, lots of running with my gramin and the new me.  Yes a new me as in the one who lost all of her muscle because of hospital stays, a cancer diagnosis and chemo is ready to get back to the old me.  I have lifted weights since my second year of grad school.  It is addicting and something I love.  Unfortunately I have been out of the weight lifting realm for the past 7 months.  I did a little during chemo, but because of my down weeks during chemo I wasn't able to get on a schedule.  I am excited to get back to my regular exercise routine.  Besides my sugar addiction, my other favorite addiction is exercise.  I may not look like it, but I do love a good hour or two at the gym.  Yesterday Alisha and I went on an 8 mile bike ride.  It felt so good once I warmed up with 3 hats on my head.  Today my butt bone is sore, but a good sore.  For the first time in a year and a half I was able to swim with no attachments.  I felt like a kid in the pool today swimming laps.  The best thing about swimming is that I have no hair to worry about.  So for the next few weeks I'm going to swim as much as I can before going to Phoenix.  Hopefully there I will find a gym that has a pool.  I so much enjoyed the strength training class after swimming today as well.  I am excited for Tuesday for my first cycle class of 2014.  I love cycle it gives you adrenaline like no other exercise.  So here is to 2014 when I can get my old body back, even though I'm sure my abdomen will never be bikini worthy after all it went through in 2013.